2012年8月31日 星期五

Healthy Food Choices for Kids - Understanding USDA's New Interactive Food Guidance System


A mother is always concerned about her family's health and well-being. Making healthy food choices for kids and the whole family is one of the major decisions that she makes every day as healthy food eating habits offer many beneficial effects on their overall well-being.

When laying out a healthy food plan, follow the Food Pyramid. It is the basic guide to choose the right kinds of foods and benefit from them. Looking at the USDA's new interactive Food Guidance System, you will notice how different it is from the old hierarchical Food Pyramid. The 6 major types of foods are graphically listed in different colorful variations. When you click on each food group, the recommended daily servings are clearly defined for all age groups following a 30 - 60 minute moderate physical activity daily.

Grain Group

The grain group includes carbohydrate-rich foods like Bread, Tortillas, Muffins, Pasta and Noodles. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 need to eat at least 5 to 7 servings of grains each day. Depending on their gender, size, activity level and growth rate, some children need more or less servings.

Vegetable Group

The vegetable group lists down all the Folic and Vitamin-rich vegetables and root crops. Vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, green leafy veggies contain high levels of nutrients that kids need to support their active lifestyle. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 are advised to eat at least 4 to 6 servings of veggies every day. This means more creativity and patience for mothers to create vegetable dishes.

Fruit Group

We all know how beneficial this food group is. Fruits and vegetables go together in promoting good healthy eating habits in kids. Their vibrant colors and sweet tastes are good factors in making your kids eat the recommended servings every day. Fruit group includes the whole, fresh, canned or extracted fruits. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 are advised to take no less than 3 to 4 servings every day.

Milk Group

Milk is undoubtedly one of the best foods for kids. It is one of the ready sources of calcium that's essential to your kids' growth and development. Almost all kids love milk, so you will not have much problem with this. Other sources of calcium include milk products such as different kinds of cheese, yoghurt, pudding and ice cream. Children ages 7 to 10 and 11 to 13 are recommended to take 3 servings of any of these milk items every day.

Meat Group

The meat group is composed of meat and poultry products like beef, chicken, veal, fish, eggs, peanut butter, dried peas, nuts or beans. Kids aging 7 to 13 should only eat 2 servings of meat items every day.

Oils and Others

Although oils and extra foods do not belong to any group, nutritionists recommend that our kids need to take the required amounts of them every day for good health. Beneficial oil sources are fish, nuts and vegetables.




The new food pyramid for kids is only a guide but it helps us decide what healthy food for kids are best and how much should we give to them to help them develop optimally.





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