Planning a weekly menu can save a lot of headaches for parents. Sur.es facilitates this task from a guide of the Ministry of Health.
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The return to school means the arrival of the routine to numerous homes in which everyday parents ask the same question: "What do I do to eat?". Whether for lunch - in those cases where children do not go to the school canteen - or for dinner, planning a weekly menu can save families many headaches. The guide 'The feeding of your children' edited by the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (Aecosan) -dependent of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality- establishes guidelines for healthy eating nutrition from childhood to adolescence from which a weekly menu is prepared based on products of the Mediterranean diet (cooked or seasoned with olive oil, virgin if possible).

It can be followed to the letter throughout the year or modified according to seasonal foods or different family needs and preferences. In any case, it is important to know the characteristics of the different foods and what daily amounts are recommended for school-age children:

Protein-rich foods

The maximum protein needs occur between 10 and 12 years in the case of girls, and between 14 and 17 years for boys. Foods rich in protein are milk and derivatives, meats (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, rabbit), processed meats (salchichas, sausages), eggs, fatty fish (blue) as mackerel , anchovy, bonito and lean (white) such as whiting, sole, hake, legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils), nuts, cereals, potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, peppers, tomatoes ... When consumed Together legumes, rice and vegetables, the proteins complement each other and are of high quality, as explained in the guide. It is not necessary to take meat every day, it should be alternated with fish and we must ensure that it is of different species: beef, pork,

Foods rich in carbohydrates

Rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, legumes, sugar, jam, honey, fruits, sweets in general. The presence of carbohydrates in the diet is essential to meet energy needs, so you have to stimulate the consumption of the foods that contain them.

Foods rich in fiber

whole grains, legumes, vegetables, salads, fruits, nuts. Fiber is a way to prevent and combat constipation. It is estimated that the diet should contain at least about 25 grams of fiber daily.

Fatty foods

Oils (olive, sunflower), nuts (nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts), avocado, butter, bacon, bacon, lard. It is recommended to reduce the content of this nutrient in the diet, especially fats of animal origin (saturated). The consumption of fats of vegetable origin is recommended, especially olive oil. The abuse of fatty foods and frying as a usual procedure in the kitchen contribute to obesity.

Foods rich in vitamins A and C

Vegetables (carrot, red and green pepper, tomato, cauliflower, cabbage), fruits (orange, kiwi, strawberry, strawberry, apricot, peach, pear, apple, melon). To ensure an adequate supply of all vitamins it is recommended to take five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Foods are rich in vitamin B

Varied meats and fish, eggs and dairy products. The folate or folic acid, found in vegetables and fruits, deserves special mention.

Foods are rich in calcium

Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, milkshakes, dairy desserts in general), fish (especially those varieties that can be consumed with thorns such as anchovies, canned sardines, etc.). Calcium needs are high in the school stage, especially in adolescence, as it is essential for skeletal formation. The calcium contained in plant foods is absorbed worse. The child should consume milk (half a liter, at least, a day). Except for medical prescription, it does not need to be skimmed. As a complement or substitute for a glass of milk, you can take yogurt or a portion of cheese.

Foods are rich in iron

Liver, kidneys, beef in general, egg yolk, mollusks (mussels), legumes, nuts, raisins, dried plums, breakfast cereals. Iron needs are very high during periods of rapid growth, so this mineral is essential in school age. As specified in the Aecosan guide, in the case of girls, from puberty, menstrual hemorrhages constitute a relatively significant loss of iron, so the presence of this mineral in your diet should be greater than in the boys Iron from the food of animal origin is better absorbed.

Foods rich in iodine

Marine fish and iodized salt. Iodine needs increase moderately at puberty, especially in girls. The consumption of iodized salt to spice up meals is a desirable practice, which does not mean that the contribution of salt in food should be increased.

How the four daily meals should be

Breakfast

It should cover at least 25% of the school's nutritional needs. The family should try to organize their time so that the school can enjoy a good breakfast. To have the best nutritional qualities you must include a dairy (milk with or without sugar or cocoa, yogurt, cheese of any modality avoiding the very fatty ...); bread, cereal flakes, cookies, muffins, biscuits; a fruit or its juice (any variety); jams, honey; a complement fat (olive oil, butter, margarine ...); and knee pads, sometimes, ham or a type of cold meat.

At school

In the middle of the morning, you can have a fruit, a yogurt or a bread sandwich with cheese.

Lunch

It must be the most consistent meal, it has to cover at least 35 or 40% of the individual's daily nutritional needs. If the child eats at the school, parents should consider the daily menu to properly complete it with the remaining meals. The fruit must be the usual dessert.

Snack

It should not be excessive for children to maintain their appetite at dinner time. The so-called 'dinner snack' is an acceptable nutritional option when sufficient and varied foods are included and occasionally practiced. The consumption, for example, of a French omelet and cheese sandwich with fruit and, before going to bed, a glass of milk, can be an eventual alternative to snack and dinner.

Dinner

It will be chosen based on the food already taken at the other meals of the day. It should be taken at an hour not too late to prevent the proximity to the moment of sleep preventing children from sleeping well. Purees, soups or salads are good dishes and as supplements, meat, eggs, and fish depending on what has been taken at lunchtime. For dessert, fruit, and dairy.

Feeding, by age

  • From 3 to 6 years: The child should be educated to eat everything and meet the energy needs as it is a period of great physical activity. Likewise, we must take care of the contribution of very good quality proteins (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) because the needs are proportionally greater than those of the adult population. It is important to start in the habit of a full breakfast, avoid the abuse of goodies and soft drinks and devote the necessary time for the child to learn to eat while enjoying, without food being perceived by him as a reward or a punishment.
  • From 7 to 12 years old: Avoid abusing sweets, soft drinks, fatty cheeses and spreads, and very salty foods. On the contrary, certain foods are essential for their normal growth and development: -They must take daily: dairy, fruits, vegetables, salad and bread (which must be eaten daily).
  • They must alternate: meat and processed meat, fatty and lean fish (white and blue) and eggs.
  • Combine throughout the week: legumes, rice, and pasta.
  • From 13 to 16 years: Excesses should be monitored so as not to become overweight or obese and it is advisable to inform adolescents about proper nutrition and its importance for health, aesthetics, and well-being in general.
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