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Spring Nutrition – Reintroduce Some Fresh Foods Into Your Kid’s Diet
As a concerned parent, your child’s nutritional needs are clearly a priority. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information offered by different specialists or the internet is understandable. When kids are small, they need to be well-fed because this can influence dietary habits as they grow older. That being said, it’s natural to want to instill good eating habits from a very young age.
The moment you kid starts eating solid food, you’ll notice that some meals are not their favorite cup of tea. But you shouldn’t worry too much, as this is normal. What you should do is compel your child to have a good relationship with food, especially fruits and vegetables.
The best way to ensure that your kid’s nutritional requirements are met is by focusing on 3 meals a day; each must contain one type of food from a different food group. Make a habit of trying out different proteins, and try not to force children to eat their veggies.
Why should you emphasize on proteins?
Proteins are fundamental because they handle many important functions within the body, including healthy bones, growth and brain development. There are 20 amino-acids that produce proteins; out of all 20, your child only needs 9.
Animal proteins from foods such as milk, eggs, meat and fish, cheese and yogurt contain these 9 essential amino-acids. Plant proteins are partial proteins, meaning that they’re incomplete. They have to be combined with additional food sources to make your child stays in good health. Parents are advised to include fish meals at least 2 times per week; one meal should include salmon or trout.
Kids need carbohydrates for their bodies to function properly. However, we’re certainly not talking about French fries and burgers. If your toddler is under 13, he may have difficulties digesting whole grain varieties; too much fiber fills them up fast, triggering appetite issues. After 10 months of life, parents can introduce pasta, whole grain breads, and other grains into their diet. Assess their response to these foods, and then you can move on to seeds and nuts.
Fruit & vegetables
Aim for 5 portions of meals that contain fruit and veggies. The size of a portion often depends on your child’s level of physical activity, age, and weight. There’s no specific rule as to how much your kid should have on a daily basis. In general, the amount should be about the size of your kid’s fist.
In the spring, it’s easy to compel a child to eat more fruit. After a cold winter when we often don’t have access to greens and fresh fruit, everyone is happy to taste something new. Make a fruit salad or bake them a cherry tart (try not to add that much sugar). Your child may not like all fruit, buy if you put them in a blender and add a spoon of ice cream, they’ll love a smoothie.
Fats and sugar
Even though kids need fat to grow healthy and develop their metabolism, too much fat can do more harm than good. Peanut butter is recommended in combination with whole grain bread and bananas, and limit servings to two slice as day. That should be enough to keep them energized. Fats are required because they help with the absorption of several essential vitamins, including vitamin D, E, A, and K. Omega-3 fats found in seeds, oily fish, and nuts are very important too, because they boost your child’s immune system – this way, as spring kicks in, your kids won’t get the common cold.
As far as sugar is concerned, we know it’s hard to keep kids away from the cookie counter. Biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, and sugary pastries are high in bad carbohydrates, which are low-quality fat that do nothing good to their bodies. It’s ok to reward them every once in a while, but don’t make a habit of offering your child sweets every day.
One of the best ways to convince the kids to eat healthier is to be their role model. The more you – their parent – eat fruits and veggies, the more eager they’ll become to try them. Supplementation may also be required to help open their appetite. But before giving them creatine mono or tasty gummy bears packed with vitamin C, consult with their pediatrician.