Food gives our children the fuel they need to learn, grow and lead healthy, active lifestyles. But, every parent knows how hard it can be to encourage kids, especially those picky eaters, to eat nutritiously. This National Nutrition Month, Kids for the Future is sharing six simple ways you can promote healthy eating at home:
- Add whole fruits: Add fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits into your child’s snacks and meals for at least 1 cup of whole fruit per day. Try to limit their fruit juice consumption to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
- Switch up the veggies: Incorporate at least 1 to 1.5 cups of different veggies into your kid’s meals each day. You can choose from dark-green (i.e., kale, spinach), red and orange (i.e., carrots, tomatoes), legumes (i.e., beans, peas) or starchy (i.e., corn, yams) vegetables.
- Pick whole over refined, enriched grains: Children should eat approximately 3-4 ounces of whole grains per day. Unlike refined grains, whole grains include protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants and other minerals that benefit our children’s health.
- Diversify your proteins: Vary your children’s protein intake between animal (seafood, meat poultry, eggs) and plant (nuts, beans, peas) sources for at least 2 to 3 ounces total per day.
- Opt low-fat or fat-free dairy products: Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or soymilk for a total of 2 to 2.5 cups per day. Please note that if your child is under the age of two, they should drink whole milk.
- Watch out for saturated fat, sodium and added sugars: Cut back on saturated fat, sodium and added sugars by choosing fresh foods over processed foods and beverages such as soda. Always read nutrition labels!
Remember, the appropriate serving size for children is about one-half of an adult serving size—or approximately 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day. If your child has texture, sensory or other issues affecting their nutrition, our therapists are always happy to help!