If you have been around young children at all, most likely you know all about picky eaters. Sometimes it’s alright to be picky with the food that you choose. But, when does that picky eating become a concern? Dr. Safiat Amuwo, an OSF HealthCare pediatrician, encourages parents to give their children a well balanced diet, especially during their childhood years when they are still growing.
According to the FDA, children need to incorporate essential nutrients like deitary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium in their diets, but most children aren’t getting enough of it. The FDA also encourages you to limit some nutrients, like sugars, sodium, and saturated fats. Fruits and vegetables are also important, as the USDA says that kids should get around one to two cups of fruit and one to two and a half cups of vegetables per day, depending on their age.
Dr. Amuwo asks parents to check labels on fruit juices, because not all fruit juice is really good for you. She encourages parents to stick to 100% juice as it doesn’t contain those unwanted added sugars. Ideally, water is the best beverage for your child to keep them hydrated. Vegetables are sometimes not a child’s favorite, but there are ways to bypass that.
As far as child’s bone health, a child doesn’t necessarily need to be consuming milk by the gallon, but the USDA does recommend children get about 2-2/12 cubs of dairy per day, as it is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals but also aids in bone growth.
If your child picks at their plate or is always snacking, Dr. Amuwo says that there is a way to make those meal times better where you can have your child focused on their food.
Dr. Amuwo says if you can make healthy eating fun, it can make the child enjoy it more. If you are worried your child isn’t getting the proper nutrients throughout the day, make an appointment with their pediatrician to discuss your concerns and come up with a plan.