What children eat is crucial for their proper development, physical condition and immunity. Unfortunately the diet of most children leaves much to be desired. It has too many empty calories and not enough vegetables and fruit. It may happen that a child whose diet is incorrect at the same time has problems with overweight, but his body receives too little building components for proper development. So what should the proper diet of our children look like?
Do not force your child to eat
Forcing children to eat larger portions is a mistake often made by parents. Sometimes this is caused by a simple comparison of the portions a child eats with the adult portion. However, such comparisons can be deceptive and portions that a child should eat are difficult to compare with portions of adults, which are naturally larger. Forcing your child to eat creates also a danger that your kid will begin to associate eating with something unpleasant, with punishment. In this situation, the child’s nutritional problems may only increase.
Read more: Eating Disorders in Children
Get rid of junk food (fast food)
The terms “fast food” and “junk food” are often used interchangeably. These are foods with high sugar, fat or salt content and low nutritional value in terms of protein, vitamins and minerals. This type of food is responsible for obesity, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, many of our children enjoy eating such food. Despite this, the first step to change your child’s eating habits for the better should be discontinuing junk food. It is worth explaining to the child why they should not eat this type of products – how they affect their development during their childhood and by shaping their eating habits for life also on their health in the future. As a method for giving up junk food try preparing food with your kid using healthy products, explaining at the same time what is the difference between healthy and junk food and showing your kid that healthy food can also be tasty. It is also important that a parent should set a good example and eat healthy himself.
A healthy eating for kids should be varied
Encouraging children to eat a nutritious, balanced diet early is important for a number of reasons. Providing them with the right vitamins and minerals in their diet will help them grow and develop their ability to learn. Teaching your child how to eat healthy in childhood will also help them make the right food choices during puberty and adulthood.
The optimal diet for a child should contain the right proportions of proteins, fats and carbohydrates:
- Proteins are necessary for a child to grow and should cover 15-20% of the daily calories. It should be noted that only complete proteins contain an adequate proportion of each of the nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet, which ensures the proper development of the child. Animal proteins are complete proteins (e.g. in eggs, meat, poultry, fish, cheese and milk) and only few vegetable proteins are (e.g. contained in amaranth, quinoa, algae) complete proteins. Proteins from vegetables, bread and other cereal products are not complete.
- Fats should not cover more than 30% of daily caloric demand. This is especially true for animal fat, because it increases the amount of cholesterol in blood. To reduce the proportion of animal fat in a child’s diet, prepare more cooked and stewed foods, and use vegetable fats for frying.
- Carbohydrates should constitute no more than 50-55% of the daily calories. Polysaccharides from vegetables, fruits, coarse bread, are preferred over monosaccharides that are used in popular candies and beverages. Therefore, the child should eat as much vegetables and fruits as possible. However, all kinds of cookies, sweets and sweetened drinks should be limited. In addition to the fact that they are not a desirable part of the diet, they also cause a feeling of satiety and if the child eats too much of them, he will be less willing to eat full-fledged meals.
Choosing a diet
The diet should be selected according to the child’s age, health, weight, food preferences, etc. The dietitian can help in choosing a diet. He will prepare an example menu (bearing in mind the skills of the person preparing meals) and determine what products to buy and which to avoid.
Read more: Dietician Warsaw