Nutrition for Kids begins with the parent’s lifestyle and the example that the parents give the child. Factor in your own hectic schedule and it’s no wonder so many kids’ diets are built around convenience and takeout food. Children follow the parents’ guidance.
Nutrition for Kids refers to good nutritional food and drinks. Switching to a Nutritional Healthy diet can have a profound effect on children’s health, helping to stabilize their energy, sharpen their minds, to grow and even out their moods.
How does GOOD Nutrition for Kids benefit your child?
Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. A healthy diet can also have a profound effect on a child’s sense of mental and emotional well-being, helping to prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD. Eating well can support a child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child has already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and regain control of their health.
It’s important to remember that your kids aren’t born with a craving for French fries and pizza and an aversion to broccoli and carrots. This conditioning happens over time as kids are exposed to more and more unhealthy food choices. However, it is possible to reprogram your children’s food cravings so that they crave healthier foods instead. The sooner you introduce wholesome, nutritious choices into your kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with food that can last them a lifetime.
Importance of Healthy Eating for Kids
Nutrition for kids is very important. Proper nutrition can prevent many medical problems, like obesity, now, and in the future. This can lead to bone disease – osteoporosis, diabetes, rickets, CVD and all sorts of chronic diseases. (WHO)
- Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing babies with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk and therefore it’s recommended breastfeeding up to 6 months, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary nutrient foods up to two years and beyond.
- Obese Kids under the age of 5 years can develop a negative self-image and show a degree of sadness, nervousness and high risk of behavioral and psychological issues.
- Healthy nutrition also ensures that Kids reach their full growth potential. Bodies are growing and developing at a rapid rate during childhood.
- Parents must be more objective to children with problems, like obesity. Focus on the good nutritional foods and be an example by eating healthy foods Allow your children to reach their full potential.
- In different stages of their development, children need additional nutrients for growth spurts and during puberty. A dynamic period of development marked by rapid changes in body size, shape and composition when they gain the most weight. Puberty usually occurs at 11 years in girls and 13 years in boys. I attached a graph for you to look at for nutrient requirements.
8 – 12 years in girls
10 -14 years in boys
14 – 18 years girls and boys.
- Both genders need iron for growth but girls need extra iron due to their menstrual cycle.
- Calcium and Vitamin D are vital for bone health but do not over do it.
- Please also ensure that you give your child a balanced Micro and Micronutrients intake daily. I include a Child Food Plate for your information when planning meals and snacks for kids.
Calories and Nutrients:
It is very important that your child gets the proper amount of calories and nutrients in order for him or her to function at the optimum level. The amount of calories and servings of food that your child needs every day is based on several factors:
• Activity level
• Allergies to certain foods
• Medical conditions
Tips to encourage kids to eat more fruit and veggies
• Encourage kids to try new foods
• Offer new food with favourite foods
• Some children have a problem with certain textures of food like; crunchy, lumpy, smooth or thick foods. Under the age of 5 you introduce foods to a child to get them used to the texture and feeling in the mouth. However, some children do not overcome or outgrow the texture issue.
• Make the meals colourful.
• Get your children to help in the kitchen with preparing meals and snacks. They need to learn how to prepare food.
• Let your child select from the food group or the types of fruit, veggies, meat, and grains he or she would like.
• Eat with your children at a table and not in front of the TV.
• Focus on overall diet rather than specific foods.
• Cook more meals at home.
• Be a role model.
There are times when children hit periods of rapid growth. Just focus on Healthy Snacking.
What foods are healthy for kids?
Children should begin to follow healthy eating guidelines from When they stop breast feeding. Children younger than 5 normally follow the parent’s advice and you slowly introduce healthy foods to them to get used to the taste and feeling in their mouths.
More attention must be paid to “Picky eaters”.
Super snacks and smoothies
• Dried fruit – such as figs and raisins are good snacks when children want a sweet treat.
• Raw vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes etc
• Cheese on A crackers
• Wholemeal bread or oat cakes with wafer thin ham, cream cheese or nut butter
• Pumpkin soup or minestrone
• Plain homemade popcorn
• Cut up vegetables with salsa or yoghurt dips
• Brain muffins or cakes made with added fruit or vegetables (in moderation).
• Frozen fruit or vegetable segments
• Stewed fruit or fruit salads
These 7 foods can help kids stay sharp and affect how their brains develop well into the future.
• Eggs. The protein and nutrients in eggs help kids concentrate
• Greek Yogurt
• Nuts and Seeds
• Apples and Plums.
Introduce Children To Fish
This is an important time to introduce fish to their meals
Fish contains protein and Omega 3. Omega 3 is essential for brain development
Protein – essential to muscle development
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia linked to a lack of omega 3 fats
Omega 3 Helps to prevent asthma
Watch out for shark, marlin and swordfish, not suitable for children. Fine bones in meat.
It can contain Mercury which can be harmful to the nervous systems of young children, if eaten in large amounts
Drinks for Kids
Soda and Juices are high in Fat, Sugar and Salt, they provide no Nutrients and should not replace healthy nutritious meals for kids. There is actually no place for them in your child’s diet. They are:-
• High in Fat – obesity
• High in Sugar – obesity
• High in Salt – hypertension, CVD
The amount of fluid a child needs depends on:
• Body fat
• Physical activity and exercise
• Illness, diarrhea, fever
• Any special medical needs
What can a child drink – 6-8 beverages per day
• Still water
• Milk, in moderation (plain or flavoured) (no colouring or sugar).
• Unsweetened fruit juice with one meal per day (should be well diluted with water)
• Fruit and milk yoghurt / smoothies
• Vegetable juice
• No added sugar squashes
• Limit caffeine <100mg/day
Advice for Parents:
1. kids under 5 years follow the parent’s advice and therefore do not discuss matters just start making Healthy Lifestyle changes.
2. Make it easy for kids to eat smart and move more ideas around like make the meals attractive with a smiley face layout. Introduce a new nutrient to the food plate once a week.
3. Set times to serve meals at regular times. Have family meals at a table and not
4. Set times to serve meals at regular times. Have family meals at a table and not in front of the TV. Media have a BIG influence on food choices and obesity. Get your children involved in preparing the meals and so they learn to do it themselves.
5. Reduce sedentary behavior: get the kids active and not sitting most of the day in front of a TV or computer.5 Don’t blame the child or make them feel guilty about their weight, rather focus on compliment on good stuff your child do like the shirts
6. Don’t blame the child or make them feel guilty about their weight, rather focus on compliment on good stuff your child do like the shirts
7.Don’t blame the child or make them feel guilty about their weight, rather focus on complimenting on the good things your child does, like the shirts colour they are wearing today. Compliment their skin colour.
8. Focus on the big picture and encourage the child on their health and not the weight. Always compliment good works.
9. Focus on the big picture and encourage the child on health and not the weight. Your child wants to hear that they are well behaved, this can decrease the risk of obesity during childhood
The Truth of the Matter is, because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Very SAD. A Balance of all food groups is essential to provide children with all the Nutrients they need. Your body does not need carbs so do not feed your child excessive carbs