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Nutrition Basics for Kids


When it comes to children, mealtime isn't always easy. Getting your kid to eat healthy foods (or sometimes any food at all) can be an uphill battle. So what kind of diet should your child have? Here are the nutrition basics for girls and boys.


Protein is essential in diets for all ages. It's found in every cell, including muscles, organs and hormones. Your child needs protein for healthy growth and development. This includes lean meat, poultry and seafood. Eggs, beans, nuts and seeds and other soy products are also great sources of this nutrient. It's important to have protein in your child's meals - especially dinner.

Fruits and vegetables

Fresh produce is a must in your child's everyday meals. Feed your little one plenty of fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, strawberries, broccoli, peas and cabbage. All of these foods pack particular vitamins and nutrients that make your kid stronger and healthier from head to toe. For example, carrots, a root vegetable that is rich in beta-carotene, nourish and strengthen eyesight. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and can improve brain function. Cabbage can improve digestion. Choose 100 percent fruit juice so your little one gets all the benefits of this drink without the added sugar. Fill up each meal with fruits and vegetables so your kid gets every nutrient needed.


Although grains get a bad name because they're loaded with carbohydrates, the right kinds are necessary in a healthy diet. Fiber-rich grains like oatmeal digest slowly, providing your kid with energy. In fact, research has shown kids who eat oatmeal concentrate better in school, which makes it the perfect breakfast food choice, according to NPR. Choose whole grains to feed your child like whole-wheat bread, popcorn, quinoa or brown rice, but be sure to limit consumption.


Make sure your little one is getting his or her daily dose of calcium with dairy. Milk, yogurt and cheese provide fuel for the brain and body, and milk's calcium keeps kids' bones and teeth strong. If your kid is allergic, choose a soy option instead.


It's important that you feed your child a healthy and nutritious diet, but that doesn't mean he or she can't indulge in other tasty foods, as well (in moderation). Just choose your treats wisely. Cocoa powder (aka chocolate) actually has a high concentration of flavonoid, a compound known to improve blood pressure and heart and oral health. Sprinkle this on a banana or waffles or mix it in with milk to make chocolate milk that packs a nutritious punch and still tastes like a sweet treat.

Cinnamon is another delicious spice that can regulate blood sugar and minimize energy crashes. Add a pinch in your kid's morning meal like oatmeal, pancakes, cold cereal or yogurt.

Be sure to practice good eating habits with your child as he or she grows up.

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