On the basis of important scientific work, the High Council of Public Health has just unveiled its new recommendations concerning the feeding of children from birth to 17 years. No revolution in sight on children’s plates. The new dietary guidelines for children and adolescents unveiled by the High Council of Public Health are not very far from the previous ones. But some interesting changes still remain to be noted.
For example, the council specifies for the first time that a vegan diet (without meat, milk, egg, fish, etc.) is not suitable for the diet of children before 1 year, or even 3 years. Experts also warn about the replacement of infant milks and growth milks by vegetable drinks before 1 year, and add that medical or dietetic monitoring is necessary in the case of breastfeeding by a mother following a vegan diet. Also choosing the pedialyte alternatives are perfect decisions.
Another significant change is linked to the diversification of babies’ diets. The council now recommends starting this diversification early, between 4 and 6 months, and including a wide variety of foods (including meat, eggs and fish). Say goodbye to the recommendation to wait several days between each new food: several new products can be introduced simultaneously in meals. Even major food allergens, such as dairy products, egg and peanut, should be introduced without delay, whether the child is at risk for allergy or not. Complex textures (with more or less hard pieces) must be introduced between 8 and 10 months (and in all cases before 12 months), write the experts.
Children and Adults: Similarities and Differences
The portion sizes were also specified because it was a matter of concern for the parents. Even if these benchmarks do not constitute absolute rules: the council also specifies that it is important to let the child eat reasonably to satiety, and not to force him to finish his plate.
Average serving size recommended for children and adolescents:
- Between 3 and 6 years: about half of an adult’s serving.
- Between 7 and 10 years old: about a third smaller than an adult’s portion.
- At the beginning of adolescence: equivalent to that of an adult.
- Growth period between 15 and 17 years: greater than that of an adult.
But if the quantities are variable, the quality of the diet recommended for children remains very close to that of the diet for adults. We also find in these dietary guidelines the same novelties as in the latest recommendations made to adults, such as the encouragement to limit the consumption of grilled products and the recommendation to favor raw foods, unprocessed and cultivated according to methods of production reducing exposure to pesticides (organic, in particular) for fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grain products.