In reference to the school stage, it should be noted that “school”, as we know it in countries like Spain, includes different age periods than in other countries, such as the United States. For this reason, we will leave aside the systematizations and structures of the educational system of each nationality to address nutrition from a prism focused on the entire period of maturation and growth that ranges from childhood to adolescence.
Importance of nutrition in the school stage
Before starting to talk about the importance of a good diet in children, it is interesting to deal with certain aspects that surround the child at this stage and that can help us achieve the goals that we, as parents, set ourselves.
On the one hand, it is important to talk about the power of decision. Children have much less control in their decisions compared to adolescents, since they have less culinary skills and knowledge or have a greater inability to condition the family or school menu to which they are subject, so the training of fathers. It is also interesting to know, on the other hand, the power of habits; Habits are much more firmly established in the early stages of growth than in the later stages, so it is key that children eat well even before they start school and receive miglior nutrizionista roma education throughout the stage and not just when habits are already difficult to modify. And finally, it is important to know the power of influence.
From childhood to early adolescence, the most developed brain areas are related to the reptilian and limbic systems, linked to the survival instinct and emotions, respectively. Unfortunately, the big ultra-processed chains know this perfectly well and the advertising is mainly aimed at arousing the emotions of their preferred audience, children. Such is the impact that a group of experts from the WHO, UNICEF and The Lancet met to propose actions to promote health in children, among which was the regulation of this type of marketing of unhealthy foods and the protection of children against it.
Taking these factors into account, it seems clear that the sooner we form the pillars of a good diet, from the education of the child and his entire environment, much more adherence will be generated in the long term and much more aware we will be of the effect of certain advertising or commercial designs. that seek to emotionally exploit our little ones.
It has been shown that a good diet is essential for the growth and improvement of cognitive aspects such as memory and concentration, mood, energy and academic performance. On the other hand, a poor diet is linked to behavioral problems, obesity, poor concentration or alterations in emotional development.
What should children eat?
Nowadays we all have a constant bombardment of advertising, but especially children. Since they are born, ultra-processed products are always present, which makes it really difficult for parents to offer a range of healthy food at home. But as I told you two lines before… children have to eat real, healthy food that is as little processed as possible.
To put ourselves in a bit of a situation… there are three major macronutrients that should make up the dishes of the little ones in the house. They are well-known carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All of these fulfill their function from an energetic point of view (hydrates and fats), structural, growth and repair (proteins and fats). Therefore, it is interesting that all of them are present in the child’s diet and that they come from foods with high nutritional density, that is, healthy foods. It is recommended that they consume small-sized fish and moderate the consumption of large species such as swordfish, shark, pike or bluefin tuna due to their high content of heavy metals and the possible affectation on cognitive development in growth phases. Good options for oily fish could be salmon, mackerel or sardines, in addition to the consumption of white fish.
That said, it is also important to pay attention to the frequency of consumption of these foods, since these will make up your healthy diet. Next, I am going to indicate the frequency of consumption of the main food groups, but it is also important to know that these are recommendations, they are not obligations. Each family is completely different from another and may not include all food groups. If you need help with meal planning at home, contact me and I will help you achieve your goals.