The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) has published the updated version of its 5532 Guide – a resource for planning a healthy, varied and balanced diet for pre-schoolers. The updated guidelines, developed by an expert panel of nutrition scientists and early years nutrition specialists, includes new advice on sugar, snacking, supplements, vegan and vegetarian diets.
The 5532 Guide derives its name from the recommended daily number of portions of each food group for pre-schoolers, which are:
5 portions of starchy food
5 portions of fruits and vegetables (or more)
3 portions of dairy food
2 portions of protein (3 for vegetarians)
The guidelines provide portion size information on a wide variety of foods and tips on how to measure out sensible portion sizes from each food group for one to four-year-olds. As weighing out individual portions of food can be time-consuming, the guide lays out straightforward household measures to decide on portion sizes.
The guidelines also recommend the daily salt intake to be restricted to no more than 2g of salt per child/day. For instance, a packet of crisps (25g) contains about 0.3 g of salt, and two tablespoons of baked beans contain nearly 0.5 g of salt.
According to Sara Stenner, Science Director, British Nutrition Foundation, 'Healthy eating habits developed in the early years can set a child up for good health later in life. Although parents know the food groups that constitute a healthy diet, it is sometimes difficult to determine the portion sizes for young children and decide on how often they should be eating from the different food groups each day'.
The document is expected to act as a handy guide for parents and childcare providers to choose portion sizes and food types that are appropriate for their age and appetite. You can download the updated version of the 5532 Guide from the British Nutrition Foundation website.