Healthy and Unhealthy Food for Kids
The following outlines the top healthy and unhealthy food for kids, and their benefits. This list is based on the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Take a look at this general list of healthy food for kids:
Seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds are great sources of protein, one of the body’s basic building blocks. Considered a macronutrient, protein is necessary for building up muscle mass and is a source of energy.
Train your child early on to eat different types of fruit, whether it be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruit. Fruit juice is acceptable but avoid sugary fruit juices. As much as possible, allow your child to drink 100% juice with no additives. Be mindful of the amount that your child eats, as some fruits can contribute extra calories and are high in sugar even when fresh.
- Veggies contain vitamins, minerals and fibers. They are also naturally low in calories. When feeding your child vegetables, be sure to provide variety: fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. Include dark green, and red and orange vegetables, as well as beans, peas, and starchy vegetables. When giving canned or frozen options, be conscious of the sodium content in each.
- Grains are an essential component of a healthy diet for your kid. Classified as carbohydrates, they are one of the ways the body gets energy. It is best to feed your child whole grains like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, (unsalted) popcorn, quinoa, and brown or wild rice. Your child’s intake of refined grains like white bread, pasta, and white rice should be controlled.
- Dairy provides many vitamins and minerals, foremost of them calcium. Teach your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy like milk, yogurt, cheese, and soy drinks.
The following are the things that constitute unhealthy foods for kids. Foods containing these should be limited as much as possible:
There are naturally occurring sugars, which are found in fruits and milk. This is different from added sugar, which includes brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, and the like.
There are good fats and bad fats. Bad fats include saturated and trans fats. These come from animal sources such as red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy items. It is a good idea to find suitable alternatives to saturated fats, such as vegetable or nut oils, as these have fatty acids and vitamin E. There are also healthier fats in foods like olives, nuts, avocados, and seafood. Avoiding foods that have partially hydrogenated oil, like pastries, junk food, oily food, and fast food, can help you limit your child’s intake of trans fats.