Nutrition for children
Most of the same strategies for healthy eating that work for adults also work for children. Children need the same nutrients as adults, but in different amounts.
Healthy diets for all ages are based on what the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans call nutrient dense foods from different categories. These include:
Fruits and vegetables. A variety of fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables that cover the color spectrum: red tomatoes and strawberries; oranges and carrots; yellow squashes and bananas; leafy greens, avocadoes, and limes; blueberries; and purple grapes and eggplant. As a rule, the richer the color, the healthier the food.
Grains. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, or whole-grain bread.
Protein. Fish and other types of seafood, poultry, poultry, beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds, and lean meats.
Dairy foods. Low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy foods.
Fats. Don't fear fats—as long as they are healthy fats from foods such as fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
At the same time, it's best to limit a child's intake of foods with:
- added sugar, such as sweetened breakfast cereals, sodas, juices, pastries, and the like
- solid fats, such as hot dogs and other fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods, and many prepared foods
- added salt in chips, breads, and many processed and prepared foods