Eating healthy food is very important for the proper growth and development of kids and young children. The basic principles of food and nutrition are the same for both adults and children. Nutrition for kids also includes food content from basic food groups like adults.
As a parent, you should be well aware of your children nutritional needs. This article will provide you with guidelines regarding healthy nutrition for kids and young children.
Nutrition For Kids And Young Children
We should keep in mind that children can easily fall for what they see in TV commercials. They are not born with cravings for junk food; it’s the environment that makes junk food look like a present to them. It is never too late to switch your kid’s meal from junk food to a healthy and balanced diet.
Here are some tips based on nutrition facts for kids. You can use this information to plan a healthy and nutritious meal for your children.
Build A Balanced Diet From Five Food Groups – Nutrition Facts For Kids
A well-balanced diet for kids and young children should contain food components from the following food groups.
You can fulfill your child’s protein requirements by adding chicken, meat, fish, eggs, beans, and lentils to the meal. These protein-containing foods are also a rich source of vitamins & minerals.
2- Veggies & Fruits
Make your kid’s eating plate healthy and colorful with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies. Fresh vegetables and fruits are a source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and vitamins. These nutrients will boost your kid’s immunity and will protect against heart diseases and cancer later in life.
3- Low Fat-Containing Dairy Products
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are key dairy products and are rich sources of calcium and protein. Encourage children over 2 years of age to have low-fat-containing dairy products. It is also best to consume different dairy products each day.
Every kid needs the energy to grow and learn new things. Grains such as whole bread, oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, and quinoa can make children feel energetic and perform well. You can also add some amount of pasta to kids’ meals so that they could feel fuller for a longer period.
Water should be the drink of choice more often than fresh juice. It is better to make your kid eat fruits rather than take fruit juices. However, it is fine to have 125ml of juice a day without adding any sweetener.
Foods To Limit
Minimize the portion of foods like French fries, pies, burgers, pizza, cakes, chocolate, and biscuits in your kid’s meal. These foods are high in salts, saturated fats, and sugar and can increase the risk of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, Pediatricians do not recommend energy drinks, tea & caffeine for young children as it interferes with calcium absorption. Caffeine is also a stimulant that provides artificial energy, so it is not a healthy drink for kids.
Tips To Encourage Healthy Eating Habits In Young Children
You can shape your kid’s eating habits by simply doing your job as a parent. For instance:
- Schedule your meals and snack time with your children and share food with them.
- Children imitate their elders, so when you are eating a healthy diet: you are making healthy diet options appealing to your kids.
- Try to keep your child along while you do groceries or cook your meals. Show them that preparing meals together can be fun.
- If your child is a picky eater, you can disguise his favorite food by adding carrots to mashed potatoes and broccoli to beef stew.
- Spend quality time at the dinner table with your family so that your children feel equally good eating at home as in restaurants.
- Limit takeaway and prefer cooking your food over getting your food delivered.
- When choosing a food place during the outing, consider going for a restaurant that offers a healthy food menu rather than fast food.
Allow Your Kid To Decide
It is the best approach to allow your kids to choose what they want to eat from the food table you have set for them. Do not insist your child eat more if he is not willing!
Kids and young children are more vulnerable to suffer from nutritional deficiencies because they are in a continuous growth phase. It is so crucial to know about kids nutrition so that they get all the essential food components required for their development. You can make a healthy and nutritious meal for your kid by adding protein, grains, fresh vegetables, and fruits in a suitable proportion.
The key is to use healthy food in balance and limit junk food!