Nutritional Eating Habits for Children
The previous post showed the relationship children are learning to have with food in the United States. Children are learning about overconsumption and big portion sizes as the norm. But, altering behaviors can have an affects on the obesity epidemic. In the United States there is a wide variety of food to choose from, so children need to learn to make the right choices for proper nutritional benefits (Wardlaw et al., 17).
Children should be ingesting foods that come from the six main food groups each day. The major food groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, and oils (Wardlaw et al., 37). When choosing foods it is best if they have phytochemicals, which are “substances that have significant health benefits” (Wardlaw et al., 37). Examples of foods that have phytochemicals are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (Wardlaw et al., 37). Children’s diets need to have the addition of fruits and vegetables which are filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These come naturally and are good for the health of the child now and in the future (“Fruits and Vegetables”). Depending on the age of a child the serving sizes differ between the food group daily intake (“Fruits and Vegetables”) Children need to learn how much should be eaten. And learn to eat until they are full and not any more. One way to avoid overconsumption is to plan out their meals (Wardlaw et al., 38). By knowing exactly what they are going to eat for the day, it will limit their freedom of being able to choose what they want to eat. So, instead of eating processed, high fat foods that are not nutrient dense, they will be able to have a plate of fruits or vegetables that will be low in fat and calories and fill them up just the same as other foods (“Fruits and Vegetables”).
Children need to make healthy decisions when eating. They should have a healthy eating plan which has variety, balance, and in moderation (Wardlaw et al., 39). Children are going to get bored if they are told they must eat the same thing over again, so by finding a variety of healthy foods it will make eating more enjoyable to eat. When eating, one should find a balance of food from the different food groups. Each of the food groups help to supply nutrients to the body and are important to maintain a balance in the body. A very important idea that a child needs to learn is eating in moderation. Eliminating unhealthy food is not realistic, but choosing some healthy options is possible. If they are going to choose something not healthy they should only have a little because of the lack of nutritional benefits. Eating habits are a personal choice made by the child and they need to make it a norm to want to eat healthy. Having good eating habits will give them a more pleasurable life than if they are eating unhealthy foods. They next post will explore exercising habits within children’s lifestyle.
“Fruits and Vegetables.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.gov, 12 September
2013. Web. 2 November 2013.
Wardlaw, Gordon M., Anne M. Smith, and Alice K. Lindeman. “Contemporary Nutrition: A
Functional Approach.” New York: McGraw Hill. 2012. Print.