Give Your Child a Nutritious Diet

Is your child getting enough calcium? Enough iron? Too much fat? Whether you have a toddler or a teen, nutrition is important to his or her physical and mental development.

Toddlers and preschoolers grow in spurts and their appetites come and go in spurts, so they may eat a lot of food one day and then hardly anything the next day. It’s normal, and as long as parents are offering them a healthy selection, they will get what they need.

Incorporating calcium into your child’s diet is important as it is the body’s building block and is needed to develop strong, healthy bones and teeth. As the saying goes “milk does a body good” – it’s the best source of calcium. However, if your child is lactose-intolerant, no need to worry – they can still get their much-needed calcium from lactose-free milk, soy milk, tofu, orange juice, cereal and oatmeal. In some cases, pediatricians may recommend calcium supplements. Fiber is another important focus. Although, it’s common for children to want the starchy chicken nuggets, fries, and mac and cheese, encourage them to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, which all provide fiber.

kindergartner drinking milk
toddler drinking water

Water: Drink Up!

Keeping track of what kind of fluids entering your child’s system is just as important as monitoring the food they are eating. Instead of sugary fruit drinks and sodas, offer your child water or milk. Water makes up more than half of a child’s body weight and is needed to keep all parts of the body functioning properly. Although, there is no specific amount of water recommended for children, it is a good idea to give them water throughout the day, especially when it’s hot out or they are engaged in physical activity.

Promoting Healthy Eating Habits

A healthy diet helps children grow and learn as well as helps prevent obesity. Give your child a nutritious diet by preparing half of their plate with fruits or vegetables, and a healthy source of protein, such as lean meat, nuts, and eggs. Broil, grill, or steam foods instead of frying them, and limit fast food and junk food as much as possible.

Most children spend an average of 6 to 7 hours a day at school, thus, schools and daycares are a priority setting for preventing childhood obesity. A comprehensive approach focusing on nutrition and physical activity in schools/daycares while involving parents is important for addressing childhood obesity in schools. Little Friends School aims to support the health and well-being of students.

young kids eating a healthy lunch

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported data from 2015 to 2016, which showed nearly 1 in 5 school age children (6 to 19- years-old) are obese in the United States. Parents and schools/daycares play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of children and helping them establish lifelong healthy eating patterns. Thus, it is imperative to establish a nutritious diet for your child during their early stages rather than try to change their unhealthy eating habits during adolescent years.

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