Mothers around the globe struggle with maintaining a healthy diet regimen for their children. From keeping regular, fixed hours for meals, to feeding their children nutritious, delicious meals, all the while avoiding fast foods, this task can overwhelm the most experienced mothers, let alone new moms.
So how can you convince your child to maintain healthy habits?
Why it is essential for your child to avoid junk food:
- Junk food will make your child susceptible to weight gain, due to its high caloric content. Additionally, because of the chemicals and type of oil used in fast food restaurants, junk food is packed with ingredients that lead to disease.
- The high sodium and salt content in junk food is the leading cause of high blood pressure.
- Junk food is extremely poor in nutritional value. As your child is going through a vital phase of growth and development, a diet which is low in vitamins and minerals can hinder his natural development.
- Feeding your child junk food can lead to severe digestive problems.
- Junk food can be extremely addictive, increasing the likelihood of the child developing unhealthy habits from an early age.
- Finally, junk food will rarely contain any of the fibers or minerals necessary for your child.
Following the food pyramid as a rule of thumb, here is a breakdown of food categories, along with the portions necessary for your child.
Grains and Carbohydrates:
Grains and healthy carbohydrates provide your child with the energy needed to participate in all of the activities at school. This grains category contains: rice, bread, pasta and breakfast cereal. The recommended daily portion for your child is one to two cups daily.
The second group is vegetables. This food group is essential, as vegetables contain the fibers and nutrients necessary for your child’s healthy growth and development. This food group contains: yams, tomatoes, potatoes, and leafy greens. Your child will need up to three portions of vegetables daily.
Next comes fruits, as they play an essential role in providing antioxidants and valuable nutrients for your child, such as vitamins A and C. The daily recommended portion is at least two pieces of fruit, the equivalent of one cup daily.
Dairy products are essential for bone and teeth health, providing calcium and vitamin D. The recommended daily intake for your child is 2 to 3 cups daily.
Meat and Beans:
This is the only source of vitamin B12, iron, and protein. The recommended daily intake is 3 to 4 portions (30 grams).
Never neglect the healthy fats available in vegetable oils, nuts, and avocadoes. Your child will need up to 4 teaspoons daily.
Finally, engage your child in physical activities such as swimming, walking, running, or any other exercise that he enjoys.