When it comes to raising children, it is crucial to provide them with proper nutrition. Nutrition plays an important role for the growth and development of young minds and bodies. Therefore, healthy food for kids can greatly affect their development – helping them maintain normal weight, avoid health problems, prevent mental health conditions, stabilize moods, ensure emotional well-being, and sharpen their minds1. Besides, it also gives enough energy for children to keep up with their daily activities.
On a similar note, it is the goal of parents to provide their children with healthy food. For kids, this is necessary to help them achieve their fullest potential during their formative years especially as they enter school.
Healthy Food for Kids: What Makes a Balanced Diet?
The recommended daily allowance for young children ages 3 to 8 is at around 1,000-1,400 calories per day, depending on the activities they engage in2. In order to have a balanced diet, one needs to consider the proper allocation of both macronutrients and micronutrients in choosing healthy food for kids.
Macronutrients as Part of Healthy Food for Kids
Macronutrients are essential nutrients taken in large doses that provide energy and aid in the absorption of micronutrients3.
Carbohydrates make up most of the diet since it is the primary source of energy. Therefore, it is important to drill down on what’s important to include as part of healthy food for kids. Some good carbohydrate options that are suitable for your children are:
- whole grains
- potatoes & other starchy vegetables
Protein, which builds and repairs muscle and tissue, is used by the body for cell growth. You should avoid feeding your kids processed meat due to preservatives and limit red meat because they are high in saturated fat. Instead, try these healthy food for kids which are protein rich:
- White lean meat (chicken)
Fat is also an important macronutrient since it also provides energy, stores vitamins, and is necessary for the production of hormones and protection of organs4. It is the amount of intake and the kind of fat one should be careful with when including as part of healthy food for kids. You should choose food with healthy unsaturated fats which are good for the heart. Examples of food for kids with healthy unsaturated fats are the following:
- fish like salmon
- vegetable oils
Meanwhile, you should limit foods that are high in saturated fat which are found in meat, butter, and dairy products. In addition, avoid buying food with unhealthy trans saturated fats which are usually found in processed snacks5.
As a parent, your plan for healthy food for kids should focus on creating a balanced diet which involves taking the time to know what goes into the food preparation. For kids, it’s important to have a variety of different kinds of food to meet their daily requirements. A great suggestion is to fill half of their plate with vegetables and fruits, and the other half should be made up of a mix of whole grains and healthy proteins6.
Micronutrients as Part of Healthy Food for Kids
On the other hand, micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are required in small doses when putting together healthy food for kids. They are considered the important building blocks of various tissues and organs6. They don’t provide calories, but contribute to overall health and wellness, giving aid to cell metabolism and neurological functions7. Each vitamin and mineral has specific benefits to address. For example:
- Vitamin A improves eyesight
- Iron is important in red blood cell production which helps transport oxygen throughout the body
- Vitamin D helps build healthy bones
- Vitamin C and Zinc help strengthen the immune system
- Calcium is needed for muscle contraction and for maintaining healthy teeth and bones
These vitamins and minerals are not naturally produced in the body and should be derived from consuming what is healthy. Healthy food for kids will supplement this need. One way to support your kid’s dietary needs is by complementing each meal with a glass of Enfagrow A+ Four. Furthermore, it is clinically proven to support your child’s immunity against respiratory infections with key nutrients, Beta-Glucan, DHA and Prebiotics8.
Promoting healthy food for kids will benefit them by making them aware of good food and body connection. This is especially true when they get older and have to make their own decisions about the food they consume9. Enfagrow A+ Four continues to be your partner in supporting your child’s holistic development into becoming a healthy, smart kid with a heart.
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1 Healthy Food for Kids (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/healthy-food-for-kids.htm
2 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines: Appendix 2. Retrieved October 2, 2020 from https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/...
3 Macronutrients for Kids (2020). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://www.nutritionforkids.com.au/learn/macronutrients-kids
4 Macronutrients (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://healthy-kids.com.au/kids/high-school-2/macronutrients/
5 Kids Healthy Eating Plate (2015). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate/
6 Micronutrients (2018). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/index_iodine.html
7 How to Explain Basic Nutrition Concepts (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://www.eatrightpro.org/practice/practice-resources/international-nu...
8 Li F, Jin X, Liu B, et al. Follow-up formula consumption in 3- to 4-year-olds and respiratory infections: An RCT. Pediatrics 2014; 133: 1533.
9 Nutrition Tips for Kids (2019). Retrieved August 19, 2020 from https://familydoctor.org/nutrition-tips-for-kids/