To begin, your child does not need to follow a diet. After all, they are just kids. When I use the word diet, I am not referring to a regimen, but rather your child’s general food intake. That being said, there are certain nutrients that you should try to make sure your child has daily. We’ll begin with one that I’m sure you are familiar with.
Protein is critical at any age, but especially when a child is still developing. According to parents.com, “Protein helps a child’s body build cells, break down food into energy, fight infection, and carry oxygen.” Some popular and healthy protein options include:
Fats often have a negative connotation because many people associate them with being fat. While this may be true for some fats, not all fats are bad! Eating the right fats can be a great source of energy and help the body easily store nutrients. According to mayoclinic.com, eating proper fats can also reduce blood cholesterol levels. So what kind of fats should you be feeding your child? Below are some great choices.
- Olive oils
According to an article from eatingwell.com, “constipation is one of the most common G.I. complaints in the United States.” Fiber helps to regulate a child’s bowel regularity and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Fiber is often overlooked, but below are some high-in-fiber choices that you can add to your child’s diet.
- Kidney beans
- Whole-grain products
Carbs are not the enemy! There are many misconceptions surrounding carbs, but ultimately, carbohydrates are your body’s most important source of energy. Beyond providing energy, they help your body use the rest of its nutrients to build and repair tissue. So believe me, feeding your child carbohydrates is fine. The key is minimizing carbs from sugar, and maximizing carbs from starch and fiber. Below are a few examples of nutrient-dense carbohydrates.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is incredibly beneficial for the human body. Beyond strengthening its immune system, “it also holds the body’s cells together, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, helps the body heal wounds, and is important for building strong bones and teeth.” (Parents.com). Vitamin C can be easily incorporated into any diet with fruits, vegetables, and more. Below are some great foods that are high in vitamin C.
Getting a child to want to eat anything besides candy and cereal can be difficult, but it’s important to make sure their body is getting the proper nutrients early on.
Beyond helping their bodies develop, it will build good nutritional habits for them later in life.
So, is it okay to let your child enjoy some junk food? Absolutely. Just try to remember to fit these 5 nutrients into your child’s daily diet. You’ll both be glad you did.
For more information from Player’s Health regarding nutrition, check out this article!