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CCLD 306

Outcomes: 306.4
Factsheet - Nutritional needs of children and young people

The National Standards 2001Standard 8 Food and Drink states:

‘Children are provided with regular drinks and food adequate quantities
for their needs. Food and drink is properly prepared, nutritious and
complies with dietary and religious requirements.’

The focus for standard 8:

‘Adequate and nutritious food and drink are essential for children's well-
being. The registered person and staff have a good understanding of
children's dietary and religious requirements and meet these
appropriately to promote children's healthy growth and development.’

All settings who prepare food or snacks for children and young people must comply with
the Food Safety Act 1990.

Healthy Eating

It is vital for the all round development of children and young people to have a healthy diet.
Children/young people are individuals and therefore grow and develop at different rates.

All foods contain some nutrients, it is important to get the balance right to provide the
required mixture of essential nutrients that will enable the body to grow and develop, repair
damage and fight infection.(some nutrients can be stored in the body e.g. fat-soluble
vitamins so nutrients can be taken over several days to form the right balance

There are 7 essential nutrients:

1. carbohydrates,
2. protein
3. fats
4. fibre
5. water
6. vitamins
7. minerals.

Food is classified into 5 different groups

Classification Foods
Group1 Cereals, potatoes, couscous, rice, polenta, pasta
Group 2 Vegetables and fruit
Group 3 Milk and diary products eg cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais
Group 4 Meat and alternatives such as pulses, soya, some beans
Group 5 Sugar/fats

MACTAC ©2007
It is a well known fact that:

• too many calories lead to obesity and increased blood pressure

• too much fat causes obesity and high levels of cholesterol which leads to deposits
of fat in the blood vessels
• too much sugar leads to tooth decay and may predispose to diabetes in mid-life
• too much salt leads to high blood pressure
• too little dietary fibre slows down the digestive process and leads to constipation
and other problems.

Practitioners in childcare settings must be aware of children's dietary requirements, and

take into account when planning on how to cater for their nutritional needs. It is important
to introduce children to fruit and vegetables early on in their diet. In society today we are
becoming increasing aware of the importance of having 5 different portions of fruit and
vegetables each day.

Main meals

• Meat, fish or alternatives should be given at dinner or teatime.

• A variety should be offered throughout the week to encourage children/young
people to experience different flavours, textures and tastes.
• Foods high in salt should not be given more than twice per week eg burgers,
sausages, preformed meat, nuggets and fish fingers.
• Dishes low in iron should also not be given more than twice per week eg cheese
and egg based meals.
• Chips and potatoes products should be limited as they are high in salt and fat.
• Vegetarian children and young people should be offered meals based on beans,
soya mince, tofu, Quorn and lentils at least 3 times per week.

MACTAC ©2007

Snacks should be healthy and contain little or no added sugar, fat or salt, eg fresh fruit and
vegetables, dried fruit, low or non-fat milk, low fat cheeses, 100% fruit juice, low/non-fat
yogurt, canned and packaged fruit, products packed in juice.
Effects on diet

In the United Kingdom 1 in 4, 11-15 year old's are overweight or obese and the problem is
growing. The levels of obesity in Britain have trebled since 1980.

(Source Foods Standards Agency March 2007)

The Government has developed and implemented a Healthy School Programme and
Eight guidelines to a healthy diet to counteract the above facts.

Healthy school programme

• Ensure fresh water is readily available.

• Provide breakfast clubs
• Provide one free portion of fruit or vegetables to each child every day.
• Promote an active life style through after school clubs and a varied sports
• Make children aware of the effects of nutrition and exercise on the body.
• Support parents/carers with information to help them make healthy choices for their

Eight guidelines for a healthy diet

1. Enjoy food.
2. Eat a variety of different foods.
3. Eat the right amount to achieve a healthy weight.
4. Eat plenty of food rich in starch/fibre.
5. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
6. Do not eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat.
7. Do not have sugary foods and drink often.
8. If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly.

MACTAC ©2007