Understanding Child Nutrition
Taking some time to understand the basics of child nutrition, from newborns to teens, can help you avoid common mistakes, make healthy choices, and teach your kids healthy eating habits.
Best Foods for Kids
Although you don’t want to get in the habit of forcing your kids to eat foods they don’t like or make them “clean” their plates, there are lots of healthy foods kids like. Parents often overlook these healthy foods and go straight to what they think are more “kid-friendly foods,” such as hot dogs, pizza, french fries, chicken nuggets, juice and soda.
Best Foods for Kids Quiz
Take a quiz about the best foods for kids to see if you know everything you should to help make sure your kids are eating healthy foods and avoiding junk food.
Healthy Lunches for Kids
Learn how to encourage your kids to eat a healthy lunch at school, including lunch ideas for your child’s lunch box that encourage good eating habits.
Restaurants – Eating Healthy for Kids
As hard a time as some parents have getting their kids to eat healthy at home, it can seem almost impossible when you take them out to eat, especially if they usually choose foods from the kids’ menu. Learn how to help your kids eat healthy when eating out at restaurants.
Folate – Folate Rich Foods
Folate is an important vitamin, which most parents are aware of because of the association of low folate levels with premature babies and birth defects. Of course, kids need folate too. Learn about folate rich foods, so that you can make sure your kids are getting enough folate in their diet.
Fast Food – Fast Food at Home
But even those parents who avoid going to fast food restaurants too often typically overlook the fact that their kids eat too much fast food at home, including frozen pizza, hot dogs, french fries, fruit juice, and soda. Learn how to eat healthier meals at home and avoid fast food at home.
Whole Grains – Whole Wheat Bread and Whole Grain Cereals
According to the food pyramid, at least half of the grains that kids eat each day should be whole grains, such as 100% whole wheat bread. Learn how to choose and encourage your kids to eat more whole grain foods, including brown rice, whole grain pasta and whole grain cereals.
Printable Food Diary
A food diary can be a great way to keep track of the calories your kids are eating, especially if they are overweight, and to make sure that they are getting enough fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals, etc., from all of the different food groups.
Calories – Calories in Food
Although you usually shouldn’t have to count calories each and every day, it can be helpful to know about the calories in the foods your kids eat. This is especially important if your child is already overweight.
Nutrition Facts Quiz
Do your kids eat healthy foods? Can you even recognize which foods are nutritious and which are less than healthy? This Nutrition Facts Quiz will test your ability to spot healthy and unhealthy foods by reviewing the Nutrition Facts section of the food label of popular foods that you may see in the grocery store.
Food Coloring
Food colorings have been used throughout history, although until recently, most food colorings were natural and didn’t include the artificial food dyes that are commonly used today. It is these artificial food colorings that are causing some controversy now, being blamed for causing ADHD and other behavior problems. Learn if you should avoid foods with artificial food coloring.
Food Portion Sizes
Parents often have a lot of time figuring out how much to feed their children, whether it is a toddler who doesn’t seem to be eating enough, or an older child who is already overweight and is eating too much. Understanding the normal portion sizes, which depend on your child’s age, can help to make sure your child is getting the right amount to eat.
As you learn about healthy food and avoiding junk food, you can really put those lessons to work at the grocery store when you buy groceries. Learn how to make a healthy grocery list for your family and which groceries you might want to keep out of your shopping cart.
Food Groups
The food pyramid encourages kids to eat foods from each of the food groups each day, but that only works if you and your kids understand what the food groups actually are. Learn about the five food groups and what nutrients your child can get from each.
Eating with a Spoon and Fork
A photo of a toddler feeding himself with a spoon, a milestone most children reach between 13 and 21 months, although they may still be messy.
Organic Food
Parents who are worried about the possible presence of pesticides, antibiotics, and even growth hormone in the foods that their kids eat have been turning to organic food for their family. Learn whether organic food is safer or more nutritious and whether you should be buying organic food for your kids.
Healthy Food
As parents work to avoid junk food, they often struggle to find alternative foods for their kids to eat. Learn to choose healthy food for your kids to eat.
If there was one thing that parents could change about their child’s eating habits, it would usually be to get them to eat more vegetables. Learn about current recommendations for eating vegetables, lists of vegetables, vegetables recipes, and how to get your kids to eat more vegetables.
Whole Foods
Eating more whole foods is a good way to replace many of the processed snacks and foods that have a lot of extra sugar, fat (including trans fat),salt, and other things added to them and a lot of good things taken out, like fiber.
Junk Food
It is generally recognized that kids eat too much junk food, which is likely contributing to the current childhood obesity epidemic. Learn how to recognize and avoid junk food from your child’s diet.
Probiotics for Kids
Probiotics seem like they are the next “new thing” in infant and child nutrition. Should you give your child probiotics as a supplement, from yogurt, or infant formula?
Reading Food Labels
Learn how to read food labels so that you can choose foods that will provide your family with a nutritious and balanced diet.
Healthy Snacks for Kids
In addition to their three regular meals, kids often get quite a few calories from the snacks they eat throughout the day. Make sure your kids are eating healthy snacks, including low-fat, low-calorie foods such as fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
Low Fat Foods
As you learn to avoid high fat foods for all other children, it is just as important to learn to choose low fat foods as part of your family’s healthy diet. In addition to food labeled fat-free and low fat, healthy low fat foods include most fruits and vegetables.
High-Fat Foods
Parents are getting used to the idea that there are certain foods that they should encourage their kids to eat and others that they should avoid. Of course, this usually means avoiding high fat foods.
High Fiber Foods
Review these lists of high fiber foods to find healthy foods for your child, and learn which foods are good sources of fiber, including many fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), breads, and cereals.
High Calorie Foods
Review this list of high calorie foods to avoid, especially if your kids are overweight, and some you might want to encourage your kids to eat if they are poor eaters and underweight and you are trying to boost their calories.
Calorie Calculator
Our Calorie Calculator will help you determine how many calories that you and your kids need each day.
Iron Rich Foods
Review this list of iron rich foods so that you can give your kids at least two or three foods that have a lot of iron in them each day and avoid iron deficiency anemia.
Foods High in Salt
Avoiding foods high in salt is not on top of the list for most parents, but maybe it should when you consider the possible link between obesity and high salt diets and the risk of high blood pressure.
Review why children and teens should not get caffeine in their diet and which drinks have caffeine in them and healthier caffeine free alternatives.
Food High in Potassium
Potassium is an important mineral that some parents look to increase in their children’s diet, especially if they start complaining of things like growing pains. Learn which foods are high in potassium to help make sure your kids are getting enough of this important mineral in their diet.
Protein Rich Foods
Review common protein rich foods that your kids may be eating and learn if your children are getting enough protein in their diet.
Parenting Tips
Submit your parenting tips for coping with common parenting issues and problems related to child nutrition. Have you had to deal with a picky eater, a child with food allergies, or a junk food junkie? What works for you?
Soda and Drink Guidelines
Healthy drink choices for your family, which you can also start at home to set a good example, might include drinking low fat milk, water, limited amounts of 100% fruit juice, and avoiding soda, fruit drinks, and other high sugar, high calorie drinks.
Raisins – Health Food or Junk Food?
Depending on who you ask, you might hear raisins referred to as the perfect snack for kids or “nature’s candy” or as just another junk food that increases their risk of getting cavities. Review whether or not you should let your kids eat raisins.
Diet and Constipation
Review common causes of constipation and how you can prevent and treat your child’s constipation with simple changes to your child’s diet.
2005 Dietary Guidelines
Review the new Dietary Guidelines to help people make better food choices and live healthier lives.
Eating Fruits and Vegetables
Review why eating fruits and vegetables are important and how you can get your kids to eat more of them.
Child Nutrition By The Book
These ‘Child Nutrition By The Book’ guidelines can help you to make healthy choices when planning your family’s diet.
Dietary Guidelines and the ABC’s of Nutrition
These Dietary Guidelines from the USDA offer sound advice that will help to promote your health and reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis.
Leftover Halloween Candy
Review what to do with your child’s leftover Halloween candy so that you and your kids aren’t eating and picking at it for weeks and weeks, which may lead to an extra 3 or 4 pound weight gain going into the holiday season.
Vitamin D Supplements for Kids
Vitamin D is now again being recommended for infants who are exclusively breastfed or who aren’t drinking enough infant formula or milk.
Eggs and Child Nutrition
I am worried about my kids also getting high cholesterol. Should I let them eat eggs? How many eggs can my kids eat each week?
Children’s Vitamins
What to know before you buy vitamins for your children. Important vitamins and minerals include iron, calcium, fluoride, and Vitamin A, C and D.
Fish and Mercury
I am pregnant and have heard warnings about eating fish. Is it safe to eat fish while I am expecting? Is it safe for my toddler to eat tuna fish?
Fruit Juice – How Much Is Too Much?
Drinking too much fruit juice can contribute to obesity, the development of cavities (dental caries), diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain. Learn about the AAP recommendations on juice consumption for infants and children.
Fruits and Vegetables
How many fruits and vegetables should my 3 and 8 year old children be eating each day?
Toddler Milk and Calcium Requirements
My 14 month old has a milk intolerance. He has been on a soy formula, because he has diarrhea every time that we tried to give him a cow’s milk based formula. He also had diarrhea when we recently tried to introduce regular cow’s milk. Does he really need to drink milk?
Food Allergies and Children
Food allergies affect up to 6% of children and can cause serious and even life threatening reactions. Learn about allergic reactions, the most common foods that cause allergies in children (eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and wheat), having multiple allergies and about food labeling to avoid foods with ingredients that your child is allergic to.
Kids and Low Fat Diets
Researchers predict that nearly half of all children in North and South America will be overwieght by 2010. One-third are already considered overweight. How can we lower the fat in children’s diets and help them lead healthier lives?
Bright Futures Nutrition Resources
Offers age appropriate nutrition guidelines to provide your children with a healthy diet. Includes information about high blood pressure, iron deficiency anemia, eating disorders, overweight children, vegetarian diets, and sports nutrition.
Children’s Nutrition Reseach Center
Facts and Answers from the CNRC, including information ranging from anemia and day care nutrition, to vegetarianism and dietary supplements.
Vegetarian Health & Nutrition Information
The health benefits of a plant-based diet are well documented, but whatever your dietary choices, we all need to make sure we have an adequate intake of essential nutrients. This section will help you ensure your diet is balanced and provides information about specific nutrients as well as special needs.
Formula Feeding and Newborn Nutrition
Helpful information for parents who have chosen to bottlefeed their babies.
Eat Right from the American Dietetician Association
The ADA web site, with nutrition tips, fact sheets, dieting help, and other nutrition resources, including position statements and how to find a registered dietician in your area.
Family Food Zone
Tips to get your family eating right, with ideas for quick meals, and fun recipes for kids.
KidFood – Activities With Your Kids
Activities for parents and their children to help promote healthy nutrition, including using the food guide pyramid, shopping, cooking and choosing foods together, and growing plants.
Kids Eat Great
How to get kids to eat great and love it, with healthy eating habits for children of all ages, a nutrition newsletter, and tips for eating a healthy diet for kids and parents.
NNCC Nutrition Guide
From the National Network for Child Care, information about common nutrition issues, food related activities, breastfeeding basics, meals and snacks and food safety.
Fruits and Veggies More Matters
Fruits & Veggies–More Matters is a national public health initiative created to encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables–fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice.
Nutrition in the Fast Lane
Detailed nutrition information on meals your children may eat at many popular fast food restaurants. Does a Double Whopper with Cheese really have over 1000 calories?
School Food Tool Kit
Advice on how to improve school foods and beverages.
USDA Center for Nutrition
A guide to the new food guide pyramids, with dietary guidelines and food plans.

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