Nutrition is key for kids at every stage of development, from infancy to adulthood. The brain needs the right nutrition to function properly, and the heart needs the right foods to stay healthy.
Child nutrition needs are constantly changing as kids grow older, and they need more of certain nutrients during growth spurts like puberty. If children don’t eat the right foods, it can have short- and long-term effects on their health.
Food is essential for children – it provides them with the energy and nutrients they need to develop and grow. Poor nutrition can have a negative impact on children’s physical, mental and behavioral health. Eating habits developed in childhood can also affect a person’s health in adulthood.
When a child does not eat a nutritious diet, it can negatively affect his or her ability to learn and succeed in school. Additionally, poor nutrition can lead to social problems such as difficulty communicating and interacting with peers. Additionally, a child who does not eat right may have stunted growth and poor ability in sports or group activities.
A poor diet can lead to a weakened immune system in children and make it harder for them to fight off illnesses. Another danger with children and nutrition is forcing them to follow extreme diets.
Any diet that completely removes any food group is dangerous. Diets that are bad for children include those that are too high in fiber, fad diets, low dairy diets, and low fat or low-carb diets.
If you want your child to be healthy and thrive, you need to focus on their nutritional needs specifically, and not try to feed them a diet that would work for an adult. Make sure to give them balanced meals with the correct servings from the five food groups, as well as healthy snacks and plenty of opportunities to get up and move around.
It can be tough to get kids to want to eat healthy foods, but one way to get around that is to limit the foods offered to your child to mostly healthy choices.
Eating breakfast helps kids pay attention in school, and it also helps with memory and cognitive skills. Breakfast helps prevent irritability and lethargy. Kids who eat a poor breakfast or skip it altogether are more at risk for weight struggles.
If you don’t want meal time to turn into a power struggle, it’s important to offer your child choices. And to avoid boring them, get creative with shapes, colors and fun dishes. You can sneak vegetables into casseroles, soups and blended fruit drinks or cereal.