nutrition - your kids are what they eat

 

It is now known that like adults, childhood obesity and overweight issues are on the rise.  It’s estimated that 1 in every 3 children are overweight or obese which is more than double what it was 30 years ago.  Clearly, we have a problem here in the U.S. that must be addressed before our children are put in any more risk.
                Many children who are overweight carry that into adulthood making it increasingly more difficult to overcome.  As they advance in age the likelihood that they will remain overweight or obese as adults goes from roughly 30% in preschool to 70-80% in the teen years.  That’s why developing healthy nutrition habits when they are young is so important.  It’s your chance to help them develop smart habits in their nutrition choices before they’re on their own and the choices are solely up to them.
                During the stages of youth nutrition is extremely important to your child’s health and development.  Depending on what stage your child is at their body requires certain nourishment to fuel their growth spurts.  We’re all familiar with the Food Pyramid that we were taught in school.  Though we may be aware of the 5 food groups (though in actuality there are 6), you must also know to implement them in our diets to get the portions right. 
                The Food Pyramid has been revamped with color coding to make using the pyramid easy for your kids as well as yourself.

The Basics
Every 5 years the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  It serves as a way for Americans to educate themselves on healthy nutrition and plan healthy diets.  They also do research to increase our knowledge in these areas as well as develop standards for healthy eating.
Calorie Intake:


Gender

Age

Light Activity

Moderately Active

Active

Child

2-3

1,000

1,000-1,400

1,000-1,400

Female

4-8

1,200

1,400-1,600

1,400-1,800

 

9-13

1,600

1,600-2,000

1,800-2,200

 

14-18

1,800

2,000

2,400

 

19-30

2,000

2,000-2,200

2,400

Male

4-8

1,400

1,400-1,600

1,600-2,000

 

9-13

1,800

1,800-2,200

2,000-2,600

 

14-18

2,200

2,400-2,800

2,800-3,200

 

19-30

2,400

2,600-2,800

3,000

 

 Vitamins:
HHS and the USDA found that there were some key vitamins that children on a whole were lacking in their diet.  These vitamins include;
Calcium, Potassium, Fiber, Magnesium, and Vitamin E

                The Food Groups for Everyday Diets
Making sure your child is eating the right foods in the right proportions for the right nutrients is a must.  Use our handy guideline to quickly see how much of each food group your child needs based on their age.  The suggested portions shown below are based on a child with a moderate activity level.

Vegetables (Green Color Coding)

  1. 2 - 3 years  old - 1 cup
  2. 4 - 8 years old - 1½ cups
  3. 9 - 13 years old (girls) - 2 cups
  4. 9 – 13 years old (boys) - 2½ cups 
  5. 14 – 18 years old (girls) - 2½ cups
  6. 14 – 18 years old (boys) - 3 cups

Fruits (Red Color Coding)

  1. 2 - 3 years  old - 1 cup
  2. 4 - 8 years old - 1½ cups
  3. 9 - 13 years old (girls) – 1 ½ cups
  4. 9 – 13 years old (boys) - 1½ cups 
  5. 14 – 18 years old (girls) - 1½ cups
  6. 14 – 18 years old (boys) - 2 cups

Meat and Protein (Purple Color Coding)

  1. 2 - 3 years  old – 2 ounces
  2. 4 - 8 years old – 3-4 ounces
  3. 9 - 13 years old (girls) – 5 ounces
  4. 9 – 13 years old (boys) – 5 ounces 
  5. 14 – 18 years old (girls) – 5 ounces
  6. 14 – 18 years old (boys) – 6 ounces

 Grains (Orange Color Coding)

  1. 2 - 3 years  old – 3 ounces
  2. 4 - 8 years old – 4-5 ounces
  3. 9 - 13 years old (girls) – 5 ounces
  4. 9 – 13 years old (boys) – 6 ounces 
  5. 14 – 18 years old (girls) – 6 ounces
  6. 14 – 18 years old (boys) – 7 ounces

Dairy (Blue Color Coding)

  1. 2 - 3 years  old - 2 cups
  2. 4 - 8 years old - 2 cups
  3. 9 - 13 years old (girls) - 3 cups
  4. 9 – 13 years old (boys) - 3 cups 
  5. 14 – 18 years old (girls) - 3 cups
  6. 14 – 18 years old (boys) - 3 cups

Fats, Oils and Sweets (Yellow Color Coding)
There are no set standards on portions for Fats, Oils and Sweets, though they should be very limited in children older than 2 years of age.  Fats and Oils are important in helping our bodies function properly, aiding in brain and organ development in children 0-2, helping our bodies absorb vitamins and nutrients as well as providing for increases in good cholesterol called HDL cholesterol.