Nutrition for KIDS

The basic principles of good nutrition are the same for adults as they are for kids. We all need the same types of nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Children, however, need different amounts of specific nutrients at different stages of their growth. Encourage your child to make healthy food choices and be a role model for healthy eating and a lifestyle full of fitness, fun and good nutrition.

  1. Protein. Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.
  2. Fruits. Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits — rather than fruit juice. If your child drinks juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice without added sugars and limit his or her servings. Please note that dried fruit is calorie dense (one-quarter cup of dried fruit counts as one cup-equivalent of fruit).
  3. Vegetables. Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. Provide a variety of vegetables (dark green, red, yellow and orange).
  4. Grains. Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or rice (brown or wild).
  5. Dairy. Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.

(Reference: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

*Canned fruits and vegetables: canned fruits and vegetables can be convenient and inexpensive, but be mindful that the heat from the canning process will lower the vitamin C levels. In addition, canned foods often have additives such as salt, sugar or heavy syrup. If fresh fruit or vegetables is not an option, look for food packed in water and stay away from unnecessary additives.