Illustrated Guide to Good Nutrition: Food Choices That Promote Health and Weight Management in Children

Posted by: drchasrani on: June 15, 2012

When people are served larger portions, they eat more, and this effect persists over time. Children, however, need to learn to like foods that have more complex flavours, such as vegetables. It is best to introduce children to healthy foods when they are young.                          Team@CMHF

We live in an obesogenic world, but healthy eating for children can be achieved by applying a few basic strategies. It is important to understand child’s current home and school environment. This means that it includes an abundance of large portion sizes, inexpensive and calorie-laden foods, snacking, away-from-home meals, and sugar-sweetened beverages, while not providing or promoting easy access to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy products. Such an environment also promotes a sedentary lifestyle that includes excessive screen time and inadequate levels of physical activity.

The child is surrounded by unhealthy and tempting food choices that are available for purchase as an alternative to a school meal. For lunch, he eats foods purchased at the cafeteria such as chicken nuggets and hash brown potatoes along with an orange, a chocolate chip cookie, and a carton of whole milk.

Dinner generally consists of oversized portions and excessive empty calories.

To get adequate nutrients but stay within the recommended daily calorie range, children need to minimize intake of “empty calories.” A recent study reported that nearly 40% of energy consumed by children 2- to 18-years of age came from empty calories and half of those calories came from 6 specific items: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.

Weight is maintained when an individual’s energy intake balances their energy output. To get to a healthy weight, Jack needs to make food choices that are filling while eating fewer calories than he is currently consuming. Recent clinical guidelines have shifted the focus for weight management from the macronutrient composition of foods to the energy content. Energy balance is considered the most significant underlying factor in weight management.

Preventing childhood obesity can be easier than treating it and cannot be started early enough. Parents should be informed about the benefits of breastfeeding, repeatedly exposing children to healthy foods, and being a role model for healthy eating.







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