Unfortunately, children and even some adults associate healthy food items with foods that are distasteful. This, however, isn’t necessarily true. There are plenty of foods that are tasty and nutritious. In addition, courtesy of the Internet and public libraries, people can find healthy ways to prepare these foods in an enticing way. To ensure that children are eating nutritiously, prepare their plate so that more than half of it is vegetables or vegetables and fruit. Protein should consist of eggs, lean meats, or nuts. Eliminate refined grains and processed foods as much as possible. Choose food items that are high in fiber and whole grain.
Parents may want to be careful of serving over-processed, highly commercialized foods that are marketed to children, yet have little to no nutritional value. Foods that are high in sugar, for example, should be avoided. Another example of this involves giving children water or milk with meals and avoiding sugary sodas, etc. Fried foods and fast foods should also be eliminated or allowed infrequently. In terms of calories, according to recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old should receive 1200 to 1400 calories. Girls between the ages of 9 and 13 should consume 1600 calories, while boys in the same age group may eat as much as 1800 calories. Teens up to 18 years old may eat 1800 calories if a girl and 2200 calories if a boy. In addition to calories, parents will also need to be aware of other needs, such as the need for calcium. During the teenage years, more calcium is required to aid in the building of bone mass.
In addition to getting the proper nutrition, people must also teach children how to care for their bodies in terms of fitness. This involves reducing the amount of time that kids spend in front of the television and the amount of time they spend engaged in non-physical activities, such as non-participatory video game play. If allowing kids to play video games, parents should encourage the type of games that involve actual physical interaction, such as jumping or moving about vigorously. Outdoor playing involves more physical activity. Parents may want to encourage their children to ride a bicycle or walk to a park, engage in sports, go swimming, or simply explore nature. These activities will help build muscle and reduce the risk of being overweight or obese. This is important as the American Heart Association notes that one out of every three children in the U.S. is either overweight or obese. In addition, fitness is also crucial as obesity has topped drug abuse as the number one health concern that parents have for their kids.
- Nutrition for Kids: Guidelines for a Healthy Diet
- Healthy Eating for Preschoolers (PDF)
- Five Things to Know About Feeding Your Children
- Child Nutrition
- Happy, Healthy Eating for Kids
- Childhood Nutrition
- Nutrition for the School Aged Child (PDF)
- Kid’s World Nutrition Information – The Food Guide Pyramid
- Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Your Child’s Nutrition: The Power of Parents
- Junk Food vs. Healthy Nutrition for Children
- Food is Fuel. Without it, a Child Can’t Live Up to Her Full Potential
- Babies and Kids – Nutrition
- Feeding Your Child and Teen
Fitness and Health
- Be a Fit Kid
- Health and Fitness: How Much Physical Activity do Children Need?
- Get Active
- Motivating Kids to get fit
- Ways To Be Active
- Benefits of Being Fit & Eating Well
- How Much Exercise A Day Do Children Need?
- Aerobic Exercises For Kids
- Exercise Before School May ADHD Symptoms In Kids
- Want Your Kids to Exercise? Let Them Play Video Games!
- Dietary And Exercise Recommendations For Children And Adolescents For Healthy Living
- Safe And Easy Exercises For Kids Of All Abilities
- Research Finding: Morning Exercise Beneficial To Students
- Exercise, Classroom Instruction Cut Kids’ Cholesterol, Study Finds
- Keeping Kids Active
- How Much Exercise Do You Need?