As a Pediatrician in Wake Forest, NC, I get a lot of questions about nutrition for kids. It’s easy to be confused how to foster that nutrition as your children get older. As your kids go off to school, it’s even harder and harder to promote good eating habits. From what they’re getting at school to the messages they’re getting on TV, it can be hard to make sure everything that goes in their body is promoting a long, healthy life.
We at Rainbow Kids Pediatrics want to help you foster good habits. That’s why we’ve assembled some tips to help you foster nutrition for your kids from grade school to high school. Hopefully with some of the tips below, we can help.
It’s very common for a 6- or 7-year-old to decide to be a vegetarian once they realize that meat, eggs, and milk all come from animals. No need to worry— your child will still be able to get enough protein. You can make sure your child gets rice, beans, eggs, milk, and peanut butter to satisfy that need.
Beyond children that decide to go vegetarian, there are also other areas of nutrition you need to pay attention to at this age. It’s easy to overdo sugars, fats, and sodium.
At this age kids have more choice in what they’re eating when they go to the cafeteria for lunch. Your child might gravitate towards the cakes, candy, chips and lunch that they can find in the lunch food line or when they trade lunch items with friends. While the body does actually need carbs and sugars, they should be eaten in moderation. If it becomes too much of a staple in your child’s lunch, they are at risk for unneeded weight gain and other problems.
You can help this by packing your kids lunch and encouraging them to eat healthy snacks to stay on track. For help with that conversation, check out this guide on healthy food choices. Also it’s important to talk to them on eating fruits and vegetables.
Pre-teens and Teenagers
To go through the changes that come with puberty, teenagers need more calories. Unfortunately, for many this age, they’re getting those calories from Fast Food, which does nothing for their health. In this often volatile time, it’s important to keep encouraging your pre-teens and teenagers to get the nutrition they need. Here are some tips to help you with that:
1. Make sure to promote healthy eating
During teenage years, many young men and women start to restrict calories instead of going for valuable and healthy foods. Promote the importance of healthy eating and good body image to prevent eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
2. Keep Pushing Calcium
Getting enough calcium is more important than ever in teenage years. This is because the majority of bone mass is built during this time. Make sure to make sure they are getting this necessary nutrient.
3. Make a Nutrient Plan
Teenage men and women have different requirements in terms of the vitamins and minerals they need to be getting. Make sure, through supplements and diet, that your child is getting what you need and keep it standard. Help them make sure they’re getting what they need and plan with them.
What else can you do?
Although it gets harder and harder as you children getting older, fighting for good nutrition in your child is well worth having. In addition, don’t forget to promote the importance of drinking water. Especially as they get older, it’s easy to gravitate towards caffeinated beverages and soft drinks. Just make sure they’re drinking water. It’s necessary at any age to keep your body functioning properly.
For some more tips, check out Healthy Children’s full nutrition guide and their full suite of nutrition resources. In addition, don’t forget to take advantage of us at Rainbow Kids Pediatrics. If you want to know more about what you can do for your child from a Pediatrician in the Wake Forest NC area, give us a call at 919-435-1099 and schedule an appointment. I’d love to talk more about what Rainbow Kids Pediatrics can do to promote lifelong health with your little ones.