Explain what is meant by a balanced diet and why it is important to eat healthily.
A balanced diet comprises a carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, mineral salts and fibre. They should be in correct portions and the right amount to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Foods with too much calories, fat, salt and sugar should be avoided. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
Explain why our diets vary through life.
Up to the age of six months, babies don’t need any food apart from breast milk or formula milk. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide the baby with all the nutrients he or she needs to grow and develop healthily. Once your baby is around six months, this will no longer be enough to provide him or her with all the nutrients he or she needs and you will need to introduce solid foods to their diet. This process is called weaning. Exactly when they start weaning the baby will depend on his or her development and can vary. Once they have started weaning, they can gradually increase the texture of the foods they give the baby to encourage him or her to chew. Don’t add salt to thebaby’s food as their kidneys won’t be able to cope with it. Don’t give the baby honey either, until he or she is one year old, as it can occasionally contain a type of bacteria that can harm the baby. The baby will still need breast milk or formula milk on top of solids until he or she is around a year old. How much the baby needs will depend on how much solid food the baby is eating.
Children grow very quickly and need a diet that can provide them with plenty of energy and nutrients. By the age of five, the child should eat a balanced diet that’s similar to what the rest of your family eat. However, don’t add any salt to child’s food. It’s important that children get enough protein and calcium, as these are important to help them grow and for their bones to develop. Milk and other dairy products are a great source. If they have children aged between one and three, give them at least half a pint of milk each day or other calcium-containing dairy foods. It’s best for children under the age of five to have whole milk and full-fat dairy products as these provide the extra energy they need. Give the child a wide variety of foods and try to make meal times an enjoyable family experience. It’s best to not give the child too many processed foods or fast food, so they develop healthy eating habits from a young age and see a healthy diet as ‘normal’. Some children are fussy eaters, but keep giving them a range of foods and be patient children usually grow out of their fussy phase. Think of ways to encourage the child to eat foods he or she doesn’t like – try to disguise vegetables by mashing them with potato, for example as the child gets older, they can start to teach about the importance of a healthy diet and which foods are good and bad for them
Teenagers grow and develop quickly, and need even more energy and nutrients. They may have a big appetite but it’s important that they fill up on nutritious food rather than sugary, fatty foods such as fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and crisps, which are high in calories but low in nutrients.It’s important for teenagers to have meals based around starchy foods, with plenty of fruit and vegetables and moderate amounts of protein and dairy products. They can get the extra energy they need by eating nutritious snacks, such as nuts and raisins or fruit smoothies, between meals.Body image and weight is something we often worry about in our teenage years however, it’s important that teenagers don’t restrict their diet or cut out any