A balanced diet for children is fundamental. The benefits include healthy weight, active lifestyle, and overall mental and physical well-being. Discover essential information in this comprehensive article! 

In our fast-paced world, families often have busy schedules. It makes it challenging to sit down and discuss homemade meals every day, especially for children. For most kids, their diets revolve around takeout and other types of convenient foods. However, it is quite unhealthy and can harm their health. In fact, some problems may persist even after reaching adulthood, making your children prone to lifelong diseases.

How Does a Healthy Diet Benefit Your Children?

TV commercials for junk food and peer pressure often make it difficult for your children to follow a healthy diet plan and keep up with it. Add in a hectic schedule, and your kid will look towards easy and convenient takeout food. However, several benefits of a healthy diet can positively influence and affect the overall well-being of your little one. 

A healthy diet for your child can help them maintain a healthy weight, sharpen minds, stabilize moods, and avoid several health problems. As children mature into adulthood, a healthy diet plays a role even in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. For instance, if your child has been diagnosed with a mental health condition, a nutritious diet prescribed by a dietitian can help them manage the symptoms and regain control of their minds and health.

How Do You Create a Healthy Diet for Your Children?

As parents, you must ensure that your children are well aware of a healthy diet and eating behavior. Kids require a nutritious and balanced diet from all three food groups — protein, whole grain products, and fruits and vegetables. They also need at least three meals per day and at least 1-3 snacks (morning, noon, and before bed). These snacks are just as important as the meals, and one can use diet supplements as snacks. The best types of foods include unprocessed and fresh items like home-cooked meals, meats, dairy, whole grains, and fresh vegetables and fruits. 

girl eating apple


  • Substitutes for Sugar Intake

You need to offer a healthy diet for weight loss to your children that do not contain sugar or other sugar substitutes. Intake of refined sugars (white sugar, fructose, sucrose, and glucose), brown sugar, syrups, molasses, and honey must be limited as well. Apart from contributing to excess calories, they also play a role in tooth decay.

Certain sugar substitutes like sucralose and aspartame do not cause tooth decay or add calories. However, they tend to be much sweeter than normal sugar and do not contain any nutrition. Consuming sugar substitutes will only develop a habit of eating and liking sweet food, which will hamper your efforts to make your kid adjust to vegetables and fruits.


  • Water and Fresh Fruit Juice

When your child is thirsty, you need to teach them to drink water, especially between snacks and meals. Make sure they don’t drink too much water during meals because it will make them feel sated and full; they might not finish their meals. Additionally, you can also offer a single serving of unsweetened juice (about 4-oz.) a day. However, your kid should develop a habit of eating actual fruits since they contain healthy fibers.


  • Sodium Intake

Sodium is one of the most important minerals that are required by the body to produce proper fluids. It also helps in the normal functioning of the muscles and nerves. However, excess sodium consumption can increase the risk of heart diseases by leading to high blood pressure.

Most commonly, sodium is found in salt. For a healthy diet for teens, the content of sodium in healthy foods needs to be as low as possible. Too much sodium in a child’s diet can often lead to preferring salty food, which leads to obesity in the future. It is recommended to opt for food that does not contain more than 15% DV (Daily Value) content. Additionally, you need to maintain an adequate intake of sodium according to the age of your children:

  • 0-6 months: 110 mg per day
  • 7-12 months: 370 mg per day
  • 1-3 years: 800 mg per day
  • 4-8 years 1,000 mg per day
  • 9-13 years: 1,200 mg per day
  • Above the age of 14 years: 1,500 mg per day

* One teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg, approximately.

Pay attention that some types of diet have too much sodium.


  • Fat Content in a Healthy Diet

Essential fatty acids like omega-6 and omega-3 are not made in the body. Hence, they need to come from healthy diet menu foods that contain good fats. When cooking, you should use vegetable oils like soybean, olive, and canola.

Healthy fats are also found in other food sources like mayonnaise, nut butter (like peanut butter), non-hydrogenated margarine, and salad dressings. However, some types of fats stay solid, even at room temperature. They contain more saturated and trans fats that raise the risk of developing heart diseases in the future.

You need to limit vegetable shortening, lard, hard margarine, and butter. Additionally, it is essential to read the labels and avoid saturated and trans fats found in store-bought products like donuts and cookies. Avoid processed meat like luncheon and wiener meat, since they contain a high concentration of nitrites (food preservatives), sodium (salt), and fat. 

However, diet food usually contains little fat.

What Is Your Job as a Parent?

As a parent, you must develop a healthy diet that contains all essential nutrients and minerals. Some healthy diet trends that you can use to encourage healthy eating habits in your kids are the following.


  • Become a Role Model

Children tend to follow the behavior of adults. This means that they will eat what you eat. You need to follow the tips mentioned above yourself. You will see that your child will enjoy your food as well.


  • Always Start Early

You should start instilling healthy eating habits as early as you can. Let your kids taste different things so that you understand what foods work and which ones do not.


  • Focus on an Overall Diet

Don’t focus on specific food groups but your kid’s eating patterns. Give them fresh products that are whole and minimally-processed. Avoid packaged foods at all costs. Keep telling them that a healthy diet is essential.


  • Do Not Force Them to Eat

You must not force your children to develop healthy eating habits. Let them take their time to get used to it. If they do not like something, keep introducing that food item in small quantities.


  • Set up Boundaries on Snacks

Your little ones should eat their snacks at a table, not in front of the television. Do not allow them to munch on the snacks directly from the package; instead, serve it in a bowl or plate.

Final Thoughts

The development of your children will wholly depend on what you make them eat. Next, using these healthy diet tips, you will be able to make mealtimes all about healthy foods and eating habits. This way, your children will follow a healthy lifestyle, even after they grow up. If you have any questions related to this article, you can drop them in the comment section below.

Thomas Nemel

Thomas was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was obese in childhood, and only at the age of 17, he began to actively fight it. With the help of specialists, his family, and best appetite suppressant he was successfully get rid of excess weight. Now he has got a strong background in fitness that he would like to share with the world.