Nutrition keeps cells and organisms growing which is vital to a healthy life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet.The Food Guide Pyramid is one way for children to understand how to eat healthy. The rainbow colored food guide pyramid vertical stripes represents the five food groups plus fats and oils.
Grains are extremely versatile and can be very delicious. USDA states that half of your grains should be whole grain. Therefore, why not make all your grains whole grain.
Why whole grain?
- Whole are more filling than refined grains
- Blood Sugar stays more level
- Studies show your less likely to be overweight
Examples of 100% whole grains are whole wheat bread, pasta, oatmeal, tortillas, grits, brown rice, and corn
We all know that vegetables are an important part of a child’s diet. Vegetables have vitamin A , B, C, K, fibers and minerals that help our body to function normally and allow us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Vegetables are full of antioxidants, which are crucial in slowing down the aging process and eliminating the free radicals that appear in the body, mainly from stress. Unfortunately, our children are not eating enough vegetables. Below is the specific recommendation based of a child’s age?
|2-3 year old (toddlers)||1 cup of vegetables each day|
|4-8 year old||1 1/2 cups of vegetables each day|
|9-13 year old girls||2 cups of vegetables each day|
|9-13 year old boys||2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day|
|14-18 year old girls||2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day|
|14-18 year old boys||3 cups of vegetables each day|
How to get your child to eat more vegetables?
- Eat vegetables with your child
- Offer low-fat salad dress as dipping sauce to give the vegetable more flavors.
- Raw vegetables, broccoli, and baby carrots with low-fat salad dressing
- Mixed vegetable with foods your child already enjoy
- Salad with pizza
- Lettuce, tomatoes, onions with hamburgers
You may have to be creative at first. Remember to offer a lot of choices, provide small servings at first, and keep in mind that some picky eaters won’t try a new vegetable until they see it on their plate 10 or more times.
Colorful, sweet, crunchy fruit can be an enjoyable part of your child’s diet. If you eat and enjoy fruits every day, your children will usually follow your example. There are ways to get your child to eat more fruit.
- Involve your child in food preparation and planning.
- Take your child fruit shopping and, then allow them see, smell and feel the fruit with you
- Have your child wash and prepare fruit and vegetables. This is an opportunity to explore new colors and shapes
- Count out grapes or berries together
- Make eating good food enjoyable.
- Remember children usually imitate their parents behavior. Therefore, let your children see you enjoy eating fruit
- Pay attention to presentation.
- Would you eat anything that was not advertising to the eye? Neither will your children. Children love colors; therefore, create together a fruit salad. It has color and variety for your children
Some creative ways to get you children to eat fruit are:
- Frozen fruit on a stick to make a popsicle
- Skewers of fruit
- Stewed fruit
- Fruit crumble
- Tinned fruits in juice
- Fruit salad or a fruit platter
There is several ways to including fruit wherever possible. Don’t give up on your child and just keep trying!
Fats and Oils
Children need saturated fats and cholesterol to maintain healthy tissues and healthy cell membranes.Cholesterol and saturated fats from breast milk, organic eggs, cream, coconut oil, and meats are essential parts of your child’s diet. Children also need omega-3 fats for brain development. Most children eat too many polyunsaturated fats in the form of vegetable oils. Children get all the omega-6 essential oils they need from breast milk, grains, seeds, vegetables, and nuts. A diet high in polyunsaturated oils impairs growth and learning, and promotes heart disease, cancer, and immune system dysfunction. At least 50 percent of dietary fat should be saturated (Watkins, 1996). Saturated fats are necessary for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bones.
It is difficult for children to get enough omega-3 fats from their diets. Omega-3 fats may be the key to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, and the best thing going for allergies, asthma, and healthy brain functions. The best sources of omega-3 fats are cod liver oil, fish oil capsules, and DHA. DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid which is one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids needed for optimal health.
The brain is 60% fat, of which DHA is one of the most important components essential for brain and eye function. DHA is also present in every other cell in your body. It is in the membrane of the tiny structures mitochondria that makes energy. These are especially concentrated in heart muscle cells.
Chickens, eggs, tuna, salmon and beef are also sources of omega-3 fats.
It may be challenge to include the good fats and oils in your child’s diet. Just remember, he or she needs the good fats and oils to be healthy and fight off several childhood disease.
Milk and Dairy Products
Nutritionally, milk is the best. It is loaded with essential nutrients. Here are 16 reasons to included milk into your children diet daily.
|1. Protein:||Helps build and repair body tissues, including bones, and builds antibodies which fight infection.|
|2. Vitamin A:||Aids bone and tooth development. Also aids in the maintenance of night vision and healthy skin|
|3. Vitamin B12:||Aids in red blood cell formation|
|4. Vitamin B6:||Factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation, including bones.|
|5. Riboflavin:||Factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation.|
|6. Niacin:||Aids in normal growth. Factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation, including bones.|
|7. Thiamine:||Releases energy from carbohydrate and aids normal growth.|
|8. Pantothenic acid:||Factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation, including bones.|
|9. Folate:||Aids in red blood cell formation.|
|10. Vitamin D:||Enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption, on which strong bones and teeth depend.|
|11. Calcium:||Aids in the formation and maintenance of strong bones and healthy teeth.|
|12. Magnesium:||Factor in bone and teeth health, energy metabolism and tissue formation.|
|13. Phosphorus:||Factor in the formation and maintenance of strong bones and healthy teeth.|
|14. Potassium:||Aids in the correct functioning of nerves and muscles.|
|15. Zinc:||Factor in tissue formation, including bones, and energy metabolism.|
|16. Selenium:||Aids in the correct functioning of the immune system due to its antioxidant effect|
Dairy products help children live happy, active, healthy lives and milk can build muscles and burn fat. An article in the August, 2007 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states if a person drinks a tall glass of fat-free milk after lifting weights, it may actually help build muscle and burn body fat.
However, people are beginning to question the long-standing belief that cow’s milk is the perfect food for children. Moreover, recent studies are looking at the long-term bone-building effects of dairy products has produced mixed results. Most of us do agree that our bones need calcium and milk is one of the number sources of calcium. Overall,, milk is great for a child’s bone development, and children should have two to three serving of dairy product a day.
Despite the mixed results, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and milk alternatives such as lactose-free milk, organic milk and soy milk allow children to enjoy the benefits of dairy at every stage of their lives.
Meat, Beans, Fish, and Nuts
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds have many nutrients. These include protein, B vitamins niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
• Vitamin B helps energized the body, aid in the formation of red blood cells, and help build tissues.
• Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from cell oxidation.
• Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood
• Magnesium is used in building bones and in releasing energy from muscles.
• Zinc is necessary for biochemical reactions and helps the immune system function properly.
Most young children need 5 ounces of meat or equivalents of meat, beans, and nuts every day. The minerals and vitamins in lean meats strengthen bones help build, maintain and repair body tissues. Meat also help boost the immune system, increase energy help with digestion, development of healthy skin and help metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
An Inadequate amount protein may cause physical, and emotional-development. Therefore, your children eating a balanced diet is very vital to a long healthy the life.