nutrition for kids

Nutrition for Kids – Nov. 25, 2020

When it comes to nutrition for kids, healthy eating is based on the same principles as nutrition for adults. Everyone needs the same kinds of nutrients—vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. However, nutrition is especially important for children as their bodies are growing and developing. So what are the best foods to support your child’s optimal growth and development? 

1. Protein

When choosing a protein for your child, go for foods like seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

2. Fruits

Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen and dried fruits—as opposed to fruit juice. Look for canned fruit that is packed in its own juice, meaning it doesn’t have added sugar. Keep in mind that one-quarter of a cup of dried fruit equals one cup of fresh fruit, so it’s best to limit the amount of dried fruit your child eats. 

3. Vegetables 

Choose a variety of fresh, frozen or dried vegetables for your child. Aim to provide an assortment—serving vegetables from all of the colors of the rainbow can be fun for your child and make eating vegetables more appealing. If you have trouble getting them to eat fruits and veggies, check out this resource on how to encourage more of that in your child’s diet. 

4. Grains

Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, and brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice.

5. Dairy

Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.

Avoid these foods as much as possible:

1. Added sugar

Limit added sugars. Natural sugars, like those found in fruit and milk, are not added and are okay. Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, and honey. Look for these ingredients on the labels of foods you buy. If your child drinks juice, make sure it’s 100% juice without added sugars and limit the amount of juice they are allowed to drink. Added sugars contribute to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

2. Saturated fats

Limit saturated fats. This kind of fat comes primarily from animal sources, such as red meat, poultry and high-fat dairy products. Look for ways to replace saturated fats with coconut and nut oils, which contain healthy nutrients like essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Foods like olives, nuts, avocados and seafood also contain healthy fats. 

3. Trans fats

Limit your child’s trans fat intake by avoiding foods with partially hydrogenated oil—foods like microwave popcorn, fried foods, frozen pizza, and shortening. 

Nutritionist in Sacramento 

If you have questions about nutrition for kids or specific concerns about your child’s diet, give us a call. At One Community Health, we have pediatricians and nutritionists that can help your child stay healthy and thrive. We believe that your child deserves the best care, regardless of your ability to pay.

Image by khamkhor from Pixabay

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