Food to Fuel the Brain and Body
What You Need To Know
Increasing numbers of American children are suffering from cavities, anemia (iron deficiency), cardiovascular disease, and obesity. A balanced diet can reduce these problems, provide fuel for brain and body growth, and set your child up for a life of good health.
How You Can Help
- Picky eaters. If you have a child who only eats toast, don’t worry. In time, your first grader will expand their menu. Encourage your child to help in the grocery shopping, particularly to buy items for their own lunches.
- Little bird appetites. Unless your first grade is actually losing weight, this isn’t something to stress about. However, there may be reasons why he or she isn’t hungry in the evening. Watch out for soda, juice, and even milk. Sodas like Arizona Iced Tea contain massive amounts of sugar. Juice is often supplemented with sugar, while milk can be filling. Where possible, limit your child’s access to soda, and buy low-fat milk instead.
- “But I’m not hungry! Do I still have to come for dinner?” Some children have appetites which run on a different timetable to the rest of the family. Make sure your child still joins you for dinner, even if they’re not hungry. Dinner isn’t just about eating, it’s a place where everyone can talk, laugh, and share their news. Authoritarian approaches to this, such as “When we eat, you eat,” can lead to eating problems.
- Snacks or meals? Most parents would like their kids to eat more, but quantity isn’t the issue. Some children may prefer more frequent snacks to three regular meals. Balance your first grader’s diet, supplementing fruit, grains, and vegetables with dairy, beans, tofu, eggs, meat, and leafy green vegetables for the protein, iron, and calcium to help children grow.
For more information on nutrition in children six years and older, please see the full article:
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