Teaching Colorado children healthy eating habits
Editor’s note: Barbara Anderson is vice president of education for KinderCare Learning Centers, which operate more that 1,250 early childhood education and child care centers nationwide, 36 of which are in Colorado.Today’s working moms have less time to cook, they’re bombarded by fast food ads and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that more than half the adult population of the state is obese and 20 percent of the state’s children should lose weight. In this challenging environment, how can parents ensure that children are well nourished and they’re learning healthy eating habits?Attitudes formed in childhood help establish lifelong health habits, and here are some suggestions to make good family nutrition easier for parents.Children’s basic nutrition needs are similar to those of other family members, although amounts differ because of age. As a rule of thumb, an appropriate serving size for children ages one to six is about a tablespoon of each type of food for every year of the child’s age. Offer your child a variety of foods from the basic food groups. The new U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid for Children is a good source of information at http://www.usda.gov. By Barbara Anderson, Ed. D.While parents may be counting calories, children need fat in their diets to provide enough calories and nutrients. Don’t restrict fat for children under age two.Water is essential for children throughout the day. As a percentage of body weight, children have more water in their bodies than adults, so they can become dehydrated more quickly than adults.Serve meals and snacks on a consistent schedule. It’s hard for young children to eat enough in three meals to provide all the nutrients and calories they need.Set a good example. It’s important for your child to see you drinking water, eating healthy snacks and avoiding junk food.Find all this overwhelming? Anderson reassures parents. “Offer a variety of healthy foods and most children will eat what they need.” VT
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