Balance diet

it’s important that each meal throughout the day is made up of food from each of the 3 nutrients:

• Carbohydrates – provide energy to fuel the body. Includes complex ‘starchy’ carbs such as bread rice, potatoes and pasta; as well as fruit and vegetables. Fruit and veg are especially important as they also provide fibre and vitamins and minerals. Nutritionally, frozen are just as good as fresh fruit and veg, and you can also give dried and canned varieties (but be wary of added salt or sugar)

• Protein: – the ‘building blocks’ for growth and development. Protein is needed by all cells in the body. Meat, Fish, Eggs and Dairy are the best sources of protein. Remember that when it comes to dairy, whole cow’s milk is better than skimmed as it is a rich source of several nutrients. Pulses and beans like lentils and chickpeas are great non-animal sources of protein.

• Fats – provide a long term store of energy for the body. They also help provide insulation and to control body temperatures. Be wary of trans-fats which are abundant in chips, crisps, cakes and biscuits. Focus instead on the ‘healthy fats’ like omega 3 – an essential fatty acid which is needed for brain development and other important bodily functions. Fish – particularly oily fish, is a wonderful source of omega 3, as is rapeseed oil and olive oil.

 

A diet rich in vitamins and minerals will help to ensure a healthy immune system.

Vitamins

Vitamin A – for growth and immunity. Found in milk, cheese, egg yolk.

Vitamin D – helps with calcium absorption for strong bones and teeth. Found in oily fish and eggs.

Vitamin E – protects the cells in the body from damage and disease. Found in nut oils, sweet potatoes.

Vitamin K – for blood clotting. Found in green leafy veg such as spinach and broccoli.

Vitamin C – for healthy skin, bones and gums. Also increases iron absorption. Found in broccoli, cauliflower and citrus fruit.

The B Vitamins – for immune system function, and assisting the body in releasing energy from food. Found in lean meats, poultry, dairy, wholemeal and wholegrains.

Minerals

Iron – for healthy blood and brain development. Also important in transporting oxygen around the body. Found in lean meats, poultry, legumes, eggs and dark green leafy veg.

Calcium – for growth and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Found in dairy products, leafy green veg, fortified bread.

Selenium – has antioxidant properties that protect the body’s cells from damage. Found in fish, lean meat, poultry, dairy products.

Zinc – for growth and immune function. Found in lean meat, chicken, milk and cheese

be careful when it comes to children and consult the appropriate page for more specific information for ther diet