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Monday, March 24, 2008

Healthy eating for your child

Eating habits play a big role in providing nutrition to your child, which helps them to stay healthy and fit. But what is a healthy menu and how we can help develop healthy habit among our children?

"Kaiser" is a non-profit organization providing health guidelines. It suggests "healthy eating" in these words:

As a parent:
Your job is to offer nutritious food choices at meals and snack times. You decide the what, where, and when of eating.
Your child's job is to choose how much he or she will eat of the foods you serve. Your child decides how much or even whether to eat.

Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods so that your child gets the nutrients (such as protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals) he or she needs for normal growth. If your child regularly eats a wide variety of basic foods, he or she will be well-nourished.

How much food is good for my child?
From birth until about 2 or 3 years old, children have an "internal hunger gauge" that signals how much food they need at a given time. Babies cry to let us know they're hungry. When they're full, they stop eating. Children continue this pattern as they grow—they eat as much or as little as their bodies need. But after the age of 2 or 3, this internal hunger gauge is also affected by other things. It is important to get your child to pay attention to the natural signs of hunger from his or her body.

It may worry you to see your child eat very little at a meal. Children tend to eat the same number of calories every day if they are allowed to eat in response to their internal hunger gauge. The pattern of calorie intake is different from day to day. One day a child may eat a big breakfast, a big lunch, and hardly any dinner. The next day this same child may eat very little at breakfast but may eat a lot at lunch and dinner. Don't expect your child to eat the same amount of food at every meal and snack each day.

How can I help my child eat well and be healthy?
Many parents worry that their child is either eating too much or too little. Perhaps your child only wants to eat one type of food—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, for instance. One way to help your child eat well and help you worry less is to know what your job is and what your child’s job is when it comes to eating. Some food experts call this the division of responsibility.1 If your child only wants to eat one type of food, he or she is doing the parent's job of deciding what food choices are. In the division of responsibility, it is the parent's job to decide what foods are offered.

How can you help to develop healthy eating habits?

You can help support your child's healthy eating habits and physical activity level by:

Eating together as a family as often as possible. Keep family meals pleasant and positive. Avoid making comments about the amount or type of food your child eats. Pressure to eat actually reduces children's acceptance of new or different foods.
Making healthy food choices for your family's meals. Children notice the choices you make and follow your example.
Setting limits on your child's daily television and computer time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a limit of 1 to 2 hours of screen time a day.2 Sit down with your child and plan out how he or she will use this time allowance.
Making physical activity a part of your family's daily life. Some ways to do this include walking your child to and from school, and teaching your child how to skip, hop, dance, play catch, jump rope, and ride a bike.

Taking a walk after dinner.
Taking your child to all recommended well-child checkups. You can use this time to discuss your child's growth rate, activity level, and eating habits with a doctor.

Source link: Healthy eating for children

To read more: Helping Your Child to Eat Well

* More resources and links page for health
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1 comment:

  1. This post really gives insight to all parents there about the importance of healthy eating habits. Thanks for sharing this.


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