What are the preferred meals for children?

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Lisa Grimaud

During periods of high heat, children have less appetite. However, it is important to maintain the child’s usual diet, adapting it accordingly. Pascal Nourtier, dietitian-nutritionist, gives us his advice and ideas for meals to prepare.

It is well known, in summer, during periods of high heat, we have less appetite. The body is in pain, it is hot, it gets tired quickly, while caloric needs increase. It needs to be nourished and hydrated, but in reality the heat very often cuts the hunger, in adults as in children. “After 48 hours of high heat, the body is in resistance, it begins to show signs of weakness, especially in the most fragile, children and babies. This is why it is so important to hydrate them”explains Pascal Nourtier*, dietitian-nutritionist.

Hydration goes through drinking water throughout the day, in sufficient quantities – according to EFSA recommendations 1.1-1.2 l of water / day for children 2-3 years, 1.3 l / day from 4 to 8 years old and 1.6 l / day from 4 to 8 years old – but it also goes through food. And when the mercury rises, some parents can sometimes run out of recipe ideas to prepare for their toddlers. This is normal, because it is not always easy to know which type of meal to favor and on the contrary which ones to avoid in case of heat. To help you, our expert enlightens you.

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Heavy and fatty dishes to banish

In children, when it is hot, their digestive system tends to be disturbed. That of babies is also particularly sensitive. “So we avoid heavy disheswhich are boldthem oven dishes as well as dishes with too much starch, because it tends to tire the body. We make less mash, for example”details the specialist.

“Rather favor water-rich foods such as seasonal vegetables and fruits (watermelon, melon, strawberry, tomato, cucumber, etc.). Do not hesitate to offer your child fruit salads, without added sugar, for the little ones mixed fruit salads, but also fresh compotes.

Split meals

No need to completely change the meals you are used to cooking, on the contrary. It is important to keep the child’s usual diet, but you have to know how to adapt it and this involves split meals. “Children generally eat 3 times a day, but with the hot weather, it is better to offer them to eat 4 to 5 times a day.” Meals and light snacks, depending on their age. This will help meet the caloric and energy needs of his body.

“You can offer him a snack in the morning, two others in the afternoon or even a third small one in the evening”he advises.

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Heat wave: meal ideas for kids

For a child aged 3 and over, Pascal Nourtier, dietician-nutritionist, advises parents to prepare as a meal cherry tomatoes cut into flowers, with ham, a portion of cold rice or pasta with crushed kiri. For dessert, a fruit mixed in plain or vanilla-flavoured fromage blanc is sufficient. “It makes a small, fresh, refreshing dairy dessert with a high water content”, he details.

For a toddler who has started his food diversification, the menu is almost the same: a mashed vegetables and mashed starches, not too hot. Below, you add pieces of meat, turkey or chicken and for dessert, a compote.

You can also give your child cold soupsgazpacho style. “We take tomatoes and cucumbers, we mix them and for those who like it we add a little mint. With this type of recipe, we can use all the vegetables.” Ideal in summer! The ultimate expert advice for children who are less thirsty, exceptionally, we can add a little light syrup or of Juice to shut off the water. Attentionit is not necessary that they hydrate only with that, but it is a solution to use in case of high temperatures.

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*Thanks to Pascal Nourtier for answering our questions.

Parenting journalist

Since September 2021, Lisa has joined the Aufeminin team. Little by little she specialized in subjects related to parenthood. Curious and passionate about writing, she likes to tell …

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