Basic Nutrition Points
Eating well will help provide the nutrients needed to have energy, build strong bones, and fight diseases and other conditions. Pay attention to what and how much your kids eat. A change in eating habits may be an early warning signal for other problems.
Snacks - Plan Them, Don’t Ban Them!
Nearly one-fourth of kids’ daily energy intake comes from nibbling between meals. Much of this nibbling is on prepackaged snack foods, which are high in calories and low in nutrients. But snacking itself isn’t necessarily bad.
Young children actually need snacks. Their stomachs are small, so they often can’t get all the nutrients they need in a day through meals alone. It’s not always easy to persuade your kids to eat healthy snacks and their snacking habits aren’t going to change overnight, but here are a few snack-time tips:
• Offer similar choices. Instead of ice cream or pretzels, offer your child frozen yogurt or soda crackers.
Provide variety. Be sure to select snacks from a variety of food groups so your kids won’t be bored with their snack choice.
• Be creative. Dress up fruits and vegetables – offer celery with peanut butter, or carrots with a yogurt.
Go for fresh and/or unprocessed foods.
Fruit Juice - Yes or No?
Although juice does contain healthy nutrients, it’s high in calories and/or sugar and sodium depending on the juice and it may contribute to tooth decay if consumed in excess. Juice also lacks the healthy fiber that whole fruit has.
Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children drink no more than two 6-ounce servings of fruit juice a day.
Go! Slow! Whoa! Foods—
In 2005, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) suggested kids start thinking about whether foods are Go foods, Slow foods, or Whoa foods.
Go Foods: These are foods that are good to eat almost anytime. They are the healthiest ones. Example: skim and low-fat milk, fruit & veggies.
Slow Foods: These are sometimes foods. They aren't off-limits, but they shouldn't be eaten every day. At most, eat them a couple of times a week. Example: waffles and pancakes.
Whoa Foods: These foods should make you say exactly that — Whoa! Should I eat that? Whoa foods are the least healthy. That's why Whoa foods are once-in-a-while foods. Example: French fries.
From: U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute