Posts for category: Nutrition
Why Proper Nutrition is Important
As a parent, it goes without saying that you want what is best for your child. Making sure that your little ones grow up healthy, happy, and prepared for the future is often one of the most difficult, yet regarding, tasks in all of parenthood. This all-important mission to provide a great life for your child encompasses a number of different factors, including one which is the subject of this article: nutrition.
According to recent reports from the CDC, one in five school children within the United States qualify as obese. This epidemic of unhealthy living inevitably creates a number of ill effects in the children who suffer from the condition. Read on to learn how proper nutrition can keep your child at a healthy weight and avoid the consequences of obesity.
Why Obesity Must Be Avoided
Before we examine the intricacies of proper nutrition, it is important that we look at why being overweight/obese is to be avoided:
- Onset of chronic diseases: Although they are more often diagnosed in adults, conditions such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes have been increasingly seen in younger children, largely because of poor eating habits.
- Childhood habits traverse into adulthood: Humans tend to be creatures of habit, and accordingly, we largely carry childhood tendencies into our adult lives. For this reason, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the National Institute for Health Research has found that “55% of obese children go on to be obese in adolescence, around 80% of obese adolescents will still be obese in adulthood and around 70% will be obese over age 30.”
- Obesity shortens life: The National Institute of Health has found that obesity has the possibility of shortening life spans by up to fourteen years, and with the established link between childhood and adulthood obesity, it’s essential to promote healthy
Other Benefits of Proper Nutrition
The most obvious benefit of providing proper nutrition for your child is that they are then much more likely to maintain a healthy weight, and thus avoid all of the dangers associated with obesity. In addition to escaping the clutches of type 2 diabetes and a shortened life expectancy, your little one will also feel the immediate advantage of higher physical energy levels and increased brain activity. These boosts to your child’s wellbeing can be attributed to an increased bloodflow throughout the body, allowing them to not only stay healthier, but feel happier as well!
If you need help with getting your child on the path of proper nutrition, contact your local pediatrician today—we’re here to help!
Giving your baby his first spoonful of solid foods is an exciting time! Many parents look forward to the day their little one takes their first bite of rice cereal, and in many cases, baby is just as eager! So how do you know if your baby is ready to transition to solids?
Here are a few tips for helping you introduce and successfully navigate feeding your baby solids.
Is my baby ready for solids?
As a general rule, most babies are ready to tackle solids between 4 and 6 months of age.
- Weight gain. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are typically big enough to consume solids when they reach about 13 pounds—or about the time they double their birth weight.
- Head control. Your baby must be able to sit up unsupported and have good head and neck control.
- Heightened curiosity. It may be time to introduce your baby to solids when they begin to take interest in the foods around them. Opening of the mouth, chewing motions and staring at your plate at the dinner table are all good indicators it’s time to give solid foods a try.
To start, give your baby half a spoonful or less of one type of solid food. Generally it doesn’t matter which food is introduced first, but many parents begin with an iron-fortified rice cereal. Once they master one type of food, then you can gradually give them new foods.
Other foods, such as small banana pieces, scrambled eggs and well-done pasta can also be given to the baby as finger foods. This is usually around the time the baby can sit up and bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.
As your baby learns to eat a few different foods, gradually expose them to a wide variety of flavors and textures from all food groups. In addition to continuing breast milk or formula, you can also introduce meats, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions as new foods are incorporated into your baby’s diet. If you suspect an allergy, stop using that food and contact your pediatrician.
Talk to your pediatrician for recommendations about feeding your baby solid foods. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you have about nutrition, eating habits and changes to expect as your baby embarks on a solid food diet.
As children grow into adolescence, their bodies require more nutrients to grow healthy and strong. But as many parents know, for those teens with busy school schedules, sports practices and jobs, managing a healthy, well-balanced meal plan isn’t always at the top of their priority list. In many cases, a teen’s most important meals are eaten in the car or on the bus as they shuffle from one activity to the next.
Parents can play a very important role in influencing their teen to stay active while maintaining a healthy diet. These tips can help:
- Encourage your teen to not skip meals, especially breakfast. A well-balanced breakfast is essential to keeping your son or daughter nourished throughout the day.
- Educate your teen about healthy snack choices. Stock your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy foods and snacks, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and lean meats and poultry. Avoid buying sodas and other sugary drinks and foods that are low in nutritional value.
- Involve your teen in the selection and preparation of foods to teach them to make healthy choices.
- Teach your teen how to make healthy selections when eating out at restaurants.
How many servings per day your teenager requires will depend on how many calories his or her body needs. This is based on age, sex, size and activity level. You can discuss your teen’s nutritional habits and recommended daily intake with your teen's pediatrician.
Although balancing school, sports and social activities may present challenges to eating healthy, it is possible to guide your teen on a path of nutritional food choices. Educate them now and promote healthy eating at home to help your teen develop a good understanding of proper nutrition into adulthood. The whole family can benefit from improved eating habits starting at home.