Worried about the healthy diet of your children? We tell you all about healthy food for children, proper child food and nutrition!
Childhood is the period of human life characterized by rapid growth and development in which the healthy food for kids plays a very important role both physically and emotionally.
This worries not only moms, but everyone involved in caring for children.
Below we try to solve the most frequent doubts on this subject and we hope that they will help you to promote them Healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
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Healthy food for kids
Is it normal for my 4-year-old to eat “well” some days and “bad” others?
Yes, don’t worry if your child’s appetite varies from day to day or from one meal to the next.
Children’s appetite usually decreases by the first year of age and changes depending on whether they are in a period of slow or rapid growth, what activities they do, if they feel tired, how familiar they are food or if it is giving a “stretch”.
When the child does not want to eat, do not scold or force him, remove the plate from the table and offer him food in the next hour, he will surely be hungry enough to enjoy it.
But if your child is reluctant to eat a snack for more than two days, find out why and make the necessary changes (maybe he did not like that you mixed the food in the same plate or the temperature is not suitable for him).
How much food should a child eat?
For moms, their little one’s appetite is a reliable guide to the amount of food they need for their development and to meet their energy and nutrient requirements; These vary according to your age, gender, height, weight, and how much physical activity you do.
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However, there are general guidelines that are helpful:
Children under 6 years of age cannot eat the same amount as older children (7 years and older) or adults because their stomach is much smaller and because they need fewer calories.
A simple formula to know the amount of food you should offer them is 1 teaspoon of each food or dish that you prepare for each year of life.
For example, a 2-year-old should be served 2 teaspoons of cooked and finely chopped chayote, 2 teaspoons of rice, and 2 teaspoons of picadillo, and so on.
Learn the food groups
Knowing them you can plan varied, healthy and balanced menus for the whole family, not just for your children.
In the table below we exemplify the number of food servings from each group that children of different ages should consume every day.
How much milk should a child drink?
Since milk is a source of calcium and provides energy, it is recommended that children under 5 years of age drink 1 to 2 glasses daily; but if they don’t like it, you can change it for a glass of yogurt a day.
However, try to diversify your meals to ensure optimal growth and development; It is not healthy for you to replace foods that a 1-year-old can already consume, with just an extra glass of milk.
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How does it affect that they eat after hours?
The fact that children do not have a stable meal routine promotes obesity and becomes a bad habit. Remember that eating habits are formed in childhood that will last a lifetime.
The type of food you offer your children is as important as where and how you do it. Serving meals at regular times will allow you to know with certainty the amount of food your child is consuming and you will be able to tell if there is any change in his appetite that requires more attention and even a visit to the pediatrician.
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How do I know if my child is growing normally?
Make sure their weight and height are appropriate for their age. Every boy is different and has genetically determined growth potential.
The following table shows the average weight and height for children ages 1 to 6.
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My child does not eat vegetables, what can I do? (Healthy food for kids)
Try to present them in an attractive way, use your imagination when preparing them:
- Children prefer raw vegetables with a crunchy consistency such as cucumber, jicama, lettuce, tomato and carrot with lemon. Do not offer them overcooked or beaten.
- Creams are another option that children accept very well; Add pieces of the cheese of your choice or cookies.
- Shape vegetables with metal cookie cutters (hearts, shamrocks, flowers, etc.).
- Use play and imagination: a tomato slice can become a clown with lettuce hair, put two carrot slices as eyes, an olive will be the nose and draw a mayonnaise line as a mouth. Invite him to decorate his plate himself.
- Name the dishes with funny nicknames. In one study, applying this technique was shown to make preschool-age children ask for more vegetables; for example, “carrots with x-ray vision”, “alphabet soup”, “pumpkin baskets”, and so on.
- Accompany them with nutritious sauces or dressings made with low-fat cream or yogurt, homemade vinaigrettes, or just salt and lemon.
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Should I require you to try new foods?
It is common for children to reject any food they do not know without even having tried it, but for no reason should you force it.
Take these ideas to convince him to do it himself:
- Show him one at a time and in small amounts.
- Accompany it with something that you already know and like.
- Offer the new food at the beginning of the meal and serve it for 2 to 3 days.
- Give him a taste of foods even if you don’t like them. Lead by example, if you want him to eat vegetables, you have to do it at the same time.
- Be patient, learning to accept new foods may take several tries.
- Don’t insist on serving them when your child is tired, irritable, or feeling ill.
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To what extent should I control his consumption of sweets and sweets? (healthy food for children)
Remember that food satisfies physiological and emotional hunger. Your example and behavior in front of food will be assimilated by your children.
Don’t teach them to manage their emotions through food, and never use treats to defuse a tantrum or as a treat.
Avoid applying the punishment of leaving them without dessert since you will be giving too much power to this type of food and later it will be difficult to make them change their behavior.
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In the daily diet of children, it includes mostly complex carbohydrates (cereals, fruits, vegetables, whole wheat breads, rice, granola, pasta, legumes, tortillas, potatoes and corn); But don’t fill them with empty calories from simple sugars like soda, candy, gum, chocolates, and industrial cupcakes.
Have on hand healthy snacks that children can eat during the day: natural popcorn, fresh fruits and vegetables (apple, jicama, cucumber, carrot, pineapple), yogurt, popsicles and natural fruit smoothies, raisins, dried apricots, nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds), alegrías, cookies, toast sandwiches with peanut butter, cheese or tuna.
However, in special situations such as weekends, holidays or parties, allow your children to enjoy the treats without exaggeration and within a healthy and balanced diet.
How can I help my child do better in school?
First of all, don’t forget about breakfast. Several studies show that children who “skip” the first meal of the day perform worse on academic tests than those who take the time to do so.
The beneficial effects of breakfast are due to the fact that it increases blood glucose levels, which in turn activates a neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) that is related to memory. Eating breakfast helps to optimize mental activity throughout the morning.
Among the foods that motivate the concentration and memory of children are: chicken, fish, almonds, peanuts, lentils, chickpea, soy, milk, cheese, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, sesame, egg yolk, liver, meat, lettuce, wheat germ, fortified breakfast cereals and potatoes.
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How do I know if my child has anemia?
If he does not want to eat and you notice that he feels tired, he is listless, he does not focus on school, he is very sleepy, he gets sick very often, his behavior is different (he gets angry or constantly cries), he looks pale or dizzy, take him to the pediatrician for a general assessment and if necessary, laboratory studies should be performed to determine if the child has this deficiency.