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Three simple rules for choosing food

“cake” or “pizza” – are these your children’s favourite foods as well? Lots of children like fast food and sweet things. This is fine, as long as they only indulge in fast food occasionally and their eating habits otherwise include a healthy variety of different sorts of foods. The research institute for children’s nutrition (FKE) has therefore developed the “Optimised Balanced Diet”.

When it comes to variety it's a question of

Three simple rules for choosing food

A balanced, varied diet is the cornerstone for healthy growth and your children’s healthy development. The “Optimised Balanced Diet” takes this into account. It corresponds to the latest scientific findings and translates them into child-appropriate recommendations. Three simple rules from the optimised balanced diet make it easy to make the best food choices. By using this, you can make sure your children get the essential nutrients they need.

  • Eat plenty of: plant-derived foods and drinks
  • Eat in moderation: animal products
  • Eat now and again: fatty foods and sweets
Fill up on cereals, fruit and vegetables

Plant-derived foods and drinks together form the nutritional base, as shown by the Nutritional Pyramid. This is because vegetables, salad and fruit such as, for example, our NESTLÉ ALETE Früchtchen, contain virtually no fat and calories, but all the more vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients. With bread, pasta, cereals and rice you should opt for wholegrain products. This is because valuable nutrients such as vitamin B1, vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, fibre, protein and unsaturated fatty acids are all to be found within the outer layers of the grain. The table below describes their functions. Drinking is just as important. Between the ages of 4 and 12, children should be drinking at least 800 ml to a litre of liquid every day. Adolescents need to take on as much as 1 ½ litres of liquid from drinks. It is fine to have more than this, however. Read more in “Running around and playing makes you thirsty”.

Selected nutrients found in the outer layers of cereal grains


Important for

Vitamin B1 Carbohydrate and energy metabolism, nerve and muscle function
Vitamin B6 Blood and cell function, nerve function, protein metabolism
Magnesium Bone formation, energy metabolism, enzyme, nerve and muscle functions
Iron Blood formation, transport of oxygen in the blood, growth, the immune system
Fibre Digestion, heart and circulation, satiety
Protein Structure of cells, enzymes and hormones
Unsaturated fatty acids Structure of cell walls and hormones


Choose animal products carefully

Milk, yoghurt, cheese, meat, fish and eggs provide an especially large amount of calcium, iron, zinc, protein, B-vitamins and iodine. They ought therefore to appear regularly in your diet – both for children and for adults. Meat, but also sausages and eggs, should not be eaten on a daily basis. They do, however, provide high-quality protein, easily-digestible iron for blood formation, and vitamin B12 and zinc for a strong immune system. Where possible, opt for lean meat and low-fat sausage varieties. Follow these three rules to get the mix right:

  • Eat plenty of: plant-derived foods and drinks
  • Eat in moderation: animal products
  • Eat now and again: fatty foods and sweets

Sweets and snacks also have their place, of course. Read our article on this “A place for treats”.

Salt-water fish as a source of iodine

Salt-water fish contains valuable iodine for forming thyroid hormones. Having salt-water fish 1 to 2 times a week is therefore the best option. Fish tastes good to little ones with a sweet tooth when it is steamed, grilled, or cooked in a mild sauce. You can also try frying the fish together with vegetables.