Getting children to eat healthy foods can sometimes feel like fighting an uphill battle. The leafier and greener the food, the greater the struggle. Child nutrition is incredibly important, however. Don’t cave in and let them eat nothing but fast food and sweets. It’s worth the struggle.
Why is child nutrition important?
Nutrition is important at every age. Your children need proper nutrients stay healthy and strong, and grow up healthy and strong. Nutrition for children can also help establish a foundation for healthy eating habits and nutritional knowledge that your child can apply throughout life.
What nutrients do children need?
An easy way to ensure that children get the nutrients they need is by choosing healthy foods for them to eat.
Choose lean protein from sources such as poultry, beans, seafood, nuts and seeds.
Eat fresh, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables every day. Look for canned and frozen options without added fats or sugars. Fruits should be in 100% juice or water.
Choose whole grain foods such as breads, cereals, and pastas that are high in fiber.
Look for low fat dairy such as milk, cheese, and yogurt for adults and kids in your family. Babies should not have dairy products till they’re one year old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends whole milk for babies 12 to 24 months, unless your infant is gaining too much weight. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure.
It’s also important to limit added and refined sugars, refined grains, sodium, trans, fats, saturated fats, and foods that are low in nutrients.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 can help you determine the amount of nutrients and calories your child needs each day.
Tips for child nutrition
Teach the importance of good nutrition, and help your children establish healthy eating habits. The more your child understands about nutrition, the more excited he will be about eating healthy.
Nutrients are important, but portion size matters too.
Half of your child’s plate should be fruits and vegetables.
Choose fresh foods over highly processed foods.
How you cook and prepare foods can affect the nutritional value. For example, try grilling, steaming, baking, or broiling vegetables instead of frying or boiling them.
It’s not just food that’s important. Drink water or low fat milk instead of sugary, sweetened drinks.
Different foods provide different nutrients, so make sure your child gets a good variety of fruits and vegetables.
Find nutritious foods that children enjoy.
Try fruit for dessert.
Speak to your child’s pediatrician for any questions or concerns regarding your child’s diet.