Child nutrition is similar to adult nutrition in the basic rules, as every body needs all nutrients; Such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, but there is a difference in the amount of food that children need from adults, and a difference in the needs for some nutrients, There are also several benefits accruing to the health of the child when eating healthy food, including:
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases; such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- Maintain healthy weights for children.
- Improving the intellectual abilities of children, and reducing the risk of developing some mental illnesses; such as depression, anxiety.
- Long-term habituation to a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy food for children
Diversification in the foods eaten is the key to obtaining healthy food for children. Because each type of food contains a specific mixture of nutrients that are beneficial to the health of the child, and children can obtain all their nutritional needs when they eat the following foods:
Children need protein to promote growth, improve tissue building, and reduce the risk of disease.
Examples of proteins are; seafood, meat, skinless poultry, eggs, and legumes; Like beans, peas, and chickpeas, as well as unsalted nuts and seeds.
It is worth noting that red meat is a good source of protein and iron, but it is high in fat and cholesterol, so it is preferable to eat it in moderation, and remove the fat from it before cooking it.
2.Cereals and Starches
It is preferable to choose whole grains; Such as whole wheat bread, oats, popcorn, quinoa, brown rice, and whole pasta, because they are a rich source of fiber, and reduce refined grain sources such as; White bread and white flour.
Starchy vegetables belong; Like potatoes, corn belongs to a group of starches and not to vegetables, so it must be eaten in moderation.
Fruits are a good source of fiber, which has many benefits for children, the most important of which is getting rid of constipation. Here are some points about fruits:
Fruits can be offered to children in various forms; Whether fresh, frozen, or canned, making sure that no sugar has been added to it.
It is preferable to stay away from fruit juices, and get the whole fruit, but if these juices are introduced, it is necessary to make sure that they are 100% natural, no sugar has been added to them, and the quantity does not exceed a small cup during the day.
It should be noted that it is necessary to be in moderation when eating dried fruits, as a quarter cup of dried fruit contains the same calories as one cup of fresh cut fruits.
There are many examples of non-starchy vegetables; Such as tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, okra, eggplant, broccoli, leafy vegetables such as molokhia, spinach, cucumber, and many other types that are a good source of fiber and various nutrients.
In the event that you choose frozen or canned vegetables, you must make sure that they are low in sodium, meaning that they do not contain added salt.
5.Milk and dairy products
Milk and its derivatives are prepared; Like milk and cheese, they are a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, but it is advised to eat them in moderation, so it is recommended to get 2-3 cups of milk or yogurt daily.
It must be noted that there are some types of dairy and milk that are flavored; Such as strawberry milk, and yogurt with fruits, and these usually contain sugar to which is added during the manufacturing process.
After the child reaches two years old, low-fat dairy products can be introduced; This is to reduce the amount of saturated fat that the child will eat.
It is necessary to ensure that water is obtained in sufficient quantities daily, and to avoid giving the child juices if he feels thirsty.
General tips for healthy food for children
Here are some general tips for feeding children:
Reducing the provision of unhealthy foods: such as fried potato chips, various sweets, and ready meals, but it is not recommended to completely remove them, but rather they can be served from time to time; So that the child does not feel deprived of it.
Reducing the provision of sugary drinks: such as soft drinks, juices, and offering water instead.
Reducing the serving of fried foods: adopting other cooking methods; Like grilling, steaming, and boiling.
Ensure that parents are role models for their children: Children often imitate their parents, so care must be taken to modify the diet, and to eat the previously mentioned food groups.
Avoid giving sweets as a reward: or if the child is crying or feeling sad, because this motivates the child to think that sweets will adjust his mood, and he will ask for them constantly.