Many children and families today have busy schedules which make it hard to sit down to homemade meals every day. As a result of this many childens diets involve a lot of convenience and takeout foods which can be unhealthy and have a negative effect on your child’s health.
Healthful eating has many benefits for children. It can:
- Stabilize their energy.
- Improve their minds.
- Even out their moods.
- Help them maintain a healthy weight.
- Help prevent mental health conditions. These include depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
Every parent has heard that children should be eating a “balanced diet.” But a balance of what? Here are the nine nutrients that every child should be getting on a daily basis:
Protein helps a child’s body build cells, break down food into energy, fight infection, and carry oxygen. Foods that contain high levels of protein include:
- Dairy products
While the latest diet trend is to “cut the carbs,” carbohydrates are actually the body’s most important source of energy. They help a child’s body to use fat and protein for building and repairing tissue. Carbohydrates come in several different forms (sugars, starches, and fibre), but kids should be eating more of the starches and fibres and less of the sugar. Foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates include:
Fats are a great source of energy for kids and are easily stored in a child’s body. They are also important in helping the body to properly use some of the other nutrients it needs. Foods that contain high levels of fats include:
- Whole-milk dairy products
- Cooking oils
Calcium is essential in helping to build a child’s healthy bones and teeth. It’s also important for blood clotting and for nerve, muscle, and heart function. Foods that contain high levels of calcium include:
- Ice cream
- Egg yolks
Iron is necessary for a child to build healthy blood that carries oxygen to cells all over the body. Foods that contain high levels of iron include:
- Red meats
- Whole grains
- Iron-fortified cereals
Folate, necessary for soon-to-be moms, is also very important for kids. One of the B vitamins, folate is necessary for healthy growth and development of a child’s cells. Lack of this vitamin can cause anemia. Foods that contain high levels of folate include:
- Whole-grain cereals
- Black or kidney beans
- Brussels sprouts
Fibre helps produce bowel regularity in a child. It can also play a role in reducing the chances of heart disease and cancer later in life. Foods that contain high levels of fibre include:
- Whole-grain cereals
- Kidney beans
8. Vitamin A
Vitamin A serves a variety of purposes in kids and adults. It helps growth, assists the eyes in adjusting to dim and bright lights, keeps skin healthy, and works to prevent infection. Foods that contain high levels of Vitamin A include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fish oils
- Egg yolks
9. Vitamin C
Vitamin C does more than just fighting off the common cold. It also holds the body’s cells together, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, helps the body heal wounds, and is important for building strong bones and teeth. Foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits (such as oranges)
Healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a child, and that is why it’s important that you teach your children good habits now. It will help them stick with these eating patterns and help them avoid developing chronic diseases as an adult.