As a parent, you are naturally concerned for your child’s health and want them to be healthy. An important part of your kid’s health is making sure that they are eating a balanced diet. A growing problem in the United States is child obesity.
According to healthiergeneration.org “Childhood obesity has almost tripled in children and teens in the past 30 years.” In 2011, the state of Utah actually had the lowest percentage of obese or overweight children ages 10-17 in the entire nation at only 22.1%. With kids having more demanding school schedules and some PE programs being removed, it’s difficult for our children to find time to exercise and play which is also contributing to the substantial increase in overweight children.
Something that we can do to help children with maintaining a healthy weight is to watch their diet. School lunches tend to have the reputation of not being the most healthy meal and a lot of parents like to prep lunches for their kids. I have found some resources to help you prep meals that have all the nutrients your child needs to make it easier for you!
Resources For You
At EatingWell.com you will find guides with almost everything you would need to ensure that your child has a healthy diet. It has recipes, weight loss foods, special diets, meal plans, and an overall healthy eating guide for kids!
At Mayoclinic.org you will find a nutrition basics guide with foods that you should consider adding to your child’s diet because they are nutrient-dense which helps with overall development and growth. They also have a calorie guide for kids they have grouped into ages 2-3, 4-8, 9-13, and 14-18. They have guides for boys and girls, and the guides are intricate. These guides break down how much protein, fruit, vegetables, grains, and dairy your child should have by the cup or ounces. This is a great resource when you are starting to prep your meals to ensure that your kid has a balanced diet.
My third resource for helping you ensure that your child has a healthy and balanced diet is a container called Bentgo! Bentgo creates lunch boxes that are portioned out for you with room for a whole salads, dressings, and basically anything you can think of! They are dishwasher friendly, BPA friendly, and come with a 2-year warranty!
The final resource I am going to share with you is called choosemyplate.gov. It is a great resource because it allows kids to play different games and learn about health in a fun way. It can also be helpful for parents! I even learned quite a bit for toying around with some of the games, and I learned things about nutrition I didn’t even know!
Oral Health and a Balanced Diet
Now that we have covered what it takes for our kids to have a balanced diet let’s learn about the benefits that a balanced diet can have on your child’s oral health.
The following facts come from colgate.com at their Oral Care Center.
The article starts out by saying:
“Many dentists are concerned that their patients are consuming record numbers of sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks that affect their teeth. These foods generally have little if any nutritional value and over time they can take a toll on teeth.”
I know that when I was a kid, I never wanted to drink water. I always wanted soda, and I didn’t care about my health. All I knew was that soda tasted a lot better than water. My mom tried explaining to me roughly 20 million times about the importance of our oral health and that soda weakens our teeth. I am so glad she didn’t let me have too much because I would regret not having the healthy mouth that I do today. So make sure you are limiting the number of sugary drinks your child is having. They may fight like crazy now, but they are going to be so grateful in the future.
The article then goes on to say:
“Eating patterns and food choices among children and teens are important factors that affect how quickly youngsters may develop tooth decay. When bacteria come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Almost all foods, including milk and vegetables, contain some type of sugar; however; they are a necessary part of a healthy diet because many of them also contain important nutrients. To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Added sugars often are present in soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries.
If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. This may contribute to periodontal disease, a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Although poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease directly, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and can be more severe in people with nutrient-poor diets.”
If a healthy-balanced diet for your child didn’t seem important before reading this article, hopefully, it’s important now! The ability for your mouth and gums to fight off infection is incredibly important for your mouth’s future well-being. And developing periodontal disease is something that can affect how healthy your bones are. It goes further than just your oral health.
I hope that you found some value reading this article today. If you did, I am sure that someone else would too. So make sure to share it with a friend or on Facebook if you liked it.
What was your favorite snack food when you were a kid?