Eating well is of huge importance to your overall health. Here at Healthy Ireland, we've rounded up some of the first steps you can take to make a difference.
Healthy eating guidelines help people make choices to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. We all want our kids to have the best possible start in life so getting their diet right is of huge importance. Making changes as a family can make it easier for everyone to adjust and help develop healthy habits for life.
Getting your children’s diet right from the start will help give them the nest possible start in life and will lead to them developing healthy eating habits for life. The following guidelines outline the best food to feed your 1 to 4 year olds and how much and how often to give them.
This food pyramid is a guide for servings and portions sizes for 1 - 4 year olds.
Daily meal plans for children aged 1 - 4.
Posters for parents and professionals.
Fact sheets for every food shelf, providing serving guides and tips for tips for healthy eating
Helpful guides on:
The key messages from the 1 - 4 guidelines are:
This age is the perfect age to teach your child healthy eating habits for life. Lead by example. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child will be more likely to do the same.
1 to 4 year old children have small tummies. They can only eat small amounts. Offer them 3 small meals and 2 to 3 healthy snacks every day. All their food and drink needs to be nourishing.
Be guided by your child’s appetite. Use it to help you decide how much food to offer them. Follow the Children’s Food Pyramid guide to servings for portion sizes.
Milk is a key food in the diets of 1 to 4 year old children. Offer your child three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese every day.
Foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt can be linked to being overweight in childhood. If you decide to give your child these foods offer them in TINY amounts and only once a week.
Avoid sugary drinks like some cordials and fizzy drinks. Sugary drinks are not good for your child’s teeth.
Having regular times for meals and snacks sets up healthy eating habits for life like starting every day with a healthy breakfast.
Young children don’t get enough Vitamin D in winter. They need 5 micrograms vitamin D only drops or liquid every day from Halloween (31 October) to St Patrick’s Day (17 March).
Offer your child red meat three times a week and choose breakfast cereals with added iron (12mg/100g) most days of the week. 1-3 year olds who are small for their age may need extra iron so talk to a health professional for advice.
Knowing how much food to give your child can be difficult as it can depend on their age and activity levels. Portion size is a good place to start and is something you can introduce gradually for everyone in the family.
As a rule of thumb, a 5-year old should eat about half the amount that an adult does. Many adults eat larger portions than they need also. Try giving everyone smaller portions on their plates to start with and they can have more after if they’re still hungry. Using smaller plates, for children and adults, can help
This guidance is for everyone from 5 years upwards.
The guidelines are called Healthy Food for Life and the toolkit includes:
The key messages from Healthy Food for Life are:
Go to safefood for more information on portion serving sizes.
We partner with the HSE and safefood on the START campaign, which helps parents make changes to their childrens' diets. It’s also a place where parents share tips with each other. You can check out some recipes, especially for kids, here.
Dinner is a busy time in any house. After a long day at work or school, preparing a healthy dinner when you are hungry and tired might be the last thing you feel like doing.
Many recipes can be made healthy without losing the taste. Here are a few tips that will help you adapt your favourite recipes to reduce fat, sugar, salt, calories and increase fibre without changing your diet radically.
Safefood have some very simple, healthy recipes you can follow (the calories are also stated). You can check out the recipes here.
Bord Bia also have recipes that combine a mixture of traditional and modern cuisine and you can check them out here.
The amount of fluid we need depends on how active we are and how warm it is. To stay healthy, we should drink about 8 cups or 1.6 litres per day. Water and milk are the best choices. Get into the habit of drinking water with all meals and carry it as a thirst quencher. Still water is kinder to teeth than sparkling varieties.
Drinking a large glass of wine is like eating a slice of pizza, when it comes to calories. If you drink a lot, it's likely to have an impact on your weight over time, as well as your general health. You can find information on calories in alcohol here.
Use the Ask About Alcohol Drinks Calculator to see what impact alcohol is having on your health, your wallet and your weight.
When trying to lose weight people often focus on one thing, the pounds or the kilogrammes lost. But you can be more successful if you focus on eating healthier foods, and being more active will lead to keeping the weight off.
Some tips are:
You can check out some tips on how to lose weight safely here.