A healthy diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent obesity and weight-related diseases, such as diabetes.
To give your child a nutritious diet
- Make half of what is on your child's plate fruits and vegetables.
- Choose healthy sources of protein, such as lean meat, nuts, and eggs.
- Serve whole-grain breads and cereals because they are high in fiber. Reduce refined grains.
- Broil, grill, or steam foods instead of frying them.
- Limit fast food and junk food.
- Offer water or milk instead of sugary fruit drinks and sodas.
Learn about your children's nutrient requirements. Some of them, such as the requirements for iron and calcium, change as your child ages.
Use your children's food and beverage choices as teaching moments. Speak up when you see unhealthy choices. Direct children to healthier options or say, "You can have a little of that, but not too much." Talk to them about why an overly salty or heavily sugared snack is not the best choice. Avoid making them feel guilty about their food or beverage choices. You can also praise your children when they choose a healthy item like fruit.
Use comments like these
- "Great choice!"
- "You're giving your body what it needs with that snack!"
- "I like those, too."