why do we have to eat healthy food for kids

Eating a healthful diet has benefits throughout life. Starting a healthy lifestyle during childhood can have long-term advantages, according to the American Psychological Association. Following healthy habits during the formative years of childhood makes it more likely that your youngster will hold onto these habits throughout life. Healthful eating involves consuming a variety of whole and nutritious foods. Healthful eating involves consuming a variety of whole and nutritious foods. By incorporating foods from the different food groups into every meal, kids should have a well-rounded and healthy diet. The БMyPlateБ initiative by First Lady Michelle Obama seeks to simplify healthy eating by presenting a dinner plate divided into four different pieces with fruits and vegetables comprising half of the plate and grains and proteins comprising the other half, according to the KidsHealth website. A small circle to the right of the plate represents dairy in the diet. Foods that contain excess fats and sugars should become occasional foods, only added to the diet once in a while. Children have important daily dietary needs to support continued growth and physical development. Children have important daily dietary needs to support continued growth and physical development.


Foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and protein will provide the nutrients necessary for growth and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children eat at least five fruits and vegetables each day. A child whose diet is deficient in the essential fatty acid DHA might experience delays in learning and development. Photo Credit: Digital Vision. /Photodisc/Getty Images
Children who eat a healthy diet also receive direct brain development benefits, according to research associate Marc Goodman-Bryan with The Urban Child Institute. For example, if a child does not receive adequate intake of iodine and iron, she may experience both cognitive delays and motor development delays. A child whose diet is deficient in the essential fatty acid DHA might experience delays in learning and development. Children served healthy foods regularly may experience fewer cavities. Eating healthy foods can also reduce the health problems faced by children. Children served healthy foods regularly may experience fewer cavities. Many chronic health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer, have roots that trace back to an unhealthy childhood diet.


When children start life with whole and healthy foods, they may avoid many heath issues that can affect them both during childhood and into adulthood. Teaching kids to eat well can be tricky. You donБt want to give them more facts than they can grasp or turn every meal into a lecture. But wait too long and they could pick up unhealthy habits in the meantime. БKids need to know that every food they put into their bodies affects them,Б says Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint JohnБs Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. Parents can get that message across by talking with kids about the food they put in their bodies, why it matters, and how they can learn to make the healthiest choices. Not just a rule, but a routine. Make sure healthy foods are the default setting for your familyБs meals, and get everyone involved in choosing some nutritious, tasty options. Take kids with you to the grocery store or farmers market. Younger kids can pick out fresh fruits and veggies. Older kids can take on larger roles like choosing recipes and making a shopping list. Show kids what Бeating rightБ looks like.


Explain that they should fill half their plate with fruits and veggies that have nutrients that will help their bodies grow. The other half should be whole grains and lean protein that gives them energy to run, dance, and play. When youБre cooking or grocery shopping, show them different examples of these key food groups. Avoid calling foods БgoodБ or Бbad. Б Kids should learn that all foods have a place in their diet. Label foods as Бgo,Б Бslow,Б or Бwhoa. Б Kids can Бgreen lightБ foods like whole grains and skim milk they should have every day and Бslow downБ with less healthy foods like waffles. Foods with the least nutrition, such as french fries, donБt need to be off limits, but kids should stop and think twice before they eat them often. Talk about portion size. б ItБs not just what kids eat that matters, but how much. Even very young kids can learn that the amount of rice or pasta they eat should match the size of their fist. Protein should be palm-sized, and fats like butter or mayonnaise about the tip of their thumb. When you buy packaged foods, have kids help you find the serving size. Then talk about why sticking to it is a good idea.

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