How Significant is Good Nutrition for Kids?
“Eat Healthy Today for A Better Tomorrow”
Parents always want the best to happen for their children, and good nutrition is no exception. What your child eats today will have a lasting impact on their health tomorrow. This is because, eating healthy can enhance the growth and development of your child’s physical and mental capabilities, while also warding off potential health issues such as eating disorders, dental cavities, deficiencies, obesity and others.
Children are at a time in their life when they are constantly growing and learning new knowledge. The earlier your child gets used to eating nutritious foods, the better.
In order for children to grow properly, they must eat a well-balanced diet incorporating the following foods from these categories:
- Meat and its alternatives
- Cereals and bread
- Dairy products
Healthy food is key
Variety helps ensure good nutrioun from different sources
Many children and families today have busy schedules – making it difficult to sit down to homemade meals every day. A bad cycle of routinely feeding kids convenience and takeout food will result in an overall negative health. Some of the problems unhealthy eating causes can continue into adulthood. They can even develop into lifelong diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 25% of children aged between 2 and 18 are overweight. Obesity is a problem as it leads to major health issues such as heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, joint pain, high blood pressure and the like.
How to Nurture Healthy Eating in Children?
Incorporate the following effective tips to encourage healthy eating amongst your children:
- To fuel your body and keep it active through the day, eat 3 meals every day - breakfast, lunch, and Dinner. Also, have healthy snacks in between, perhaps one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This way, your child won't feel hungry until their next meal.
- Go easy on fatty and sugary foods such as soft drinks, potato chips, fried foods, lollipops, candies and more. Too much of it can only make your body unhealthy and gain weight.
- Make sure you provide a variety of foods that includes the aforementioned food categories on a daily basis. This will pave the way for a balanced diet delivering the essential vitamins, minerals, and energy for the body.
- Cultivate the habit of drinking sufficient amount of water every day. Keeping your child's body hydrated is the key to consistent health. For kids aged 9 to 13, 1.6 liters per day for boys and 1.4 liters per day for girls are ideal. And for children aged between 14 and 18, 1.9 liters per day for boys and 1.6 liters per day for girls are suggested.
Skipping Breakfast is a Complete No-No
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Research suggests that children who eat breakfast will do better in academics, and excel in almost every other skill. It also explains that children who have breakfast will possess improved problem-solving skills, verbal fluency, good memory, creativity and more. Children who do not eat breakfast are susceptible to emotional and behavioral problems alongside below-par academic performance.
So, while mornings can be quite hectic, try one of these for a healthy on-the-go breakfast:
· Egg sandwich on whole-wheat bread
· Greek yogurt and fruit
· Peanut butter on whole-grain toast
· Hardboiled eggs, toast, and an apple
Optimum Growth and Development
Vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, whole grains and more will help children to obtain as much nutrition as possible that is imperative for their optimum growth and development. Essential intake of vitamins and minerals is vital for your child to grow.
For instance, consumption of calcium-rich foods is inevitable for proper bone density and better bone growth. This will also reduce the chances of bone loss down the road. Simply put, the eating habits adopted by your child will determine the growth and health during adulthood.
Involve Your Child in Grocery Shopping
One of the awesome things that you can start early is to involve your child in grocery shopping. Teach them about different foods and let them know how to read food labels. This will help your child understand the options out there and make only healthy choices when it comes to food and nutrition.
They can also help fix meals and take some ownership of what they’re eating.
Have Sufficient Healthy Snacks Available at Home
When you stock sufficient amounts of fruits, vegetables, and beverages such as milk, water, and pure fruit juice, you will help your kids avoid unhealthy snacks, soft drinks and junk foods. Certainly, limit white sugar intake.
Consequences of Poor Nutrition in Children
If children consistently lack good nutrition, they will probably experience the following not-so-good consequences…
· If their daily diet doesn't meet the necessary nutritional requirements, they could suffer from hyperactivity disorder or lack of attention.
· Poor diet will bring down proper mental development. While this is not instantly noticeable, symptoms such as slow learning patterns, delayed speech and coordination indicate this very problem.
· Poor nutrition can only make things worse as it instigates other problems such as lack of concentration, poor eating habits, lack of memory, and bad cognitive abilities.
· Stunted growth is another effect of poor nutrition. In this case, certain internal body organs will not achieve proper development. Kidneys and liver will not sufficiently develop with age.
· Do you know that poor diet can lead to skin and hair problems as well? Anything that includes itching, allergy, skin rashes and sensitive skin can be related to poor diet in some way. Dandruff problems and premature greying of hair are also considered a consequence of poor diet.
· Improper dietary habits can also mean poor dental health. Eating junk and sugary foods more often will lead to the growth of bacteria and cavities. Make sure you bring down the consumption of junk food and soft drinks to keep your kids’ teeth and gums healthy, as well as to reduce the possibility of teeth staining.
Healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with you if you learn them as a child. Presenting delicious yet nutrition-rich foods in the plate accounts for better intelligence, refined lifestyle, and the natural ability of smart decision making. So, cultivate the habit of good nutrition in your children and help them avoid developing chronic diseases, as a child or as an adult.
Lastly, be a role model. Kids eat the way you eat. Follow these tips yourself, and your child will be more likely to eat that way too.
Healthy Eating at Kaban Montessori School
As we share this advice, we also walk the talk. In our school, for our Infant or Casa programs - we take nutrition very seriously. We ensure we post next current and next week's meal plan on our bulletin board. You can find it right in our office on and each day's nutritious meals are displayed for all parents to see. In addition to this, we provide healthy snacks and plenty of liquids (water and milk) throughout the day. We will continue this practice with the introduction of our new Elementary program starting September of this year :)