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Children's diets

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Just like adults, children need to eat a wide variety of foods. Every 5 years, the U.S. Government releases a set of guidelines on healthy eating. The guidelines suggest balancing calories with …

Just like adults, children need to eat a wide variety of foods. Every 5 years, the U.S. Government releases a set of guidelines on healthy eating. The guidelines suggest balancing calories with physical activity. The guidelines also recommend improving eating habits to promote health, reduce the risk of disease, and reduce overweight and obesity.


The guidelines encourage Americans ages 2 years and older to eat a variety of healthy foods. Suggested items include the following:

-- Fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, and whole grains

-- Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products

-- Lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, soy products, and eggs

The guidelines also suggest reducing salt (sodium), refined grains, added sugars, and solid fats (like lard, butter, and margarine). Added sugars and solid fats often occur in pizzas, sodas, sugar-sweetened drinks, desserts like cookies or cake, and fast foods. These foods are the main sources of high fat and sugar among children and teens.


Another important guideline is to make sure your children eat breakfast to spark the energy they need to focus in school. Not eating breakfast is often linked to overweight and obesity, especially in children and teens.


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  • 1. http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=413Fitango EducationHealth TopicsChildrens diets
  • 2. 1OverviewJust like adults, children need to eat a wide varietyof foods. Every 5 years, the U.S. Governmentreleases a set of guidelines on healthy eating. Theguidelines suggest balancing calories with physicalactivity. The guidelines also recommend improvingeating habits to promote health, reduce the risk ofdisease, and reduce overweight and obesity.
  • 3. 2OverviewThe guidelines encourage Americans ages 2 yearsand older to eat a variety of healthy foods.Suggested items include the following:-- Fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, andwhole grains-- Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • 4. 3Overview-- Lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas,soy products, and eggsThe guidelines also suggest reducing salt (sodium),refined grains, added sugars, and solid fats (likelard, butter, and margarine). Added sugars andsolid fats often occur in pizzas, sodas, sugar-sweetened drinks, desserts like cookies or cake,and fast foods. These foods are the main sourcesof high fat and sugar among children and teens.
  • 5. 4OverviewAnother important guideline is to make sure yourchildren eat breakfast to spark the energy theyneed to focus in school. Not eating breakfast isoften linked to overweight and obesity, especiallyin children and teens.
  • 6. 5Healthier Eating**Use less fat, salt, and sugar**-- Cook with fewer solid fats. Use olive or canola oilinstead of butter or margarine. Bake or roastinstead of frying. You can get a crunchy texturewith "oven-frying" recipes that involve little or nooil.
  • 7. 6Healthier Eating**Use less fat, salt, and sugar**-- Choose and prepare foods with less salt. Keepthe salt shaker off the table. Have fruits andvegetables on hand for snacks instead of saltysnacks like chips.-- Limit the amount of sugar your child eats.Choose cereals with low sugar or with dried fruitsas the source of sugar.
  • 8. 7Healthier Eating**Reshape the plate**-- Make half of what is on your childs plate fruitsand vegetables.-- Avoid oversized portions.
  • 9. 8Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Serve water or low-fat or fat-free milk moreoften as the drink of first choice.-- Reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened sodasand fruit-flavored drinks that your child drinks.
  • 10. 9Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Offer fresh fruit, which has more fiber than juice,more often than 100% fruit juice.**Offer healthy snacks**-- Try to keep healthy food in the house for snacksand meals for the whole family.
  • 11. 10Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Offer such snacks as slicedapples, oranges, pears, and celery sticks. Or trywhole-grain bread served with low-fatcheese, peanut butter, or soynut butter.-- Give your children a healthy snack or two inaddition to their three daily meals to keep themenergized.
  • 12. 11Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Read nutrition labels. Some foods, like snackbars, are not as healthy as they seem.**Limit fast food**-- Order a side fruit bowl or salad instead of fries.-- Ask for sandwiches to be prepared withoutsauce.
  • 13. 12Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Order "small." Avoid super-sizing.**Share food time as family time**-- Eat sit-down, family meals together and serveeveryone the same thing.-- Involve your children in planning and preparingmeals. Children may be more willing to eat thedishes they help prepare.
  • 14. 13Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Try to limit how much you eat out to control thecalories, salt, and fat your children eat. To servemore homemade meals, cook large batches ofsoup, stew, or casseroles and freeze them as a timesaver.-- Limit eating at home to specific areas such as thekitchen or dining room.
  • 15. 14Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Involve your children in planning and preparingmeals. Children may be more willing to eat thedishes they help prepare.-- Try to limit how much you eat out to control thecalories, salt, and fat your children eat. To servemore homemade meals, cook large batches ofsoup, stew, or casseroles and freeze them as a timesaver.
  • 16. 15Healthier Eating**Think about the drink**-- Limit eating at home to specific areas such as thekitchen or dining room.
  • 17. 16Forming Healthy HabitsParents play a big part in shaping childrens habitson eating and physical activity. When parents eatfoods that are lower in fat and added sugars andhigh in fiber, children learn to like these foods aswell. If your child does not like a new food rightaway, dont be upset. Children often need to see anew food many times before they will try it.
  • 18. 17Forming Healthy HabitsParents have an effect on childrens physicalactivity habits as well. See the end of this brochurefor resources that can help you and your child.Continue reading to learn about specific actionsyou can take to help your child develop healthyhabits.**Be a role model**
  • 19. 18Forming Healthy HabitsA powerful example for your child is to be activeyourself. You can set a good example by going for awalk or bike ride instead of watching TV, playing avideo game, or surfing the Internet. Playing ball orjumping rope with your children shows them thatbeing active is fun.**Talk about being healthy**
  • 20. 19Forming Healthy HabitsTake the time to talk to your children about how acertain food or physical activity may help them. Forexample, when going for your daily walk, bringyour children with you and let them pick the route.Discuss how walking helps you feel better and is afun way to spend time together. It also offsetscalories eaten and inactive time spent in front ofTV screens or computers.
  • 21. 20Forming Healthy HabitsUse your childrens food choices as teachingmoments. Speak up when you see unhealthyeating habits. Direct children to healthier optionsor say, "You can have a little of that, but not toomuch." Talk to them about why an overly salty orheavily sugared snack is not the best choice.You can also praise your children when theychoose a healthy item like fruit or yogurt. Usecomments like these:
  • 22. 21Forming Healthy Habits-- "Great choice!"-- "Youre giving your body what it needs with thatsnack!"-- "I like those too."With physical activity, try upbeat phrases like theseto keep your child excited:
  • 23. 22Forming Healthy Habits-- "You run so fast, I can hardly keep up!"-- "You are building a strong, healthy heart!"-- "Lets walk 10 more minutes to make usstronger."
  • 24. 23Forming Healthy Habits**Believe in the power to change**Know that eating healthy and moving more are thebasics of being fit. Work together as a family toform healthy habits.
  • 25. 24Forming Healthy Habits**Promote good health beyond your family**Other adults may play a role in your childs life,too. You can share ideas about healthy habits withthem.
  • 26. 25Forming Healthy Habits**Promote good health beyond your family**For instance, many parents work outside the homeand need other adults to help with child care.Caregivers like other family members, day careproviders, babysitters, or friends may shape yourchilds eating and activity habits. Talk to yourchilds caregivers to make sure they offer healthysnacks and meals. Check that caregivers are alsoproviding plenty of active playtime and limitingtime with TV or inactive video games.
  • 27. 26Forming Healthy Habits**Promote good health beyond your family**If your child is in school, you can help promotehealthy eating and physical activity in several otherways:-- Find out more about the schools breakfast andlunch programs. Ask for input on menu choices.-- Support physical education and after-schoolsports at your childs school.
  • 28. 27Forming Healthy Habits**Promote good health beyond your family**-- Take turns with other parents watching yourchildren play outside.**Consider other influences**
  • 29. 28Forming Healthy Habits**Promote good health beyond your family**Your childrens friends and the media can alsoaffect eating and activity choices. Children maychoose to go to fast food places or play videogames with their friends instead of playing tag orother active games. TV ads try to persuadechildren to eat high-fat foods and sugary drinks.You can teach your children to be aware of thesepressures.
  • 30. 29Forming Healthy Habits**Promote good health beyond your family**To do so, speak with your children about choiceswhile you watch TV and surf the Internet withthem. Talk about how media outlets sell productsor values through famous football or basketballplayers, cartoon figures, and made-up images. Useprograms and ads to spark chats about yourvalues. These talks may help your child makehealthy choices outside the home.