Feeding at the start of life
Feeding babies at the start of life can feel overwhelming at first – whether parents choose to breastfeed, bottle feed or a combination of both. There is a lot of research that shows how beneficial breastfeeding is for the long-term health of both baby and mother, including protection from infection and disease for the baby and reduced breast and ovarian cancer risks for the mother. For information, guidance and support on how to feed babies contact your local Health Visiting Service and have a look at Start4Life Feeding Your Baby website.
Starting solids resources
Lots of parents wonder when and how to start introducing solid foods to their babies and with so much conflicting advice it can be very confusing.
Have a look at Start4Life website which has lots of information and videos about when to start and what food to start with.
Healthy Eating for 1-4 years old
Did you know that healthy eating habits developed in the early years can set a child up for good health in later life? However, it can be difficult for parents to know what are good food choices and portion sizes for their little ones. Have a look at the resources below as it provides with simple recommendations for each food group along with pictures showing appropriate portion sizes for 1-4 year old:
What about fussy eating?
Young children have a natural tendency to become choosy about the food they eat as they enter toddlerhood. This can be a very frustrating and worrying time for parents. We have selected a list of resources to support your little one be more adventurous around food. It is important to remember it is not a one size fits all and some strategies will work better with some children than other:
Healthy Eating for 5 and over
With so much conflicting information out there, it is easy to become confused about healthy eating. The resources below cover the UK government recommendations for the general population from age 5 and over.
- NHS Eat Well Guide: The Eat well guide makes healthy eating easier to understand by giving a visual representation of the types and proportions of foods needed for a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Respecting customs and culture are very important when it comes to nutrition. Have a look at the following adapted Eatwell Guides which might correspond better at some of the food you are having at hone:
Does my child need supplements?
All children aged six months to four years should be given a supplement containing vitamins A and C and D, such as Healthy Start vitamin drops unless drinking a minimum of 500ml of formula a day. In Tower Hamlets you can collect free Healthy Start vitamins from your nearest children and family center.
All adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D especially during autumn and winter. More information on vitamin D can be found here.
What about teenagers?
Teenagers experience many physical and lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy, varied diet and keeping active is important for good health during this time.
- The NHS has a page dedicated to healthy eating for teens. Click here to access the website.
- Check the Health for Teens website providing a lot of information and support specific to adolescent including lifestyle, relationships, feeling and general health topics.
- Are you under 25? Download the SMASH app to get proper discount on a range of yummy and healthy food! SMASH app aims to help young people save money and live healthier lives. There are on a mission to make proper food as cheap as chips!
If you are or know of a young people wanting to drive changes in our food system and achieve a world where all young people have the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where they live. Join the bite back 2030 movement.
Support with food access
The Healthy Start scheme
The scheme helps families to get the very best start in life by providing pre-paid card and free vitamins for mothers and children. Pregnant women and children under 4 years old qualify for the Healthy Start Scheme if the family is in receipt of certain benefits and tax credits. All pregnant women under 18 years automatically qualify. Visit the Healthy Start website to see if you are eligible.
Free Schools Meals
There is a national provision to provide universal free schools meals to pupils in reception, year 1, and year 2. Tower Hamlets council has extended this provision to include children of residents of the borough who attend primary school (from reception to year 6). Most schools also provide daily breakfast clubs for children attending the school. Please contact your child’s school or visit Tower Hamlets directory for further information.
Local food support
Please click here to access a list of local food panties, food banks, hot meals and affordable food services.
Worried about money?
Click here to download the Cash First referral leaflet to find locally available advice and cash first support options. You can also fill their digital form by clicking here.
To find out about more local services to support with nutrition and food access, please download our Child Healthy Weight directory of support services (see below) and/or visit the Local Offer website.