Top tips for feeding your child

All parents want their children to eat a healthy, balanced diet. But it's easier said than done. Kath Megaw, a Clinical Paediatric Dietician gives us some tips on how to feed your child and keep them healthy.

To begin with she recommends:

  • Three meals a day with a between-meal snack – approximately 1½ hours between previous snack and meal.
  • Generally meals should not last longer than 30 minutes.
  • Encourage eating meals together as a family.
  • Avoid giving large servings of fluids just before meals.
  • Increase the energy and nutrient density of meals/snacks and of between meal drinks.
  • Increase food exposure.
  • Introduce ‘theme nights’ or ‘restaurant themes’ with foods that appeal.
  • Sneak in nutrients and energy.
  • Define food responsibility.

Breakfast ideas

For the ‘not-so-hungry’:

  • Fruit smoothie or drinking yoghurt.
  • Add some dried fruit to cereal and milk.

Need something quick:

  • Fresh fruit and yoghurt.
  • Seed, granola or breakfast bars.

Can be eaten on the run:

  • Cheese or peanut butter sandwich.

For those ‘fibre-fighters’:

  • Increase the appeal of wholegrain cereals such as whole wheat Pronutro and oats porridge by adding chopped fruit, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates solutions

  • Ensure all meals and snacks include foods that contain carbohydrates.
  • Encourage healthy, nutrient-rich carbohydrates.
  • Increase the nutrient of a meal/snack by including a dairy product, small amounts of fat and protein and/or fruit and vegetables.

Examples of low GI meals/snacks :

  • Breakfast: whole wheat Pronutro, oat bran, high-fibre bran.
  • Lunch: nutrient-rich breads (pumpernickel or seed loaf) with a suitable topping.
  • Dinner: pasta (durum wheat), or long grain and wild rice, sweet potato, most vegetables, legumes.

Eating to prevent anaemia

  • Red meat in your child’s diet three to four times per week.
  • Regular intake of chicken, fish and eggs.
  • Leafy green vegetables, iron fortified cereals and porridges and dried beans with vitamin C-rich foods to improve absorption.
  • Iron-rich snacks.

Help prevent folate deficiency anaemia by including:

  • Leafy green vegetable.
  • Legumes.
  • Organ meat.

Help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia by including:  Animal products.


Essential Fatty Acids: Omega 3 and 6

Sources of omega 3 and 6: oily fish including salmon and sardines.

Vitamin B1: Can be found in peas, potatoes, oranges, egg yolk and most fortified breakfast cereals.

(Reference: Kath Megaw, Clinical paediatric Dietician. For more information visit

(Amy Froneman, Health24, May 2012)









  • Help prevent zinc deficiency by including the following in the diet:
  • Fortified breakfast cereals, wheat germ, rye or whole wheat bread, seafood, beef, liver, pork, veal, chicken, turkey, many types of beans and lentils, humus dip, nuts, pumpkin seeds, tahini, milk.
    • Canola and soybean oil, eggs or seed mix
    • Omega 3: fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, pilchards, mackerel, herring, anchovy and trout, omega 3 enriched milk and eggs.
    • Foods rich in B1 include: lean pork, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, organ meats, poultry, egg yolk, fish, legumes, whole grains, enriched breads and cereals.
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