A Healthy Diet For Your Child

Getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein foods is a good start to a healthy diet. Choose items without added sugar and limit salt. It is also a good idea to include some fats from sources like nuts, seeds and fish.Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet will help your child stay healthy and manage his weight. This will reduce his risk of developing obesity, heart disease and some types of cancer. It can also improve his mental health, immune system and bone health.To get the most benefit from a healthy eating plan, make sure that all meals and snacks include choices from each food group. Choose lean meat, poultry and fish, eggs, nuts, beans and peas, whole grains and fortified soy alternatives to dairy.Plan to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day (fresh, frozen, canned or dried). Try for variety in color and add leafy green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Include berries, citrus fruits and melons, and tropical fruits like mango, papaya and pineapple. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava should be limited, as they tend to be high in carbohydrate with fewer nutrients than other vegetables.Incorporate a variety of whole, minimally processed grains, including brown rice, millet, quinoa and oats. Avoid refined grains such as white bread, pasta and pizza crust.Select low-fat or non-fat milk and other dairy products. Encourage your child to drink water rather than soda and other sugary drinks. If he needs to hydrate with something other than water, opt for plain drinks without added sugar and moderate levels of salt.Eat some fats from plant-based sources, such as nut butters, peanut butter, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. These are healthier than animal fats, which should be limited to small amounts.The body gets energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, instead of sugary foods. Proteins can be found in meat, poultry and fish. They can also be found in tofu, lentils and beans, beans and peas, nuts and seeds. Eat some healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil, or the "good" fats in avocado and salmon.Plan to include some fruits and vegetables at each meal, as well as a cup of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or fortified soy beverage. It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day too.