In order to understand the importance of the food pyramid for kids, it is important to understand the issue of childhood obesity in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have produced statistics that declare approximately seventeen percent of children obese in the country. This can cause numerous issues (both emotional and physical) that can be prevented with healthy living.
The government recommended number of servings of various types of foods was represented in a pyramid for many years. Each tier offers a goal number of servings for the average American. Grains form the bottom tier with between six and eleven servings. Three to five serving of vegetables and two to three servings each of fruits come next. Finally dairy and protein are represented with two to three servings each. Use as little as possible of oils and fats.
In recent years, this recommendation has been deemed too simplified, as an appropriate diet is different for everyone. For example, more active children may require more complex carbohydrates and proteins whereas less active ones should not consume as many calories. In response to this issue, the government has released a new diagram for a balanced meal.
The new diagram does not include numbers of servings but allows an individual to cater to his own lifestyle and dietary needs. The image is a dinner plate on which the different types of foods are represented. The amount of the plate it takes up corresponds to the fraction of one’s daily caloric intake it should represent. For example, the first half of the plate contains fruits and vegetables in about a two to three ratio. Grains take up a little more than half of the remaining space with proteins filling in the rest. An accompanying glass stands for daily dairy.
If changing long term eating habits is the goal, parents should take an active role in their kids’ lives. They can prepare delicious foods that are low in calories but high in flavor in order to make healthy eating appealing. Such examples can include chicken breast, seasoned vegetables, and whole wheat pasta. By presenting these types of meals regularly, they imbibe the idea in their children that healthy eating is not a diet, but a lifestyle.
This low calorie diet should also be balanced with considerable physical activity. It is recommended at children exercise for thirty minutes a day. If they can find a sport, activity, or hobby that they enjoy, they will not only be fit, they will be happy kids. Finding something out of the box, such as rock climbing, roller skating, of swimming, can make the exercise seem less like a chore.
Understanding the food pyramid for kids is essential in order to be healthy and happy. Good recipes that are low in calories are easy to find and exercising can be fun. With these two factors, kids are sure to live a long life.
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