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Healthy eating for 1 to 4 year olds; The Children’s Food Pyramid Guidelines

Healthy eating for 1 to 4-year-olds: The Children’s Food Pyramid Guidelines

October 6, 2020

Thursday 1 October saw the online launch of “Healthy eating for 1 to 4-year-olds; The Children’s Food Pyramid Guidelines”, a suite of resources for parents, health professionals and Early Learning and Care settings.

Ministers  Donnelly, (Minister for Health),  O Gorman, (Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, and Integration) and Feighan, (Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy),  all welcomed the guidelines as an important part of the implementation of the Obesity Policy and as a key action in the First 5 Whole of Government strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families which aims to better their lives.

We know children’s diet in their early years has a direct influence on their health in later life and that the foundations for healthy eating habits for life are formed in the early years.  In fact, full daycare centres provide children under 4 with 70% of their food intake so Early Learning and Care settings have a significant role in providing and promoting nutritious meals and snack for the children in their care. “I am confident that these (resources) will be of great assistance to parents and those working with children, feeding them and helping with their growth and development on a daily basis.”. (Minister O’ Gorman).   

Among others, the resources include a Food Pyramid specific to 1 to 4 year olds, facts sheet on each food shelf and sample meal plans for different ages groups, including the suggestion for vegetarian meals.

Also included are 9 key messages from the research carried out in the development of these resources. One key message is that young children don’t get enough Vitamin D in winter. They need 5 micrograms of vitamin D only (drops or liquid) every day from Halloween (31 October) to St Patrick’s Day (17 March).

These resources are available here.

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