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Ways to maintain an appropriate total energy intake



Some parents may find it challenging to manage the amount of food their child eats, in particular making sure their fruit and vegetable intake is proportionally larger than the foods providing carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Furthermore, the total energy intake of the amount of food may be too much, increasing the risk of overweight and obesity.

Here are five ways to maintain the correct proportion and quantity of foods:

  1. 1. Serve nutritious foods that have a low energy density as a first course. Examples are vegetable soups (e.g. lentils, tomato) and sliced fruits. These will fill up some tummy space while providing vitamins and minerals.
  2. 2. Serve vegetables and fruits as side dishes to the main meal. Most fruits and vegetables are low in energy density because of their zero-fat and high-water content.
  3. 3. Offer vegetarian meals about twice a week. Tasty examples are tofu scramble on toast, potato and lentil curry, phuthu pap with fermented milk (maas) or morogo or roti with soya mince
  4. 4. Encourage older children to dish up their own food as they are in that way likely to serve themselves quantities they believe will satisfy their hunger. However, children should not be allowed to serve themselves energy-dense foods.
  5. 5. Use plateware that is the appropriate size for the child’s age. Using large bowls or dinner plates will likely lead to large amounts of food being dished up.
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