Regardless of whether your child is a picky eater or an over-eater, there are key nutrients that your child needs on a daily basis. These include Protein, Carbohydrates and Good Fats.
In an ideal world, each meal and snack should consist of the following:
- Protein: Meat, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds (or peanut butter), milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese (or dairy alternatives), eggs, tofu, soy beans, and legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils). Protein should be ¼ of the meal or snack.
- Carbohydrates: Try to make ½ of the meal/snack a fruit or vegetable (yes, these are carbohydrates) and ¼ of it whole grain choices of starchy carbohydrates (breads, cereals, rice, pasta, crackers, potatoes, quinoa, couscous). Aim to be as colourful as possible in your fruit and vegetable selections—every colour reflects different physical molecules and different nutrients. A colourful diet can be fun and is an easy way to make sure your kids are getting all of their vitamins and minerals. In addition to Vitamins C, B (particularly foliate) and A, fruit and vegetables are important sources of potassium, iron (particularly in vegetables) and fibre. The bright colours in your fruits and vegetables are shown through phytochemicals (including beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, and many more). These phytochemicals act as antixoidants which help with disease prevention and general well-being.
- Fat: Don’t be afraid of good fats in all your meals and snacks with nuts and seeds, ground flaxseed, canola, olive oil and fish (particularly salmon).
By following these nutritional guidelines right from the start, you can create healthy eating habits for your child that last their lifetime.
Cassandra Reid, a dietitian in private practice, with her own online and tele-counselling nutrition company www.cassandrareid.com
is also a mother of three. She works with clients and patients through doctor and self-referrals in a variety of areas. She has been a dietitian for eight years and works closely with The Cleveland Clinic and Shepell-fgi.
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