Childhood Nutrition

I know getting your child to eat is hard enough, but what they eat is also crucial!

Good nutrition is an essential part of your child’s health. High cholesterol in young children is becoming increasingly prevalent in light of the growing obesity epidemic. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 1 in 3 children is categorized as overweight or obese in America. Children with cholesterol problems often become adults with high cholesterol. High cholesterol can be caused by obesity, diabetes, kidney and liver disease, or thyroid issues. Many children have diets too high in sugars, fats and sodium; they often lack necessary vitamins.

How much fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy should my child be getting? Using “My Plate” is a good way to ensure your child is getting the proper proportions of each food category. You can find this at:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplateplan

If your child is school-aged and has trouble picking proper meals at lunch time, you can either review the menu with them ahead of time and pick out their meals, or send them with an already prepared healthy lunch.

Also, don’t forget water! Though there is no specific recommended amount. A good guideline to go by is to have them drink half their body weight in ounces of water. If they do not like the taste of water, try adding lemon or fruit to it for some flavor. Avoid soda as much as possible or completely eliminate it; these beverages are mostly sugar and other unnecessary additives. Offer juice sparingly since they are high in sugar as well. 

Food additives, though approved by the FDA, have also become an increasing concern. Studies have shown that these additives may interfere with children’s hormones and growth, and potentially increase their risk for obesity. Some of the most common additives currently used include: BPA, phthalates, perfluoroalkyl chemicals, perchlorate, synthetic food coloring, and nitrates/nitrites. Many of these are used in food packaging or to improve the appearance of foods. The best way to reduce exposure, as recommended by healthychildren.org, is to buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, eat less processed meats, wash plastic food containers by hand, use glass and stainless steel when possible, and use plastics labeled BPA free if plastic is necessary. Wash your hands throughout the day before and after handling food.

For more nutrition information, speak with your pediatrician! 

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