About 2 billion children worldwide suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. While it is normal for your child to develop difficult eating habits, their nutrition is essential. Otherwise, they could become one of 160 million children under 5 who are stunted.
Good nutrition and healthy habits start at an early age. With this guide on teaching kids nutrition, you can make sure your child is growing up with healthy habits in their adult life.
Make it fun for both of you! Our guide to healthy eating shows you how to introduce variety and color to your family’s diet.
Keep reading to find nutrition lessons for kids with these fun tips.
Why should children learn about nutrition early?
Before we discuss teaching nutrition to children, let’s see why this is essential.
Healthy eating can help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight. Eating a balanced diet will also help them consume important nutrients, which can help reduce the risk of developing serious health problems. These conditions may include:
- Iron deficiency
- Dental caries (cavities)
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Arterial hypertension
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children 2 years of age or older should follow a healthy diet that includes:
- A variety of protein foods
- Fat free and low fat dairy products
- Whole grains
- A variety of fruits and vegetables
The guidelines also recommend that people limit calories from solid fat and added sugars. It is also essential to reduce your sodium intake.
Here are some other reasons why it is important to teach children nutrition.
A well-nourished body helps nourish your child’s mind. When your child has the nutrients they need throughout the day, they are more likely to stay focused. Students who eat a balanced diet show:
- Improved test results
- Better attendance
- Fewer behavior problems
Teaching children about nutrients at a young age can deepen your child’s understanding of:
Additionally to academic skills, nutrition education will also teach your child life skills. For example, they will learn to prepare balanced meals and snacks. They will also learn to listen to their bodies to determine when they are hungry or full.
Children’s nutrition classes can help your child learn how to provide their body with the right amount of food.
Developing these skills early on can ensure they stay healthy until adulthood.
Healthy versus unhealthy
Young children sometimes have a hard time differentiating between healthy and unhealthy foods. Instead, they are more concerned with the foods they want to eat.
Teaching children about nutrients can help them understand what foods to eat. When they are taught the difference between junk food and nutritious foods, they can make healthy choices for themselves.
Cut down on fast food cravings
Some children eat many fast food meals a week. However, these foods are often high in calories, saturated fat, and salt. Absence of nutrition could lead to unhealthy weight gain.
Teaching kids nutrition now can help them discover the dangers of fast food. As a result, they are more likely to make healthy food choices. Showing your child how to make healthy choices can help them take control of what they put in their body.
Encourage physical activity
Children who eat a healthy diet are more likely to engage in daily physical activity. Nutrition education and physical education go together. When your child has a balanced diet, they will have more energy to play and exercise.
Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
Your child needs several servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Children’s nutrition lessons will help your child discover why it is important to eat their fruits and vegetables. Teaching them to track their intake can also motivate them to eat more servings each day.
Over time, eating enough fruits and vegetables will become a habit, not a chore.