3. Be a role model by eating healthy yourself. Children will follow the lead of the adults they see every day. Send the right message. Providing your body with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals helps your teeth, gums and immune system stay strong and wards off infection, decay and disease.
4. Avoid battles over food. Establish a predictable schedule of meals and snacks. Dont force kids to clean their plates. Doing so teaches them to override feelings of fullness. Dont bribe or reward kids with food. Avoid using dessert as the prize for eating the meal. Dont use food as a way of showing love. Give hugs instead.
5. Involve children in the process. Talk to them about making choices and planning a balanced meal. At the store, help your child look at food labels to begin understanding nutritional values. Let them help in the kitchen with age-appropriate tasks. Dont forget to praise them for jobs well done. Let them help prepare school lunches.
My Pyramid for Kids is a child-friendly version of the new My Pyramid Food Guidance System released on April 19, 2005. It encourages school children to make healthy eating choices and be more physically active every day.
View the USDA My Pyramid
Another great resource is USDA Team Nutrition with educational materials developed at the elementary school level to help children learn the MyPyramid food guidance system. Lesson plans for teachers are available in three levels: Level 1 (grades 1-2); Level 2 (grades 3-4); Level 3 (grades 5-6).
View USDA Team Nutrition
Caries (cavities) are among the most prevalent health problems facing American infants, children and adolescents. Frequent ingestion of sugars and other carbohydrates (eg, junk food, juices and acidic beverages) and prolonged contact of these substances with teeth are risk factors in the development of caries. Nutritious conscious parents can prevent cavities for their children by limiting or eliminating apple juice or any other high sugar content juice from their children's diet. Children at high risk for cavities should restrict their liquid intake to water and milk.
Parents with sports-minded children should limit the use of sugar laden sports drinks (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade). We recommend the use of electrolyte enhanced water (i.e. SmartWater).
Along with increasing caries risk, increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and snack foods also has been linked to obesity.
Healthy Foods Guide