The Daily Parent
                              A            NEWSLETTER                                                    ...
Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices

Health, a good guideline for what toddlers                       4. Iron: Foun...
Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices
                                                                 Try these idea...
Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices

not only a good way of sharing food, but                     w	 Sesame Street ...
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Daily parent nutrition

  1. 1. The Daily Parent A NEWSLETTER FOR WORKING PARENTS DeliCious anD nutritious: Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices t oday, we know and amounts of food children understand the and adults should have importance of a each day as part of a healthy diet. Even fast ‘healthy’ food balance. The food restaurants that once food pyramid is divided offered only fried and fatty into six food groups: foods, now include healthier grains, vegetables, fruits, selections on their menus, milk, meat and beans, and such as fruits, raisins, oils. The amounts and salads, and milk as well. portion servings are based on your age. The pyramid Healthy (and not so model has undergone healthy) eating habits begin in childhood. changes over the past few years to include Parents who serve nutritious foods are more variety in the amounts and types of also teaching their children to make good foods suggested for a healthy diet. It also food choices now and in the future. Young takes into account that different cultures children who start off eating the “right” have different kinds of foods that are also foods can avoid long-term health problems, part of a healthy diet. such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity later in life. So, what The food groups and examples of food are the right foods and how much of them in each group should children eat? Grains: bread, cereal, crackers, pasta Vegetables: spinach, carrots, green beans, A Balanced Diet cucumbers You may have heard of the food pyramid. Fruits: apples, berries, oranges, bananas The pyramid is a guideline for the types and Milk: cheese, milk, yogurt in this issue Meat & Beans: chicken, beans, peanut butter, eggs The Nutrient Mix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 What about Babies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Oils: butter, oil, some nuts Junk Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Once your child is around 2 years or so, Children are Often Picky Eaters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 he will be eating from most of the food Spicing it Up: Fun Nutritious Meals groups. As he grows older, his food groups for Your Child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 and choices will grow. According to Kids For More Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 issue no. 62
  2. 2. Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices Health, a good guideline for what toddlers 4. Iron: Found in iron-fortified cereals, should eat each day is: spinach and other leafy green vegetables, and red meat—toddlers u servings of grains (a serving is 1/2 slice 3 should eat around 7 mg/day. of bread, or a few tablespoons of rice, pasta, or infant cereal) u servings of dairy (a serving is a cup of milk 2 What about Babies? or yogurt, 1-1/2 oz of cheese) For the first year of life, your baby will u servings of protein (a serving is 1-2 tbsp 2 mostly get the nutrients and calories of meat, one egg) needed from milk—either breast milk or formula. At about 6 months, you can start u servings of fruit (a serving is 2-4 tbsp) 2 feeding him iron-fortified infant cereal, u servings of vegetables (a serving is 3 fruits and vegetables in small amounts, 2-4 tbsp cooked) but make sure the food is soft and mushy and can be eaten without much chewing. Don’t worry if your toddler doesn’t eat the same amount every day, or doesn’t Once your baby is 9 or 10 months old, you eat this much—every child is different. If can feed her small amounts of meat and you do have any concerns, talk to your grains. Talk to your pediatrician to find child’s doctor. out exactly how much you should feed her. At around age 1, you can transition Of course as your child grows, she will eat your baby from breast milk or formula to more. Speak with your pediatrician to learn cow’s milk. (Note: some babies are allergic about the recommended amounts of food to cow’s milk. If your baby seems fussy for your child’s age, or find out more from after drinking cow’s milk or shows other the resources section at the end this issue. symptoms, talk to your doctor.) The Nutrient Mix Offer these healthy alternatives as snacks One of the reasons it’s important to follow If your child likes . . . Try . . . the food pyramid is because many foods u ilk or a fruit juice with no sugar M include key nutrients. Four key nutrients Soda added your child should eat are: Chips u Chopped up veggies or other celery 1. Protein: found in milk, meat, eggs, and beans—toddlers and preschoolers u elon slices, kiwi, tangerines, M should eat around .5 grams per pound or other fruits of body weight; Candy u Nuts (if your child is older) u Cheese 2. Fiber: Found in fruits and vegetables— 6-8 grams/day; 3. Calcium: Found in milk, cheese, leafy Junk Food green vegetables, fish and other Some foods are nutrient-rich and have the sources—children need 500 mg/day, necessary vitamins and materials we need which is usually fulfilled by eating to maintain our health. But “junk foods” two servings of dairy; and such as chips, candy, sweets, and soda are page 2
  3. 3. Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices Try these ideas for making mealtimes a bit more creative: not nutritious. These types of foods (that u oast with a Face: Use cream cheese, slices of T we all seem to love) are “empty calories.” strawberry, blueberries and other fruits to draw Breakfast a face on toasted bread. Some of these in a normal diet are okay, u Breakfast Smoothie: Blend low-fat yogurt occasionally. However, it’s a good idea to with fruit to make a tasty, drinkable breakfast. try to limit your child’s consumption of these foods. u Silly Sandwiches: Use cookie cutters to make sandwiches in fun shapes. Lunch u old-cut Roll Ups: Instead of a sandwich, take C Children are Often lunch meat, cheese slices, and a tortilla and roll them up together. Picky Eaters u ini Pizzas: Use the usual ingredients and M Even if you have the best ideas in mind, toppings, but a bagel for the crust. your child still might not want eat all the Dinner u reakfast for Dinner: Serve waffles or omelets at B healthy food choices you serve. In fact, dinner time. most toddlers are “picky eaters”—they don’t automatically like new food. u nts on a Log: Celery with peanut butter A and raisins. Here are some strategies for how to deal Snack u rozen Juice Popsicles: Freeze no-sugar added F with picky eaters: natural juice in ice-cube containers, add toothpicks or popsicle sticks. w If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again: Children don’t always like foods the first time. In fact, some children may need to try a food Spicing it Up: Fun, 10 or 15 times before they will enjoy it. And, no one likes every food. Nutritious Meals for w ick the right portion: For a new food, a P Your Child little bite or two is enough. There’s no need We all have to eat, but there are no rules to expect your child to dig right into a whole that say we always have to eat the same helping of spinach the first time. things the same way. Experiment with w on’t bribe them: If you tell your child that D food and make it fun. Have your child help she can have a cookie if she finishes the you prepare food. The more involved they broccoli, it will only reinforce the idea that are in preparing food, the more likely they broccoli is bad, and cookies are good. will want to eat it. w Offer a choice: Let your child choose from a Eating nutritious foods will help your selection of healthy foods you have available. child’s overall development – of course For instance, offer her a choice between carrots and corn for her vegetable. physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Good, healthy foods help children w on’t force it: If your child doesn’t want D to think better, have more energy and to eat the food, don’t make him eat it. sleep better as well. It does the same for Sometimes you won’t win, and that’s okay. adults. We all feel better when we eat w e a good role model: If your child sees you B better. Your child watches everything you eating different healthy foods, she will model do, so when you eat healthy foods, she will your behavior. If possible, try to get the family want to as well. to eat together at mealtimes. Make eating healthy a family tradition. Try eating meals as a family, even if it is only once a day. Having your meals together is page
  4. 4. Helping Children Make Healthy Food Choices not only a good way of sharing food, but w Sesame Street Workshop’s Healthy Habits it’s a good way to build relationships with Resource Kit, your children. healthyhabits, is designed for child care providers to help them integrate nutrition and physical activity into their programs. For More Information: The Sesame Street Workshop page also features research-based articles and tips on w earn about the United States’ Department L children’s nutrition and recipes. of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid at http://www. Children with experience w The American Academy of Pediatrics, on the internet can also visit http://www., has for an a section on their parenting corner pages on interactive game on the food pyramid. nutrition for children. A variety of topics is covered from how to feed a difficult child to w KidsHealth,, provides information on breastfeeding. doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence. Created by The Nemours Foundation’s Center for Children’s Health The Daily Parent is prepared by NACCRRA, The National Association of Child Care Resource Referral Agencies, Media, KidsHealth provides families with with funding from the Citi Foundation, New York, New York. accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health © 2008 NACCRRA. All Rights Reserved. #468-0606 information they can use, including nutrition information for young children. page