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Just how much of an impact does nutrition make on the overall health and development of a child? Let's take a look, and also examine what foods no child should miss out on.

Receiving proper nutrition is the best way to ensure babies and children grow up to become healthy adults, but just how important is eating well? Let's  take a look at the brutal facts surrounding child nutrition.

Healthy Eating Starts During Pregnancy

One thing a woman who is trying to conceive should do is take a daily folic acid supplement. Another good thing to do when trying to conceive is for a woman to avoid alcohol and find out about her family’s health history. It is important to make sure any health conditions are under control and that a woman is up-to-date on her vaccinations.

How Much Of A Priority Should Healthy Foods Be?

It should come as no surprise that proper nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining health for people of all ages. It’s easy to find nutritional information online, in books, on television and through newspaper and magazine articles. While most people know how important it is to eat healthy, it could be confusing when it comes to finding out the right information for raising healthy children.

The Centers for Disease Control have compiled a list of resources for a parent to help their child eat healthier, and there's quite a lot of information there that everyone would benefit from a refresher course on now and then. To start off with, it's important to make sure that children consume foods from all major food groups so their diet is balanced. 

The following groups should all be present in any child's diet.

  • Mike and Dairy Products: Milk and dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin A and B12, potassium and magnesium. Getting three servings of dairy per day helps a child build bone mass and improves overall bone health later in life.
  • Meat and Beans: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, seeds and nuts all supply important nutrients that a growing child needs. Protein-based foods contain rich amounts of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and zinc. These healthy sources of protein are the building blocks of muscle, cartilage, skin, bones and blood.
  • Vegetables: Children who regularly eat vegetables as a part of their daily diet will have a reduced risk of developing chronic illnesses — or rather, those who don't have an increased risk. At meal times, make sure to load your child’s plate up with a wide array of vegetables. These foods are a dense in vitamins and minerals such as; vitamins A, C, and E, folate, potassium and fiber.
  • Fruits: Fruit is a great source for kids to receive vitamins A and C. Fruits are important for the prevention of chronic illness, just like veggies. These foods are an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin D, fiber and potassium.
  • Grains: Consuming whole grains as a part of a healthy diet can reduce the risks of some chronic types of disease. Grains are a great source for many nutrients such as fiber, folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, iron, selenium and magnesium. Dietary fiber from whole grain sources can reduce serum blood cholesterol levels and could lower the risk of heart disease. Fiber is also imperative for healthy bowel function and helps reduce the chances of constipation. Children can get whole grains from breads, cereals, oatmeal and flaxseed being added to their diet.
  • Oils: Oils contain essential fatty acids that are important to the health of growing children. While incorporating oils into the diet means calories, the amount consumed should be limited to balance the caloric intake of a child’s diet. In addition, it is better to consume oils made from olives, soybeans, coconuts and canola. Adding nuts, oily fish, olives and avocados to a child’s diet is a good way of ensuring they receive the necessary amounts needed of oils needed to maintain a healthy diet.
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