Carbohydrates are made up of sugars. They are for energy. Refined sugars include sweets, cakes etc. They have no nutritional benefits and should only be consumed sparingly, as they can cause serious health problems for adults and children including tooth decay, diabetes, and heart disease. Wholegrain carbohydrates are the more the more nutritious option as opposed to wheat i.e. white bread. Wholegrains contain soluble fibre, vitamin, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Proteins are made up of essential and non- essential amino acids. Non- essential amino acids are already made in the body, so we do not need them from our diet, on the other hand essential amino acids are the proteins we need to ingest. All these proteins (amino acids) help each other for the growth and repair of the body’s cells. Children need about 20-35 grams of protein in a day depending on weight, age, and gender e.g. a tablespoon of peanut butter is about 5gs protein and a palmed sized portion of meat is about 20grams. Other examples of foods high in protein are eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, and poultry etc.
Fish oil is recommended for a healthy diet because it contains the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA aids emotional health and reduces stress levels while DHA aids memory and concentration, therefore they are essential for children. Children should eat at least two portions a week of fish, one of the weekly portions (140g) should be oily fish (e.g.) salmon, mackerel.
Fats can either be saturated or unsaturated. Unsaturated are “good” fats (nuts and seeds) while saturated are considered “bad” e.g. (butter, fatty meat like sausages). Small amounts of fat are essential for body insulation but too much can lead to obesity and other serious health conditions later in life. High fat diets for children tend to lead to greater fatigue, sleepiness, and distraction. Chicken, tuna, lean beef, and eggs are examples of healthy options that are high in protein and low in fat.
For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Find us on Facebook.