It is important for children to develop healthy eating habits early. Healthy eating offers several benefits for children that include supporting a sharp mind, nurturing a strong body, stabilizing energy and boosting their mood. Encouraging good nutritional practices during the earlier stages of your child’s life can impact their diet preferences and promote opportunities for healthy growth and development.
Children have a natural tendency to prefer the foods they enjoy the most. The key for promoting good nutrition is to make the healthy food choices sound and look appealing to your children. Your efforts may be challenging at times, but they help ensure your child is eating as healthily and nutritiously as possible.
Nutrition for kids is established from the same principles as adults. All individuals need to consume the same types of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fat. What varies is the suggested intake of calories and nutrients by age and gender.
Instilling healthy habits during the most critical stages of your child’s life will help you raise nutritious eaters. When planning meals or snacks for your children, it is important to consider nutrient-dense food groups including:
Protein – Choose lean white meats (turkey), poultry and seafood. Other good options are eggs, beans, soy products, nuts and seeds.
Fruits – Encourage eating a variety of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits. If serving frozen or canned fruits, try to pick those low in sugar or syrup. If your child likes to drink fruit juice, make sure to select varieties marked 100% juice to guarantee it’s not packed full of added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Vegetables – Offer a selection of fresh, canned or frozen vegetables with your meals. Dark green, red and orange vegetables are especially important and full of nutrients. Raw vegetables are a great choice for snacks or a side with lunch.
Grains – Serve whole grains including whole-wheat bread, popcorn, oats, brown or wild rice and quinoa. Whole grain or whole wheat pasta is a great alternative to the childhood favorites macaroni & cheese or Spaghetti O’s.
Dairy – Try to stick to fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt or soy beverages.
Fat – Limit your child’s intake of solid fats and added sugar. Solid fats include foods such as butter, cakes, soda products, pizza and candy. Reward your children with an occasional treat when deserved, but remember if it becomes expected or a reoccurrence then it may become a concern.
Several tips to support healthy eating for your child involve acting as a role model and making good nutrition a family effort. You can’t promote the value of eating fruits and vegetables but then indulge in chips and candy. Children have a strong tendency to imitate when they are younger, therefore practicing healthy habits can lead to a healthier lifestyle as they mature.
If you have questions about your child’s nutritional needs, we invite you contact us to set up an appointment with one of the expert physicians at the Center for Pediatrics. Also, ask about our nutrition class specifically tailored to kids and their families.
The Longstreet Clinic, P.C., incorporated in 1995, is a fully-integrated multi-specialty medical group owned and managed by physicians. The group has grown to over 750 employees including 200 physicians and advanced practice providers. We treat patients in the following specialties: internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, adult and pediatric inpatient medicine, general surgery, oncology, hematology, physiatry, orthopaedics, sports medicine, neonatology, perinatology, allergy and immunology, neurology, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, colorectal surgery, bariatric surgery and medical weight loss. The Longstreet Clinic is repeatedly ranked by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the largest physician group practices in Georgia, and one of the largest independent group practices. With its main campus located in Gainesville, TLC providers also see patients at offices in Baldwin, Buford, Braselton, Cleveland, Dahlonega, Demorest, Oakwood, and Toccoa. The Longstreet Clinic, P.C. Doctors you know. Care you trust. Internet
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