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Department of Health with new healthy eating guidelines for children ages one to four

The Irish government is releasing new healthy eating guidelines for children. This is the first time that the national healthy eating guidelines have been issued for children between the ages of one and four.

The new initiative was launched yesterday by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman and Minister for Public Health and Wellbeing Frank Feighan. The government advises parents to be careful about the diet they give their children.

The program is designed by nutritionists in Ireland. It includes guidelines on what type of food to give and when. Experts have asked children between the ages of one and four to be given moderate food and snacks as they have small stomachs.

The department advised to provide two to three healthy snacks along with three small meals daily. But if you give them foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, they also advise giving them a small snack once a week. Experts suggest the treats include a square of chocolate, three crisps, half a plain biscuit and three soft sweets.

For children aged one to two parents are being advised to feed kids;

● two servings of meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts

● three servings of dairy

● two to three servings of vegetables and fruit

● three to four servings of cereal, bread, potatoes, pasta and rice.

And for older children aged three to four;

● eating three to four servings of meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts

● three servings of dairy

● four to five servings of vegetables and fruit

● three to four servings of cereals, bread, potatoes, pasta and rice.

In addition, health experts advise parents to give their children five micrograms of vitamin D, as they are more likely to get sick in the winter. Or they suggested giving drops or liquids every day from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day.

Minister Donnelly said the initiative would help children to establish healthy relationships with food and will benefit them for their entire lives.

“These guidelines represent a significant step in implementing our Obesity Policy under Healthy Ireland and Sláintecare,” he said.

Minister Feighan commented that it is very difficult to feed young children, but that this new initiative will help parents and others to better understand the problems of healthy eating for children. She added that for the first four years of a child it will help the families.

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