As we live in a world that is defined by obesity and chronic disease, it is only normal we worry about our children and the food that they eat. As a parent, you have to deal with a lot of things on a daily basis, so choosing the right foods might prove to be quite difficult. To come to your rescue, we present diet plans and sample menus for children of different ages. Enjoy your read and do not hesitate to use our practical advice.
How To Establish A Nutritious Diet For Your Children?
When your child falls in this age category, his/her calorie intake varies between 1200 and 1400 calories. The most important thing is that you listen to your child when he/she tells you that he/she is not hungry anymore. The child should eat three main meals a day, with two snacks in between. In general, the meals and snacks should be served at three hours apart. Avoid bribing your child with food and make sure to serve both fresh veggies and fruits as snacks. Even from this age, you should consider serving your child anti-inflammatory foods, so as to ensure the health of the gastrointestinal tract.
A good breakfast choice would include a serving of fruit (banana) and oatmeal. As for lunch, you can consider quesadilla and salsa; dinner can include grilled meat, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli. Snacks can add plain yogurt and fresh fruit, such as apples.
A healthy diet for a child that falls in that age category should provide between 1500 and 1700 calories. Your child should have a hearty breakfast, preferably one that does not contain too much sugar (avoid sugary breakfast cereals). Make sure that you serve him/her a light lunch (prepare a healthy lunch box for school). As for snacks, refrain from rewarding the child with something sweet, as the craving for sugar only gets worse with the passing of time. Do not serve the adult child portions, as you will only favor obesity and other chronic health problems.
The most important thing is that you serve milk with each meal, as your child needs a good dose of calcium for healthy bones. A diet plan can include the following meal choices: buttered bagel and fruit salad for breakfast; whole-bread turkey sandwich, bell pepper strips and strawberries for lunch; grilled fish, brown rice and roasted asparagus for dinner; baby carrots and raisins for snacks.
Once your kid has reached this age, the daily calorie intake varies between 1700 and 1950. Keep in mind that this is the age where children are quite active, including from an intellectual and physical point of view. They do all sort of activities, so they end up burning more calories. When establishing a diet plan, you have to make sure that you provide your kid with the right foods, avoiding empty calories that are only going to increase the risk for obesity.
When you establish a diet plan for this age, the most important thing is that you replace fast food & junk food with healthy alternatives. You should also get your child is accustomed to drinking water and not sugary drinks, as these are one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. A healthy diet plan should include whole grains as these represent a good source of carbohydrates. As for proteins, which children need to develop muscle mass, these can be found in food groups, such as dairy or lean meat.
A diet plan for this age category can include the following choices: scrambled eggs on whole wheat bread and orange slices for breakfast; pasta salad and apple for lunch; grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner. As for snacks, you can consider almonds and dried fruits. For the main meals, you can serve a glass of milk, water or fresh fruit juice. Do not cook separately for your child and try to eat the same meals as a family, watching out only for the portion size. Children notice such things and, if you make unhealthy eating choices, they will most likely do the same.
Also Read: Wheat Belly Diet: Start With Breakfast
Summing It Up
Children are not miniature adults, and they should not be treated as such. They have individual needs, including when it comes to the food that they eat. Unfortunately, the modern diet includes a lot of unhealthy eating choices, such as fast food, junk food, and sugary drinks. You can teach your child the value and importance of healthy eating, by preparing home-cooked meals and educating him/her in avoiding dangerous temptations. With childhood obesity on the rise, taking the time to discuss with your child about food is highly important. At an older age, you can include him/her in the diet plan, choosing some of his favorite fruits and vegetables for living a healthy lifestyle.