Nutrition for Healthy, Growing Children

The key to a strong, healthy family is to serve a variety of nutritious, delicious meals every day. Growing kids and teens require just the right amount of fuel to learn, prosper and develop properly. This means it is up to parents to provide children with quality foods and beverages that offer lots of essential nutrients such as, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Stay clear of too much sugar and excessive amounts of fat and calories. Set an example that ensures the health of your family and establishes good habits that last a lifetime.

Why are the right nutrients so important?

A lack of proper nutrition can cause serious health problems and lead to obesity. Some conditions develop due to a poor diet while a child is growing, and can follow into adulthood. Teaching kids how to eat healthily is a priceless tool and a sign of love.

Think about how much easier it is to be active and maintain a healthy, ideal weight than it is to have to lose weight. Overall health and the quality of life is better. Slender kids, or those who maintain their best size, tend to stay at a healthy weight into adulthood.

Poor nutrition and weight

It is miserable being overweight or obese at any time in life, never mind at an age where no one wants to look different or feel awkward. Some of the negative effects in children at an unhealthy weight include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Depression
  • Teasing/bullying
  • Body loathing
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Trouble learning
  • Social anxiety

How good nutrition benefits children

  • Healthy weight
  • Mental and physical well-being
  • Stronger ability to focus, concentrate and learn
  • Strong bones
  • Good muscle tone
  • High energy level
  • Strong immune system
  • Fast wound healing

How can I help my children make healthier food choices?

Teach kids by offering attractive, healthy options at home. Provide a wide variety of foods and be persistent. Kids are tough, they are often reluctant to try new things initially. Let your crew choose the vegetables and fruits each would like to try. Select healthy protein choices such as lean meats, eggs, nuts, and fish. Serve whole or multi-grain cereals and bread. Get them used to low-fat dairy products and make water a staple instead of sugary soft drinks. It is okay to indulge occasionally, but make it a habit to avoid fried food, fast food, and junk food. Also, never forget to read the labels. Always be aware of exactly what you are feeding your children.