Starting school

 
This section will provide you with nutrition and diet information to help make sure your child is well prepared for their school years. You will find information on the the following topics:
 
 Starting school
 
As your child reaches school age he or she will be growing quickly and becoming more active. To meet the extra demands of growth children have higher energy and nutrient requirements for their body size compared to adults. It is therefore important that they are offered foods and drinks that provide adequate energy and nutrients for their needs. 
 
Children’s diets from the age of 5 should be based on the principles of the eatwell plate and include plenty of starchy carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, and some protein and dairy foods. Children may start to take more control over their food choices around this time, especially if they eat school meals. So as a parent or carer it is vital that you encourage them to eat a healthy, varied diet to help ensure they obtain all the necessary nutrients they need for good health. You can find more information on nutrient requirements for children in our resource on nutrient requirements.
 
The eatwell plate does not include frequency of servings or portion sizes. However, children should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. One portion is often referred to as the amount they can fit into the palm of their hand. One small glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit juice can count towards one portion, but only one glass counts, so further glasses of juice won't count towards the total five portions a day.