Food between 4 and 8 Years of Life

During the first years of school, there is a linear slowing down of growth compared to that seen in the first year of life and that seen in adolescence.

Proper nutrition, the acquisition of good nutritional habits and healthy lifestyles and the increased importance of physical exercise are instrumental in physical and intellectual development during this period of childhood.

It is very important to concentrate on the development of positive attitudes towards food and healthy habits that will last for life. A timetable should established, organised, but without being rigid, including breakfast and other meals, to meet daily energy requirements.

At this age, children can feed themselves, and can learn to use a knife from 4-5 years of age. It´s advisable that cutlery is thick and blunt and not pointed, for easier handling and to prevent accidents.

Tips for Following a Healthy Diet

  • Provide 5 meals a day. Establish regular mealtimes.
  • Plan meals in advance to cover nutritional needs and to complement school meals, if applicable. To do this, it´s very important to know the school meals´ menu, weekly in advance.
  • Eat sitting down, without rushing. Always try to eat in the same place.
  • Use smaller plates and servings, appropriate for the child´s age.
  • Chew slowly.
  • Don´t do other things whilst eating (for example: watching television, playing video games, etc.) and take the opportunity to have a relaxing family conversation.
  • Drink 1.5-2 litres of water every day.
  • Avoid the habit of snacking between meals.
  • Avoid shallow-frying and deep-frying foods. Try baking, microwaving, cooking in foil, grilling, etc.
  • Try to be creative when cooking and avoid monotony. If possible, let the children help.
  • Avoid providing extra calories with or without nutritional value (soft drinks, sports drinks commercial juices, etc.).
  • The parents´ job is to stock the larder and fridge with a healthy variety of foods. Children should be taught to select the quantity of each food that they need.
  • Complement the diet with physical exercise according to the child´s age and preference
Nutritional recommendations Physical exercise Frequent problems

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