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Nutrition: Instilling Healthier Eating Habits in Children

Food is the most basic form of sustenance that we need to carry out our daily tasks. Naturally, food isn’t just a source of energy but is also a source of nutrition that will help us grow in key skills and develop our immune system. Carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins are just some of the nutrients that our body needs in helping it grow.

But with the steady rise of the general population, the food industry and manufacturers have to produce food in large quantities to feed an ever-increasing population. With the sheer number of available options to parents and children, it can be overwhelming to most parents. With so many food sources claiming to be high in certain types of nutrients and vitamins, it’s harder to differentiate healthy and unhealthy foods. As most of us know, eating too much of a certain type of food can have detrimental effects on the body; children will explicitly need certain nutrients, especially when they are still growing.

In the United States, some of the most common nutrient deficiencies that have been hounding school children to come in the form of calcium, potassium, vitamin E, iron, and dilate deficiencies. Based on studies, some of the most common deficiencies that generally plague general populations of children are iron and vitamin D.

Most of the time, the symptoms of nutrient deficiencies are quite subtle and hard to discern for individuals who aren’t trained in such a field. But compared to other health complications, nutrient deficiencies are relatively easy to remedy. Maintaining a strict meal plan with healthy food is one of the best ways of addressing malnutrition.

So what are the different types of food that we should avoid? What are the ones that are considered healthy?

Child Nutrition

But before we can differentiate healthy and unhealthy food, we’ll need to attend to our children’s nutritional needs. As most of us know, they will need special needs. The World Health Organization would recommend infants being breastfed from six months to two years old. After a span of six months of being breastfed, food should be gradually introduced to children.

Common knowledge would suggest that having a balanced diet is the most optimal choice in children’s overall health since a healthy diet will often increase risk factors of health complications, universally.

Don’t Forget About Dental Hygiene

It’s important to remember that the good majority of parents are too fixated with preparing food and meal plans that they forget that their child will need attention to their personal hygiene. Hygiene-related diseases, such as tooth decay, fungal infections, and diarrhea, are often caused by poor eating habits.

But whether they are eating tender meat, chicken, pulpy fruits, and fibrous vegetables, there’s going to come to the point that food and debris will get stuck in their teeth. No matter what your child is eating, some types of food can easily get stuck on your teeth, especially food with a lot of fiber. Some of this debris can get stuck on your teeth and lead to tooth decay or problems with your gums. If this is the case, you might want to consider getting consultations from a licensed and professional dentist for children. Since children are still growing and don’t have the perfect set of teeth, they will need special dental care.

Healthy Food

In general, these types of food are universally accepted as being considered healthy:

  • High-protein food — Various protein sources are great ways of building up muscle mass while also having a sufficient amount of calories. Legumes, soy-based products, seeds, beans, lean meat, eggs, and peas are just ways to increase the number of macronutrients in the body.
  • Fruits — Even though fruits are not the most popular choice among children, they should be trained to eat fruits. Whether they are fresh, canned, or dried, they are great sources of calories without being too high in sugar.
  • Vegetables — Vegetables are teeming with minerals, fiber, and vitamins, which make them great sources of sustenance. Naturally, vegetables don’t necessarily have many calories, so you might have to complement them with other food types.
  • Grains — Grains are essential parts of a healthy diet since they comprise the child’s daily caloric needs. Wild rice, quinoa, bread, oatmeal, and even popcorn (unsalted and unsweetened) are great for giving your child the much-needed energy for the day.

Generally speaking, unhealthy food is known for being high in both salt and sugar. These types of food should be avoided since this can cause long-term health problems among children.

Although it doesn’t necessarily take a trained expert to determine what’s healthy and what isn’t, it’s still important to take into account the recommended caloric intake of your kids. Parents should also teach their children proper eating habits since most tend to overeat because there’s food on the table.

Your child’s eating behavior will determine many things in their adult behavior, so it’s only appropriate that they learn good eating habits at a young age. One good way of training babies and toddlers to like certain food types that they don’t like is by providing complementary types of food that they do like. Getting them used to the taste and overall texture at a young age is a great way of encouraging good eating habits.

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