Healthy Bodies = Healthy Minds
Q. True or False? Kids hate vegetables.
A. FALSE. Kids actually love veggies, fruits, and other healthy foods if they're served regularly. With one in three California children ages 2 to 5 being overweight or obese, it's important to give your child a healthy start to life by making nutritious foods available to them all day long.
Plus, healthy food is brain food. Learn more about how nutrition affects a child's brain development.
It's said the best things in life are free. That's certainly true with breast milk! Breast milk is the healthiest food you can give your baby — it has all the nutrients, calories, and fluid a newborn needs for the first six months of life and it's easy to digest. Although any amount of breastfeeding benefits a baby, it's recommended that mothers exclusively nurse their child for the first six months and continue to breastfeed up to a year if possible.
Breastfeeding can be challenging at times, especially in the early days. Talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant to help you troubleshoot problems or find alternatives that are good for you and your baby. If you choose not to or are unable to breastfeed, the two most common types of formula are made from cow's milk and soy. Only use formula that has added iron because it is essential for your baby's health. Iron deficiency can cause problems in overall development and learning abilities.
As a parent, you're the one buying groceries, preparing meals, and handing out snacks. A child also learns from watching his parents. If you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, it's more likely your child will too!
Can kids run before they walk? No, and it's the same with eating nutritious foods. The first step to healthy eating is knowing what's in the food you buy.
Nutrition labels provide information about nutrient content, such as the amounts of fat, sodium, and fiber in that food or beverage product. Use the nutrition label to see if it's a healthy choice for your family.
So, what does a healthy plate look like?
Divide your plate into three sections. Fill half of the plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of it with lean protein and the last quarter with whole-wheat carbohydrates. Keep meat portions small, about the size of the back of your child's fist.
Did you know that one can of soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar? All that sugar increases your child's risk of cavities and obesity. Make a healthy choice by offering water and milk to your child instead of sugary beverages like soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks.
Staying healthy means keeping your child at a healthy weight.
When your child is a baby, your pediatrician will keep a close eye on weight and height to make sure your child is growing properly.
When your child turns 2, your pediatrician will start charting your child's body mass index (BMI). This number helps the doctor decide if your child is underweight or overweight.
While a pediatrician or nurse is the best person to figure out your child's BMI, you can measure it at home using this formula from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.