n Healthy Diet n
Parents have a lot of questions about what their
kids should eat. A healthy diet helps keep your
child healthy now and builds good habits for the
future. The goal is to provide high-quality nutrition
while avoiding excess calories, which could lead
to obesity. Your doctor will monitor your child’s
growth and nutrition at each office visit. Be sure
to ask the doctor if you have any questions about
this important issue.
What’s a healthy diet for my child?
Children of all ages need a balanced diet, including all
the different food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy
products, and meats/proteins. Fats and sweets should be
limited. As your child grows, the number of servings of
each food will gradually increase.
No diet is perfect for every child. The best diet is one that
provides a good variety of foods, with enough calories
to support your child’s growth and energy needs. A diet
that provides too many calories, and especially too many
fats and sweets, puts your child at risk of becoming over-
weight or obese. Providing a healthy diet in childhood will
build good eating habits that will last throughout your child’s
What foods are included
in a healthy diet?
For children (and adults), a healthy diet includes a good
variety of foods from the following groups:
Grains,such as bread, cereals, and pasta. Whole grains
are best: whole-wheat bread is better than white bread,
and oatmeal is better than boxed cereals.
Vegetables.Give a good mix of dark-green vegetables,
like spinach or broccoli, and orange/yellow vegetables,
Fruits,such as apples, bananas, oranges, raisins. Give
lots of fresh fruit, not just fruit juices. Many fruit juices
have added sugar, resulting in unnecessary calories.
Milk. Milk and other dairy foods (such as yogurt and
cheese) provide calcium for growing bones. In children
under 2, too much milk (more than 20 to 24 ounces per
day) increases the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Meats. Lean meats (not too much fat) are best. This cat-
egory also includes eggs, fish, beans, and tofu.