Does your child have a nutritional, healthy diet?

A surprising new study suggests that many American children—more than half—do not.

Evidence shows that 56% eat meals of low nutritional value that contain either too much salt or sugar (or both), too many processed foods, and not enough veggies. With this type of diet, children are at an increased risk of developing health problems such as obesity or Type 2 diabetes.

Don’t let this information discourage you. Rather, let it inspire you to learn more about kid’s nutrition! The entire family could benefit from a lesson in health and wellness, making the reward tenfold.

The following information is generalized. Diets vary according to factors like age, weight, any dietary restrictions, and more. Always consult your physician with questions!

What to Include in Your Child’s Diet

Think of your child’s dinner plate as a pie graph.

The next time you make a meal, consider the following portion sizes, recognized by health experts as a baseline healthy diet for children.

Fifty percent of the plate should be reserved for fruits and veggies—about a quarter of each. The more you mix it up, the better, so feel free to experiment with all the fruits (berries, pears, apples) and vegetables (beans, peas, carrots, mushrooms).

The other 50% of the plate is for whole grains, which undergo the least amount of processing, and proteins. Proteins should make up 25% of the plate and include foods like fish and chicken, limiting red or processed meats. The other 25% should include grains like quinoa or brown rice.

Healthy fats are great for children, too (though we recommend you read about keto for kids before giving them too much). Dress salads with EVOO or offer a quarter of an avocado with lunch.

What to Cut (Or Limit) From Their Diet

When it comes to healthy eating for kids, there are several foods to avoid or minimize, no matter your kid’s age, height, weight, or gender.

We’ve touched on a few already, but, in general, try to limit your child’s intake of the following:

  • Processed foods, such as breakfast cereals, hot dogs, certain cheeses, and packaged lunches
  • Sugar, including the likes of high fructose corn syrup, sugary fruit drinks, simple breads, candy
  • Anything with high salt/sodium content, such as chips or cookies

In general, these nutritional guidelines are a fantastic diet for most individuals. Kid’s nutrition varies slightly from adult’s, as their bodies are still growing and developing—but the same general rules apply. Skip the sugar and opt for the greens.

Of course, as with anything, treats are an essential part of life. Moderation is key with children, too, so don’t forget to have fun with food every once in a while. Educating your kids on a healthy diet allows them to feel more empowered, too.

Kid’s Nutrition: As Important to Learn as ABCs and 123s

A kid’s nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. Offer healthy, delicious meals that include the appropriate amounts of protein, fruits, veggies, grains, and even dairy in small amounts. Steer your child away from processed items, and limit salt and sugar, too.

Bonus tip—enjoy a family pizza night every once in a while.

For more health, wellness, and culinary content, you know where to look. Keep scrolling!