The Key to a Balanced Diet for Kids

The Key to a Balanced Diet for Kids

Ana Gurrola, Healthy Living Promotora and Leda Tello, Dietitian/Nutritionist

 

Eating a balanced diet is important for everyone, but it is especially critical for children. A variety of nutrients are necessary for growing bodies and developing brains to function effectively. In order to meet a child's nutritional needs, a balanced diet must contain a range of foods from all food categories in reasonable portions. We'll talk about how to give kids a balanced diet in this blog.

1.  Include a variety of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are essential sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and should make up a significant portion of a child's diet. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Include a variety of colors, such as green leafy vegetables, orange and yellow fruits, and red and purple berries.

2.  Choose whole grains

Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which is important for maintaining digestive health. Choose whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, and rice instead of refined grains. Whole grains also provide important nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, and zinc.

3.  Include lean protein sources

Protein is essential for growth and repair of body tissues, as well as for immune function. Choose lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish, beans, and tofu. Limit processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats, which are high in sodium and saturated fat.

4.  Limit added sugars and salt

Consuming too much added sugar can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. Avoid added sugars for infants and toddlers and limit it for children ages 2 – 18 to less than 25 grams (six teaspoons) per day. Avoid sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks, and fruit juice. Instead, offer water, milk, or unsweetened beverages. Limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day (even less if younger than 14) to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

5. Encourage healthy fats

Fats are essential for brain development and hormone production. Choose healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon. Limit saturated and trans fats, found in fried foods and baked goods.

6. Model healthy eating habits

Parents play a critical role in shaping their child's eating habits. Set a good example by eating a variety of healthy foods yourself. Offer a variety of healthy options and allow your child to choose what they want to eat. Don't force them to clean their plate or use food as a reward or punishment.

A balanced diet for children is one that restricts added sugars and salt and contains a range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. Little children can build lifetime healthy habits and avoid chronic diseases by being encouraged to eat healthily.

Nutrition Classes at LBU

Here at LBU we teach a monthly nutrition class for parents, Healthy Living for Kids. In this Zoom class, we will learn about the importance of nutrition and how it helps our bodies grow, develop, and stay healthy.

For more information, please contact:

Ana Gurrola - CHW
Asthma and Healthy Living Promotora
(214) 540-0303 ext. 2315

Leda Tello – RDN, LD, CDCES
Dietitian/Nutritionist
(214) 540-0303