Three Major Macro-Nutrients For Healthy Kids
Eating healthily is important for your child’s growth and development, but how do you create a balanced diet for healthy kids? You can start by understanding the three macro-nutrients your child needs – carbohydrates, protein and fat.
What You Need to Know About Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat
The major source of energy for your child is carbohydrates. These are used by every cell in the body and can be divided into simple and complex carbohydrates. It’s important to know that there are healthy and unhealthy options of both. For instance, fruit contains healthy simple carbohydrates, while sugar does not. White bread is an example of unhealthy complex carbs, while brown rice is considered a healthier option.
Fats are important for your child’s developing brain. They also give the body energy and help it to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Meat, nuts and milk are just some of the food items that contain fats. Steer clear of the trans-fats found in most processed foods though, as they raise bad cholesterol.
Protein gives your child’s body essential building blocks, called amino acids. These are needed to help the body grow and are especially important in children’s diets. Proteins are found in both animal and plant sources. Animal proteins such as milk, cheese, fish and chicken provide all the essential amino acids (these are the building blocks of protein and are called essential as the body can’t produce them on its own).
Carbohydrates, protein and fat all form part of a well-balanced diet for healthy kids. Your child needs all of the above to fuel the body, but not all food is good for them. It’s important to find the right balance of these essential nutrients. Too much fat, for example, can cause health problems. Especially the kind you find in junk food. Fizzy drinks that are loaded with sugar can make your child overweight and even too much protein can lead to obesity.
A diet that is made up of mostly whole foods, which are natural and not processed, is your best option. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and even brown rice, brown bread or wholewheat bread are all examples of nutritious food that will provide your child with everything they need. A great idea is to have some fun preparing easy, healthy recipes for kids together, so you can teach them sensible eating habits from an early age.