Healthy Eating Guidelines for Kids
We are all responsible for what we put into our bodies and this is especially important for children.
Healthy eating that is aimed at children is designed to increase their energy levels, health as well as the potential for a healthy life when they get older.
There is a general guideline that has been published for children over 6 years old by the US Department of Agriculture and it is a Food Guide Pyramid.
The main points it refers to are the 5 major food groups along with a reduced amount of fat, oils, sweets and salt.
In general there are a few guidelines you should follow when feeding your children.
They should have a variety of different foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds not processed foods that are full of sugars and artificial flavours and colours.
You should encourage your child to partake in physical activity as well as giving them a balanced diet.
With a lot of school budgets being reduced, this has an effect on the physical education programs that children get to do.
Therefore if they are not getting a lot of exercise at school, just sitting at a desk most of the day, then coming home and doing homework or watching TV, they really aren’t getting a lot of physical activity.
The basis of the food that your child eats should include whole wheat grains, fruits and vegetables.
It should also be low in fats, saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.
We are all guilty of loving sugar, however this should me reduced as much as possible and eaten in moderation as it can make you put on weight as well as damaging your health and immune system.
The same is said for salt, this should also be eaten in moderation.
If you are expecting your child to cut down on these things, then you should as well as children need a good role model to follow.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for children. Iron, zinc, complete proteins and magnesium should all be eaten regularly.
Although the Food Pyramid mentioned above can be confusing if you are trying to judge portion sizes, 1 serving of meat is around 1-2 ounces.
To put that into perspective, a ¼ pounder burger is around 2-3 times what they should be eating in one serving.
Good role models and a bit of planning is all it is going to take to make sure your child is eating healthy and nutritious foods, it is not something that is complicated.
You should also follow the same or very similar diet so your child has a role model to look up to and can follow healthy food and exercise habits.
If you do this, you will reap the benefits, as well as ensuring your child has a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits years down the line.
HealthyChildren: Kids need Fiber
National Agricultural Library: Child Nutrition and Health
HelpGuide: Nutrition for Children and Teens
MayoClinic: Nutrition for Kids