Help Your Child Grow Up Healthy and Strong
Keys to a Healthy Diet
The keys to healthy eating are variety, balance and moderation. Be sure your
family eats a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits and
whole grain products. Also include low-fat and nonfat dairy products, lean
meats, poultry, fish and legumes (lentils and beans). Drink water to quench
your thirst, and go easy on the salt, sugar and saturated fat.
Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle that also
includes regular physical activity. To maintain weight, both kids and adults
must balance the calories they eat with the calories they burn through physical
activity. If you eat more calories than you use up in physical activity, you
gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you use up, you lose weight. Make a
commitment to helping your family eat sensibly and move more often.
Here are some tips for healthy eating to help you get started.
- Try to keep track of your children's meal/snack and physical activity
patterns so you can help them balance the amount and types of food they eat
with the amount of physical activity they perform.
- Encourage your family to eat at least 5 servings of brightly colored
vegetables and fruits a day. You can start the day with 100% fruit or vegetable
juice. Slice fruit on top of cereal. Serve salad with lunch and an apple as an
afternoon snack. Include vegetables with dinner.
- Leave the candy, soft drinks, chips and cookies at the store. Substitute
them with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat or nonfat milk products. Your
child will soon learn to make smart food choices outside your home as
- Serve children child-sized portions, and let your child ask for more if
still hungry. Don't force children to clean their plates. Try measuring food
items to learn to estimate the amount of food on a plate.
- Choose a variety of foods. No single food or food group supplies all the
nutrients in the amounts that you need for good health. If you plan for pizza
one night, balance your meal with salad, low-fat or nonfat milk and fruit.