Nutrition refers to everything that we eat and drink. The body uses nutrients from food to function properly and stay healthy. A healthy or balanced diet contains the right amounts of all the food groups. It includes fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and meat. It does not include too much or too little of any kind of food. A well-balanced diet combined with regular physical activity – forms the cornerstone of good health.
The building blocks for a healthy diet include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. It is important that all six are consumed regularly. No single food is the best source of all nutrients, hence eating an assortment of foods increases the probability of obtaining sufficient essential nutrients.
Research has helped recognize that the foods we choose to eat can influence how we feel, our ability to concentrate, our resistance to infections and the risk of developing diseases. A balanced diet is thus needed not only to maintain good health but to promote a better quality of life from birth to old age.
A healthy and nutritious diet is one of the most important factors for ensuring that a child reaches ideal development. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, infants are expected to triple their weight by age 1, making it the most rapid period of growth in human life. Growth rate slows down after age 1, and may happen in spurts throughout childhood, adolescence, and puberty.
Benefits of good nutrition for children
- Healthy weight-height ratio
- Mental well-being
- Ability to learn and concentrate
- Strong bones and muscles
- Adequate energy levels
- Ability to fight off sickness and disease
- Faster wound healing
- Easier recovery from illness or injury
- Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, and bone diseases in the future
Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased vulnerability to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity. Some health problems associated with poor nutrition can be serious with long term effects, especially as a child grows into an adult. Encouraging healthy eating habits among children will give them vital tools for a lifetime of healthy living.
Nutrition: Healthy Eating for kids. (2015,March). Retrieved from: