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What is the Healthy Diet for Children?

Updated on 4 November 2022

The fundamentals of food for children are the same as those of nutrition for grownups. Everybody needs the same nutrition, including vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Children, on the other hand, require varying quantities of certain nutrients at different ages.

List of Nutrient-dense Food

Consider the following nutrient-dense foods,

  • Protein: Soy products, seafood, eggs, lean meat and poultry, beans, peas, and unsalted nuts and seeds are a part of a healthy diet for children.
  • Fruits: Instead of fruit juice, encourage your youngster to consume a variety of fresh, or dried fruits. If your child drinks juice, be sure it's 100% juice with no added sugars and restrict how much he or she consumes. Canned or preserved juice is to be avoided. Keep in mind that one-quarter cup of dried fruit equals one cup of fresh fruit. Dried fruits, when taken in excess, can provide extra calories.
  • Vegetables: Serve fresh veggies. Aim to give a variety of coloured veggies, such as dark green, crimson, and orange, beans and peas, starchy, and others. 
  • Grains: Whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oats, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice are also good choices. 
  • Dairy: Encourage your child to consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, or fortified soy drinks.

Limiting A Child’s Calorie Consumption

Limit your child's calorie intake from,

  • Sugar substitutes: These should be avoided for better health. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruits and milk, are not added sugars. Brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, and other added sugars are some examples of artificial sugars. Examine the nutrition labels to know the presence and amount of added sugars. Choose cereals with the fewest added sugars. Drinks containing additional sugars, such as soda and sports and energy drinks, should be avoided.
  • Trans and saturated fats: Limit saturated fats, which are mostly found in animal products such as red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. Look for ways to substitute vegetable and nut oils for saturated fats, which supply vital fatty acids and vitamin E. Natural sources of healthy fats include olives, almonds, avocados, and seafood. Reduce your intake of trans fats by avoiding meals containing partly hydrogenated oil.
  • Sodium: Most youngsters consume much too much salt in their regular meals. Encourage people to munch on fruits and veggies rather than chips and sweets.

If you have any questions regarding children's nutrition or particular concerns about your child's food, consult with a qualified dietitian or doctor from the best dietetic hospitals. Healthy fats contain important fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which the body cannot produce and must be obtained from meals. Use vegetable oils like canola, olive, and/or soybean while cooking. Salad dressings, non-hydrogenated margarine, nut butter (such as peanut butter), and mayonnaise also include healthy fats.

Many solid fats at room temperature include higher trans and saturated fats, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Limit the intake of butter, hard margarine, and lard. Read labels and avoid trans or saturated fats, which are common in many store-bought items including cookies, doughnuts, and crackers. Limit processed meats since they are heavy in fat, sodium (salt), and nitrates (food preservatives).

Parent’s Role in Maintaining a Child’s Diet

It is your responsibility as a parent to, 

  • Establish regular meal and snack times that work for the entire family. Share mealtimes with your children and eat with them.
  • At mealtimes, provide a balance and variety of meals from all dietary categories.
  • Provide meals in a manner that they can readily manage. To prevent choking in younger children, for example, chop or mash food.
  • Help your children learn to eat independently by teaching them how to use a spoon or cup.
  • Participate in age-appropriate meal preparation and table arranging with your child.
  • Dessert should not be used as a bribe. Serve healthy dessert options like a fruit cup or yoghurt.
  • Eliminating fast food places teaches your children the value of eating together as a family and consuming healthful home-cooked food.

Quick Tip

Don't be too concerned if your youngster declines a food item or meal. Avoid feeding them something additional in between meals solely to get them to eat. They'll eat better the next time.

If their weight and size are normal, they are most likely obtaining everything they require. Just make sure your child eats a range of meals from all food groups to ensure they get enough nutrients. At frequent check-ups, your child's doctor will monitor their growth and notify you if there are any issues.

The cravings of kids vary from day to day, and even from meal to meal. Kids must consume tiny quantities frequently throughout the day due to their small stomachs. So, be aware of all the above points and create healthy eating habits in your child.

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