4 Tips for Helping Your Child Eat a Healthy Diet

When kids eat a healthy and balanced diet, it provides them with the nutrients that they need to grow and develop in a healthy way. However, it can be hard to know what and how to feed your kid sometimes. These four recommendations can help guide you in helping your kid eat a balanced and healthy diet.

  1. Eat the 5 food groups: Kids need to eat a balance of foods from the five food groups each day. The food groups include fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein. A good goal is to offer at least 3 food groups at each meal and at least 2 at each snack. Even if your child does not like a food or does not want to eat a food that you offer, continue offering it to them regularly. As they continue to try the food, they may begin to like it over time.

  2. Use appropriate portion sizes: Kids have smaller stomachs than adults and need smaller portion sizes. Use a resource such as My Plate (myplate.gov) to learn about portion sizes for kids.

  3. Choose healthier foods and drinks: Some foods within the food groups are healthier than other foods. For example, whole wheat bread is healthier than cookies are. Kids need to eat mostly healthy foods to get the nutrients that they need to grow and develop. Some easy swaps you can make to choose healthier foods include choosing whole grains over white grains, choosing whole fruits and vegetables over juice, and choosing low-fat dairy products once your kid is older than 2 years old. Offer your child plenty of water and limit the number of sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, or fruit drinks that they have.

  4. Set structured meals and snacks: Research shows that kids do better with a structured meal and snack schedule. Generally, kids need 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day. A schedule can help them eat more foods at meals and snacks and be more willing to try new foods.

The Utah WIC Program can help you with making healthy changes to you and your family's diet and lifestyle. The WIC Program serves pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children up to age 5. It provides healthy foods, health assessments, and nutrition counseling and education to families. To learn more about the WIC program, find a clinic near you, and apply to receive WIC benefits, visit www.wic.utah.gov

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Wednesday, 01 December 2021

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