It’s important that a child has a balanced diet. It is recommended that adults eat three meals per day. What does a balanced diet look like for children ?
A Balanced Diet for Children
To start, a balanced diet should include foods from all of the five food groups at the recommended percentages:
Fruits and vegetables – 33%
Whole grain – 33%
Dairy – 15%
Meat – 12%
Fat and sugar – 7%
By eating a balanced diet, children are getting the correct amount of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, protein and fats. Why are each of these important to a child’s development?
Carbohydrates are necessary for energy. With a child moving all the time, they burn up a lot of calories. With a third of their calories coming from carbohydrates – whole grain, you’ll ensure they’ll have the energy they need.
Protein are the body’s building blocks to create, sustain and repair muscles along with building antibodies which can protect them from certain diseases. Twenty-seven percent of their calories should come from high protein foods like eggs, dairy and meat products.
Vitamins and minerals play a big part in the development of your child. Vitamins boost the immune system and helps in the development of cells and organs. Vitamin D breaks down calcium. Without enough Vitamin D, the calcium goes through the digestive system and is wasted.
The same holds true with a child eating good fats from the unsaturated family – mono and poly. Without the proper amount of healthy fats to dissolve and absorb into the body. Your child ends up deficient in these vitamins.
Water Is Key To A Healthy, Balanced Diet
Water is a vital ingredient to your child’s health. The amount of water a child needs depends on the outdoor temperature and their level of activity. A child should have this many 8-ounce servings per day:
At age 4-8: five 8-ounce servings
Age 9-13: six 8-ounce servings
At age 14 and older: eight 8-ounce servings
How you feed your child now plays a big part on their health as an adult. Make sure they get their three healthy meals and snacks per day at approximately the same times each day and in the correct portions. If you need help in identifying foods that comprise a healthy,balanced diet for your child, see your child’s pediatrician for advice.
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