Dietary Recommendations for Healthy Children

Kids need healthy food with plenty of nutrients to help their bodies grow. There are many ways to make sure your child is getting the nutrition they need without giving them too many calories.

Preparing balanced meals at home and eating together as a family can help your child avoid the oversized portions at restaurants and the high-calorie meals from fast food places. It’s also a good idea to stay away from prepackaged meals whenever possible, as these tend to be high-fat, high-calorie foods as well. Instead, serve plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains like brown rice. It’s also good to include lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, and eggs in your family’s diet.

Keeping healthy snack foods on hand is another way to encourage healthy eating habits in your child. Examples of healthy snack foods include:

  • Air-popped popcorn without butter
  • Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruit served plain or with low-fat yogurt
  • Fresh vegetables, like baby carrots, cucumber, zucchini, or tomatoes, and
  • Low-sugar, whole-grain cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk

Avoid or limit snacks that are high in calories, sugar, and salt, such as soft drinks, chips, cookies, and candy. You can also offer your child water or low-fat milk instead of fruit juice, which tends to have a lot of sugar and calories. It might be a good idea to put healthy snacks and nutritious foods in places that are easily accessible for children and keep high-calorie foods out of sight.