Healthy Food Choices for Kids – Understanding USDA’s New Interactive Food Guidance System

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A mother is always concerned about her family’s health and well-being. Making healthy food choices for kids and the whole family is one of the major decisions that she makes every day as healthy food eating habits offer many beneficial effects on their overall well-being.

When laying out a healthy food plan, follow the Food Pyramid. It is the basic guide to choose the right kinds of foods and benefit from them. Looking at the USDA’s new interactive Food Guidance System, you will notice how different it is from the old hierarchical Food Pyramid. The 6 major types of foods are graphically listed in different colorful variations. When you click on each food group, the recommended daily servings are clearly defined for all age groups following a 30 – 60 minute moderate physical activity daily.

Grain Group

The grain group includes carbohydrate-rich foods like Bread, Tortillas, Muffins, Pasta and Noodles. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 need to eat at least 5 to 7 servings of grains each day. Depending on their gender, size, activity level and growth rate, some children need more or less servings.

Vegetable Group

The vegetable group lists down all the Folic and Vitamin-rich vegetables and root crops. Vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, green leafy veggies contain high levels of nutrients that kids need to support their active lifestyle. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 are advised to eat at least 4 to 6 servings of veggies every day. This means more creativity and patience for mothers to create vegetable dishes.

Fruit Group

We all know how beneficial this food group is. Fruits and vegetables go together in promoting good healthy eating habits in kids. Their vibrant colors and sweet tastes are good factors in making your kids eat the recommended servings every day. Fruit group includes the whole, fresh, canned or extracted fruits. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 are advised to take no less than 3 to 4 servings every day.

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Milk Group

Milk is undoubtedly one of the best foods for kids. It is one of the ready sources of calcium that’s essential to your kids’ growth and development. Almost all kids love milk, so you will not have much problem with this. Other sources of calcium include milk products such as different kinds of cheese, yoghurt, pudding and ice cream. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 are recommended to take 3 servings of any of these milk items every day.

Meat Group

The meat group is composed of meat and poultry products like beef, chicken, veal, fish, eggs, peanut butter, dried peas, nuts or beans. Kids aging 7 to 13 should only eat 2 servings of meat items every day.

Oils and Others

Although oils and extra foods do not belong to any group, nutritionists recommend that our kids need to take the required amounts of them every day for good health. Beneficial oil sources are fish, nuts and vegetables.

Food for Energy: A Healthy Food Guide for Active Children

During play, active children consume more energy per unit of body weight than teenagers and adults. This is the very reason why they have different nutritional needs compared to adults. In order to keep up with their pace, moms should carefully select what food for energy to include in their daily diet, foods that are healthy and are readily digestible.

They must consume foods that contain higher proportion of body-building nutrients such as protein, mineral elements and vitamins. If you are having trouble how much food for energy to give to your active kids, you can follow the new Food Pyramid For Kids approved by the USDA.

Now, what foods for energy would make a good meal combination every day? Here we provide a healthy food guide for active children.

Other helpful resources:

Understanding the Food Pyramid for Kids

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Breakfast: The Most Important Food Combination of the Day

You may have heard this old momma’s saying “Eat your breakfast, honey, because it’s the most important meal of the day…” and the sermon goes. But she’s absolutely right! During sleep, our tiny little cells still work overnight, consuming nutrients such that in the morning, proteins and other energy-giving nutrients are at their lowest. The best way to restore your kids’ energy level is to give them a hearty-breakfast.

  • Whatever beverage you choose, (milk or fresh fruit juice) this meal combination will surely give your children a boost of energy.
  • Banana or Sliced Avocado combined with their favorite scrambled egg.
  • Bananas are mighty powerhouses of nutrients. Eating at least 1 piece in the morning will provide your kids the recommended daily serving of potassium, a natural regulator of the body’s water balance.
  • Avocados are heavyweight in calories and other nutrients that keep our hearts and skin healthy such as Vitamin A, D and E.
  • Eggs are also packed with nutrients such as the B-vitamins, proteins and minerals. In order to make eggs enjoyable for your active kids, scramble them with ham, bell peppers, onions and milk.
  • You may also serve them a bowl of oatmeal or granola, with berries and milk. This is a powerhouse combination of fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep your kids on the go!
  • A healthy breakfast is your best gift to your kids every day.

Snacks: Take Advantage!

Healthy snacks are good meal fillers. If your kid just drank his glass of milk or fresh fruit juice, always be ready to put in his snack box, healthy foods that will surely fill them and give them the energy he or she needs for the day.

  • An apple, yogurt or banana muffins is an example of a very good snack combination for your active kids.
  • Apples are fiber-rich fruits, which can fill your kids’ stomach to the fullest if they eat one whole apple.
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Lunch: Make Sure You Don’t Miss Out!

If your kids have skipped breakfast, because they woke up late and are hurrying things in the morning, make sure they don’t miss out their healthy lunch packs!

These foods should be in their lunch boxes with a bottle of fresh fruit juice or water.

You can choose from various meat recipes, but be sure to prepare one that’s packed with natural ingredients not from ready-to-cook pouches as they contain high levels of preservatives and chemicals detrimental to your kid’s health.

Great lunch ideas, will keep a smile on your kids faces.

Dinner: Keep It Simple yet Special.

As they say, dinner is the lightest meal of the day. But your kids wouldn’t want to come home if you’ll just prepare them meals that would not satisfy their hungry bellies. Remember, your kids have special nutritional needs, such that dinners should be kept simple yet special.

Kids love pasta. Transform this food for energy into a one-dish meal by making nutrient-filled spaghetti. With your favorite spaghetti recipe, include ingredients such as minced bell peppers, pineapple cubes or ground beef and relish it with cheese.

You may also prepare vegetable or meat sandwiches, whatever your kids love to eat. Or, if they ask for pizza, why not prepare one that’s healthier? Home-made pizzas, folded pizzas or Calzones can be easily prepared.

And a glass of fresh fruit juice will surely make them say, wow! I’m full!

Wouldn’t we want to hear that more often from our kids?

 

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