Proper nutrition is vital and, as parents, we care deeply about providing our children with the best possible start in life. We all want them to grow strong, be happy, and be in good physical and mental health.
A varied, balanced diet that includes starchy carbohydrates, lean proteins, a variety of plentiful fruit and vegetables, and some dairy should provide your child with everything they need. With a diet sufficient in the right food groups for children, they will receive abundant quantities of the many vitamins and minerals needed, as well as sufficient fuel for their everyday lives.
Here are 10 benefits of proper nutrition for your growing child:
1. Healthy growth
We all want our children to reach their physical potential, and providing proper nutrition is essential in order for them to grow and develop physically. Adequate carbohydrates, proteins and limited fats fuel growth, and calcium is required for healthy bone development.
2. Healthy brain development
Nutrition doesn’t just impact physical development, but it also has a direct impact on the developing brain. Children need adequate levels of many vitamins and minerals, including fatty acid DHA, iron and iodine, for proper brain development. This can be achieved by providing a healthy diet.
3. Better physical health
Children who eat well and receive adequate vitamins are better equipped to fight off common illnesses like coughs and colds. However, the health benefits from a good childhood diet may reach into their adult lives, too: serious health problems and diseases such as diabetes and some cancers have been linked to poor nutrition in childhood.
4. Better oral health
A healthy diet low in sugars is beneficial for oral health, too, and children who eat such a diet are far less likely to deal with cavities and other dental problems.
5. Better concentration
Children who have had a nutritious breakfast and are provided a healthy lunch do not need to worry about the distractions of hunger pangs or the blood sugar highs and lows caused by unhealthy foods. This enables them to give their best to their school work.
6. Better moods
Similarly, fluctuating blood sugar levels and poor nutrition can cause mood levels to dip, particularly in young children, leading to tantrums and bad mood episodes. Regular, healthy snacks and three main meals per day ensure that hunger doesn’t contribute to poor behavior.
7. More energy
Those who consume the correct amount of calories from healthy sources will have abundant energy, not just for school, but also to take part in hobbies, interests and sports. This, in turn, has a huge benefit for their physical and mental health.
8. A healthy weight
Children who eat a varied, balanced diet and are not given excessive unhealthy treat foods are unlikely to develop weight problems, either from being under or overweight, and will likely be within an appropriate height and weight percentile for their age group. Aside from the benefits to their health, this means they are more likely to enjoy participating in everyday life.
9. Lifelong good habits
A benefit of introducing children to the ideas behind good nutrition from an early age is that it becomes ingrained and sets them up for life, long after they have left the family home. Even very young children can learn that a healthy balanced meal should include some protein and carbohydrate, and plenty of vegetables. When they need to look after themselves, they should find this easy to replicate.
10. Healthy eating for the whole family
With busy adult lives, it is easy to fall into the trap of convenience food and unhealthy snacks. However, when you understand the need for children to eat nutritious food and you provide healthy family meals for them every day, you also improve your own diet at the same time.