Balance and variety
A balanced diet, which also offers variety, is very important for babies, toddlers and older children. Every spoonful matters, especially where babies are concerned. Little stomachs should only digest nutritious, high energy, tasty food, full of valuable nutrients. Variety is important. Main meals should consist of a main course and a dessert and be varied – meat, poultry, fish, different fruit and vegetables, rice, potatoes and pasta.
Milk plus for baby
Babies need to grow and require a lot of energy. Unlike adults, up to 50% of baby food should consist of fat and milk and contain little roughage. In the first few months breast milk is unbeatable for babies. It contains everything they need, there is a constant supply and, last but not least, nursing builds a strong bond between mother and child.
Switch to solid food
A baby starts to show interest in foods other than milk around 4 months old. First solids should be age-appropriate and made from the best ingredients. Puréed vegetables, fruit or meat are perfect. It’s time for solids as soon as a baby starts to put its hands in its mouth more or watches parents when they are eating. Cereal is the next thing which babies discover. Protein and calcium provide energy and most babies will now start to sleep through the night. Milky cereal porridge can be replaced by classic semolina porridge. When baby is 6 months old, introduce fruit onto the menu, by incorporating it into porridge. The fat content is important – around 5 g per meal. You can simply add a knob of butter; your baby needs the energy!
Balanced diet for toddlers
Children start to eat like adults from two years of age. The menu now includes bread with a spread, or breakfast cereals. Toddlers have varying appetites. It’s not the quantity of food that matters for a balanced, healthy diet, but the quality. Toddler food should be varied and tasty. Preparing and serving it is straightforward if you follow three, simple rules: 1. Lots of fruit, vegetables and wholegrain products. 2. A moderate amount of processed meats and meat. 3. Little fat or few sweet, sugary items. It is around about now that toddlers discover their sense of taste. They are curious and like trying new things. Make the most of this and show your child how good healthy food, such as different varieties of fruit, tastes.