Unit 19
Support Children at Meal or Snack Time
Task 1
Research nutritional and dietary requirements; explain the nutritional requirements of a healthy balanced diet and how cultural, religion or health conditions can impact on an individual’s diet.
Nutrition (n) means the process of nourishing one’s self. Good nutrition means intake of appropriate amount of food nutrients i.e. proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc.
Whereas diet refers to the food, drinks, etc that we consume to obtain our nutrients.
Good nutrition plays a vital part in maintaining and improving the health of an individual especially in children and infants. As their growing bodies and minds require a diet full of nutrients that can ensure their healthy development.
A healthy balanced diet constitutes of variety of foods that are rich in nutrients in ratio to the calories they contain. For this it is very important to know what are the nutritional and dietary requirements of a human body and how they change with age, i.e. from infancy till adulthood.

Nutritional Requirements of human body change as we move through different stages of life/age.
In order to meet our body’s nutritional requirements we need to keep in consideration the following:
• A wide variety of healthy foods
• Adequate water intake
• Diet rich in proteins to ensure maintenance and repair of cells
• All the vitamins required by body to maintain a healthy immune system
• Appropriate amount of fats to store energy
• A balance of both complex and simple carbohydrates as they are the primary source of energy in human body
• Variety of minerals such as calcium, iron etc to keep the body’s metabolic process running smoothly
Its important to understand the nutritional value of food due to it’s impact on physical and mental health of body i.e. cholesterol, fat, sugar intake.
All these things should be kept into special consideration in infants and young children’s diet as they are growing and need a specially designed diet to keep up with their growth pattern, physical activity and mental growth.
Having an understanding of your diet’s nutritional value helps incorporating nutritious foods from different food groups to keep you in good health.
Following is a pictorial representation of different food groups offering nutrients essential to human body.

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Majority people’s diet is shaped around what religion they practice. People chose or avoid to eat certain foods based on what religion they belong to. Diets based on religious requirements then are practiced with additional force and one has to be more careful in designing a balanced diet chart while keeping up with religious restrictions. Not every religion has dietary restrictions, but some of the religions that do practice dietary restrictions are listed below;
It is one of the most ancient religions and is a very diverse culture. Although in ancient times, meat was not prohibited but with time Hindus started leaning towards vegetarianism to show respect for life. Cow is a highly respected animal and cow’s meat is never eaten. Although products derived from it like milk, yogurt etc are consumed. Hindus fast of multiple days in respect of their different Gods.
Some of the major practices followed by Muslims are
i- Ritual slaughtering procedure of animals to be considered halal for consumption.
ii- Fasting for a month (Ramadan) from sunrise till sunset.
iii- Avoiding intoxicating liquor.
iv- Strictly no pork in their diet.
Food products that cannot be consumed are categorized as haram and those that are allowed are called halal.
Judaism has the strictest set of rules that also are more in number as compared to other religions. They have rules for what to eat and what not to eat and how it should be cooked. They strictly follow a kosher diet, which described the procedure that how a animal should be hanged while slaughtering so minimum amount of blood is released from it. They don’t eat rare meat, meat should be well done. They prefer eating hoofed animals mostly that eat grass like cow, goat, etc. They don’t mix dairy or meat products.
Whatever the religious requirement is, alternatives to get a certain nutrient are always there. Especially in young children, belonging to certain religion, extra care should be taken that their energy and nutrient requirements are being met.
One should enjoy their culture and the food that makes it unique, but should always adjust their diet to make it more balanced and healthy. When you follow a certain culture, it is bound to have an impact on your lifestyle. sa

Task 2
Produce a five day menu of healthy meals and snacks for children

Toasted Teacakes Salmon ; broccoli bake
Rice cakes, soft cheese and grapes Butternut squash soup Fresh fruit and evaporated milk

Vegetarian Cauliflower and broccoli bake Butternut squash soup Fresh fruit and evaporated milk

Oat cakes, cheese sticks Beef and chowmein Fresh fruit selection; apple, tangerine or banana Chicken Fajitas Blancmange
Vegetarian Vegetable chowmein Vegetable Fajitas Blancmange

WEDNESDAY Toasted bagels and soft cheese with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes Chicken curry and Pilau rice
Pitta fingers and hummus Pork Casserole Banana bread
Vegetarian Vegetable curry and pialu rice Vegetable Casserole Banana bread

Crumpets and bananas Vegetable stir fry ; noodles

Melon platter Cos cous ; feta bean bake Melon
Vegetarian Vegetable stir fry ; noodles Cos cous ; feta bean bake Melon

Potato cakes and apple slices Cheesy buffalo Chicken pasta
Breadsticks and hummus/cheese spread Chilli ; rice Yougurts
Vegetarian Cheesy buffalo pasta Veggie chilli ; rice Yougurts

Task 3
a) Research the benefits of a healthy diet and the consequences of an unhealthy diet, describe your findings and explain where you can gain support and guidance if you had any concerns relating to a child’s diet.
A healthy well balanced diet is the one that nourishes your body with all the required vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep your body and mind in the best of its forms. Including all the food groups in your diet in appropriate amounts is vital for health. Opting for a healthy diet instead of a unhealthy one saves you from many health risks and complications in the long run.
Although the benefits of a healthy balanced diet are innumerable but to count a few, are listed as under
With the increasing obesity around the world, not many people are aware how a well balanced and portion controlled diet can help control this menace. Obesity rate has tripled in UK during the past 30 years. In England alone apart from the 24.9% of purely obese patients, another significant percentage number of 61.7% are either obese or overweight.
This problem can easily be overcome by simply making healthier food choices i.e. choosing water over sodas and carbonated drinks, replacing fried food like chips with vegetables (grilled or raw) and fruits.
Opting for healthier food choices is automatically increase nutrients in your body that in turn enhance germ-fighting cells in the body and improves one’s ability to fight off diseases. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables improves white blood count in the body which is responsible for fighting off bacteria and other infections. Healthy diet will limit excess body fat that eventually becomes a burden on cardiovascular system, hence saving you from serious and long term health problems.
Diet to body is what fuel is to a vehicle. Just like you would go for a premium quality furl for your car to run smoothly, same should be the case for your body. Nourishing it with a balanced diet will keep you in best of your forms and will save you from any health hiccups or breakdowns. Diet rich in Omega 3 can help improve memory and ability to learn and decreases chances of many mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, etc.
Your body will be able to function optimally. The food we eat has a massive effect on how our body is going to function through the day. More energy, more productivity!
Unhealthy diet other than making your body function difficult can also lower your life expectancy. Extensive studies have shown a direct correlation between longer life and calorie restriction.
A unhealthy diet is rich in fats (saturated and trans) sodium and sugar. It normally constitute of fast or processed food that have higher calories but are lower in nutrients. Indulging in a portion of ice cream or a bar of chocolate or fried/processed food occasionally is fine, but making them a major part of your diet is nothing but array of health problems.
To name a few disadvantages that unhealthy diet brings with it are;
Unhealthy diet or poor food choices can lead to obesity. These food choices provide your body with lesser of nutrients and more unhealthy calories that eventually results in weight gain and obesity.
A diet high in fats increases your cholesterol build up in arteries. This makes your heart work harder to push blood through, and hence you can be at risk of a stroke, cardiac arrest or other cardio diseases. Heart diseases make up 33% of the deaths around the world due to different reasons.
Carefully designed diet focusing just on good (mono or poly saturated) fats can help prevent cholesterol build up; vegetables are one of the major source of such good fats.
Recent studies show that an imbalance diet in terms of sodium and sugars can change chemical activity of brain. This disables a person to deal with stress and anxiety, in return many people turn to food to comfort themselves, hence its a vicious circle. Some neurotransmitters help calm us. Other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, stimulate us. Having the right balance of various neurotransmitters available helps ensure that our moods and responses are appropriate to the given situation.
Eating an unbalanced diet increases your risk towards being a diabetic. feasting on sodas, processed foods and calorie-dense diets will result in type 2 diabetes which is a life-long illness damaging other organs of your body as well with the passage of time.
As young children’s immune systems are still developing, hence they are at an increased risk of illnesses and health complications. They are less likely to fight any infections. Hence encouraging children to eat nutrients rich foods is of significance. Educating children at a younger age to make healthier food choices will also help them as they become adults.
For kids healthy eating means;
i- A varied diet i.e., incorporating all food groups in their daily diet
ii- Encouraging portion sizes i.e. to let them eat as much hungry as they are and making fruits and veggies the major part of their diet.
iii- Positive attitude towards food i.e. teaching them importance of food choices and developing their interest in cooking or meal prep at earlier stages
Every child is different and hence has different nutritional requirements depending on their age, weight, height, etc. If a parent or carer has any concerns regarding a child’s diet or any nutritional deficiencies a professional nutritionist can be approached for guidance.
Professional support can help with the needed requirements in the said child’s diet and can device a diet chart as per the child’s health. They can be helpful with picky eaters or especially with children with special dietary requirements e.g. children with food allergies or intolerances, etc.

b) Explain 3 food allergies a child may experience, including how you would recognise the allergy and what you would do.

Task 4
Review you own settings food policy and menus giving a brief explanation on how effective they are in encouraging healthier food choices and a positive meal time, it is not necessary to include copies of these. Using this information plan strategies on how you can encourage the children;
• To make healthy food choices
• To eat the food prepared for them
• To develop positive personal hygiene routines at meal and snack times
At Banana Moon day nursery, home-cooked, fresh meals with well balanced nutritious menus are provided. Meals are prepared on a daily basis and parents are promised that the children are offered their five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Breakfast – served between 7.30am & 8.30am
Morning snack – served at 10.00am
Home cooked lunch – served at midday.
Afternoon snack – served at 2.00pm
Home cooked dinner – served between 3.45pm & 4.15 pm
For breakfast we provide a choice of cereals, fruits & toast.
Snacks vary on a daily basis. These consist of fresh fruit, fresh vegetable sticks and biscuits which is accompanied either by a glass of milk or water. Please note we do not serve any processed convenience foods nor do we serve any squash to drink.
The younger babies have a separate menu. Weaning starts with freshly prepared vegetable and fruit purees with the gradual introduction to meat, fish and other textures.
By the time the babies are a year old, we aim for them to be eating the same food as the rest of the nursery.
Wherever possible, individual needs such as religion, special dietary requirements or food allergies are catered for.

Sample Menu – *Daily vegetarian options available

Monday Lunch: Roast and trimmings
Dinner : Vegetable pie, rice pudding with jam
Tuesday Lunch: BBQ chicken, green beans and mash potato
Dinner: Macaroni cheese, jelly with custard
Wednesday Lunch: Lasagna with garlic bread
Dinner: Soup with bread and butter, Victoria jam sponge
Thursday Lunch: Thai pork mince with noodles
Dinner: Bacon, broccoli, cauliflower cheese, ice cream
Friday Lunch: Fish pie
Dinner: Chicken goujons with potato wedges, chocolate cake