As parent’s one of our most important goals is to help our children grow up to become healthy adults. In order to do that you must begin by teaching your child the importance of healthy living.
Nutrition is essential to your child’s health. Good nutrition can put a stop to many health problems, including becoming overweight, developing weak bones, and developing diabetes. Finding your child all the foods that have all the important nutrients will help your child grow to their complete potential.
A child’s body prospers on certain nutrients that work together to promote growth and development. There is no specific nutrient or group of nutrients that is more important to a child's well-being, than these five nutrients I am about to mention to you right:
The Five Most Important Nutrients:
1. Calcium: the richest mineral in the body, that helps in the development of bone growth. Your Child needs calcium in the bloodstream this is crucial for normal heart beat, blood clotting, and muscle function. Your child’s body takes the calcium it needs from bones to keep a blood level, which is the reason why children need a good amount of calcium in their diet everyday. Many kids don't get enough for their nutritional needs. One of the biggest problems in the United States with children’s diets is that they do not receive enough of calcium in their daily diets.
- 1- to 3-year-olds need 500 milligrams
- 4- to 8-year-olds require 800 milligrams
- 9- to 19-year-olds need 1,300 milligrams
Offer children drinks and snacks that are rich with calcium. Avoid giving them soft drinks, snack chips, and candy. Such examples are:
· white bread
· flavored milk
· hard Cheese
· orange juice rich with calcium
· certain breakfast cereals (check the label on the box to make sure it’s not all sugar)
By giving your child calcium rich foods you can help lower body fat levels in children aged 2 to 8.
2. Protein: is another important nutrient in your child’s diet. Every single body tissue, in your child’s tissue contains protein. This gives you an understanding of how important protein is to children. Protein is found in animal and plant foods such as:
Protein is extremely important during infancy. Children’s daily needs for protein are:
- 1- to 3-year-olds need about 13 grams
- 4- to 8-year-olds, 19 grams
- 9- to 13-year-olds, 34 grams
- older teens, between 46 and 52 grams
3. Fiber: is needed for children for good nutrition and healthy growth. Fiber helps stop constipation and it gives children a sense of fullness. High fiber foods are rich in vitamins and minerals. High-fiber foods to give your child include:
· whole grains
4. Antioxidant nutrients: are vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and the mineral selenium Antioxidant nutrients are known to help boost a child’s immune system. Foods that are rich with antioxidant nutrients are:
· sweet potatoes
· carrots are among the high rich antioxidants
5. Iron: is also very important to a child’s diet. Your child depends on iron to get bigger and stronger. Iron also helps in your child’s brain development and function. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in America, affecting mostly older infants, young children, and women in the childbearing years. Small children are at risk because they grow so fast. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which often drains a child's energy. Foods you could give your child that are high in iron are:
· nonheme iron. Nonheme iron is also the type of iron added to breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and fortified grains.
A steady supply of fortified grains can provide enough iron; even for those who don't eat meat and children should take a daily multivitamin with iron to be on the safe side.
The food pyramid was designed by the US Dept. of Agriculture to promote healthy nutrition in children over two years of age. The food pyramid’s main purpose is to be a general guide to daily food choices. The pyramid focuses on the five major food groups, all of which are required for good health.
And one of the most important things to remember is that you can teach your child about good nutrition, but you need set a good example for your child. If you want your child to eat healthy than you cannot give them yogurt for a snack and you’re sitting next to them eating a bag of potato chips!
Leave the junk food and soda at the store. Replace them with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat or nonfat milk products. If you make a commitment to yourself and keep on top of your kids eating habits your child will soon learn to make intelligent food choices outside your home as well.
· Make sure your child eats breakfast. Breakfast provides children with the energy they need to listen and learn in school.
· Eat a mixture of foods
- Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol
· Limit the amount of added sugar in your child's diet
· Cook with less fat
· Involve your child in planning and preparing meals. Children may be more willing to eat the dishes they help fix.
· Give your child a snack or two in addition to his or her three daily meals.
· Serve snacks like dried fruit, low-fat yogurt, and air-popped popcorn.
· Limit the amount of salt sugar in your child's diet
· Give your children water
- Have family meals together and serve everyone the same thing.
Healthy snacks that your kids will enjoy:
· Dried fruit and nut mix
· Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or fruit served plain or with low-fat yogurt
· Rice cakes
· whole grain crackers
· Whole grain bread served with low-fat cheese fruit spread or peanut butter
· Popped popcorn
· Homemade fruit smoothie made with low-fat milk or yogurt and frozen or fresh fruit
When your sitting at the table to eat give your children child-sized portions, and let your child ask for more food if their still hungry. Don't force children to clean their plates. Don’t say, “Eat, eat, finish your food don’t you want to be big like grandpa!”
Remember, to incorporate physical activity into your child’s life. Do not let them be a couch potato. Exercise is important for children and their parents. It strengthens muscles, bones and joints, and it gives children the chance to gain confidence in them while having fun while spending quality time with their parents. Children need at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
Remember, adults need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to stay healthy, so be an example to your child and have fun with your kids. For example take a walk around the neighborhood with your child. Plan active weekends. Such as:
- Playing ball.
- Going to the park
- Go to the zoo
- And much more…
If your child belongs to a spot get involved, just don’t drop them off stay their and root them on. Tell them how proud you are of them. See if you can help out or assist in couching.
I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to my kids games and I see parents not even paying attention to their kids. There either talking to other parents or laying on the lawn soaking in the sun! Get involved!
Also, get your children involved in helping out around the house. For example:
- Walking the dog
- Helping with the house cleaning
- Washing the car
- Straightening up the yard
These is considered physical activity and it will also give teach them responsibility and appreciation for what they own.
Limit you child’s time in watching TV or playing video games. When you give your children presents. Give them gifts that persuade physical activity such as: active games, sporting equipment, or a Frisbee. 141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Remember, healthy living starts when they are young, so what better time to start than now!
If you are looking for specific information about a certain topic the resources below can help you find what you’re looking for:
The American Academy of Pediatrics
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098
Phone: (847) 434-4000 or 1-888-227-1770
The American Dietetic Association
216 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
Phone: (312) 899-0040 or 1-800-366-1655
National Eating Disorders Association
603 Stewart Street, Suite 803
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 382-3587 or 1-800-931-2237
Food and Nutrition Information Center
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Agricultural Library, Room 105
10301 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351
Phone: (301) 504-5719
International Food Information Council
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 296-6540
The National Network for Child Care
President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
200 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20201-0004
Phone: (202) 690-9000
Weight-control Information Network
1 WIN WAY
Bethesda, MD 20892-3665
Phone: (202) 828-1025
FAX: (202) 828-1028
Toll-free number: 1-877-946-4627