08 Nov Is My Allergic Child’s Diet Balanced?
Having an allergic child might require eliminating certain food groups. By doing this, specific nutrients may be lost from the diet. Replacing them with other thoughtful choices will be necessary for optimal growth and development.
If balance is a concern for you, your first step will be to write down what your child eats, including portion sizes, for one week. Second step is to separate each food group into the 5 food group categories: Proteins, Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Dairy.
Then ask these questions:
- Is my child getting an adequate amount of servings from each group?
- If a food group has been eliminated, are there adequate substitutes to replace them?
- If certain food groups have been low on one day, are they made up for over the course of the week?
- Are portions sizes adequate?
As a general rule, portion size should be 1 Tbsp. of each food for each year of your child’s age. When feeding your child, offer less food than you think they will eat and let them ask you for more if they are still hungry.
For a good balance at meal time, work on offering all food groups at every meal with a minimum of 3 food groups present. For example, if your family is eating chicken at dinner, balance the meal out with a grain such as rice, a vegetable such as broccoli, milk for a drink, then fruit salad for dessert.
Other Points to Consider:
-Fill half of your plates with fruits and/or vegetables
-Choose water over sugary drinks
-Watch total fat intake. Switch to low fat or non-fat dairy, choose baked/steamed/broiled over fried, and watch added fats such as sauces or dressings.
-Try new foods at home. Children need many opportunities to try new foods before they become acceptable.
For more information on achieving a better-balanced diet, seek assistance from a Registered Dietitian.