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Proper Nutrition and Healthy Food

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Proper nutrition

 Proper nutrition entitles eating the right amount and right kind of foods. Eating right is the most basic way of having a healthy lifestyle. Having a balanced diet ensures the right amount of energy needed by the body in order to work.

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Poor maternal nutrition may limit the growth and intelligence potential of the child from the moment of birth
Children whose own diets lack essential nutrients show inadequate physical growth.
A lack of energy and stamina prevents children from learning at their best intellectual level.

As may as 50% of American children are obese today
Children who eat too many carbohydrates and become obese may develop motor skills slower than other children because physical movements are more tiring for them.
Nutrition also plays a vital role in the body’s  susceptibility to disease because poor nutrition limits the body’s ability to resist infection
Poor nutrition also plays an important role in the development of chronic illness.
Dietary habits have cumulative effects, for instance, although heart disease is not the leading cause of death for children, the arterial changes that cause it begins at childhood.


Eating a variety of Foods

Choices from all food pyramid groups- dairy, meat and poultry, fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains- should be ideally included in the diet everyday
It is also important to vary choices within each group and recognize that not all foods within the group are nutritionally equivalent.

Figure 1.1.The food pyramid according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

Balancing food intake with physical activity- maintains and improves weight

Although the tendency for obesity maybe inherited, being overweight in early life may also play a significant role
Parents need to be certain that children receive all nutrients they need for substantial growth they are undergoing
It is also important that children are not over fed.
Balancing a lifestyle of physical activities with right nutrition for children reduces the chance of obesity.

Choose a diet with a plenty of Grain products, vegetables and fruits

Foods with starch and fiber are more beneficial for gastrointestinal function than processed foods.
Fiber is known to lower the incidence of a variety of illness such as constipation.
Fiber can be included foods as early as preschooler’s years in the form cereals and raw fruits such as apples.

Choosing a diet that is low in fat (saturated fat and cholesterol)

Fat intake does not need to be restricted in the first two years of life.
Fat intake should only be 30% both in children and adult
Substituting whole milk for nonfat milks
Decreasing the consumption of eggs and other high cholesterol sources and reducing the consumption of fatty meats.

Choose a diet moderate in sugars

Too much sugar in the diet can both contribute to dental caries and obesity.
Refined sugars such as that used in soft drinks, prepared foods, candies and chocolate represents “empty” calories: it is high in calories yet provides no essential nutrients.
Although children need adequate carbohydrates for energy, families can give their children a good start by preventing excessive sugar intake.

Choose a diet Moderate in salt and sodium

It is helpful to assess the diet of school age children and check whether they are eating a diet heavier in salt than necessary because of many salted junk foods nowadays.



Protein is the major component of bones, hair and muscles
It is responsible for a wide variety of essential functions in the body
It essential for growth that is why protein intake is crucial for children.
Complete proteins contain all amino acids and incomplete proteins do not.


·         It is the main fuel of the body to supply energy, which is essential to the functioning of most of the body systems. This is the reason why carbohydrates is important to infants and toddlers, whose brain cells are actively growing

·         Starches supplies sustained energy while sugars supplies an immediate but short term source of energy


·         Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for specific metabolic actions in cells.

·         They are essential in the production of energy

·         For children the sources of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, K, and E) are mainly fortified dairy products, fortified cereals and plant oils and fish oils.

·         Water soluble vitamins (B complex and C) are not stored well in the body that is why it must be taken daily to maintain effective levels in the blood.

Vitamins Essential for health

Selected Dietary sources
Function in the Body
Results of Deficiency
Fat soluble
A (retinol)
Liver, carrots, spinach
Important for night vision and corneal integrity and growth
Keratinization of the eye (xerophthalmia) and blindness
Egg yolk, margarine, salmon, fortified milk, fortified cereals
Regulates absorption of calcium and phosphorous for bone growth
Rickets (bone deformity) in growing children
Margarine, corn oil, peanuts (not for children < 3 years)
An anti oxidant that protects red blood cells from destruction by oxygen
In immature infants, severe anemia from destruction of red blood cells
Cabbage, spinach, pork, best source: Green leafy vegetables
Aids in blood clotting (synthesis of prothrombin)
Bleeding from lack of sufficient clotting factors
Water soluble
B complex: Thiamin
Wheat, germ, yeast, pork
Important for use of glucose in cells
Beriberi, a disease that causes nerve paralysis
Beef, chicken, liver, avocados, milk
Breaks down fatty acids and amino acids for energy
Red swollen tongue, inflamed eyes, fissured lips
Peanuts, rice bran, liver
Converts glucose to energy, involved in carbohydrates, protein fat metabolism
Pellagra (diarrhea, mental confusion, dermatitis, death)
B6 (pyridoxine)
Liver, herring, salmon, chicken, fish, pork, egg
Metabolizes amino acids and glucose
Neuritis, depression, nausea and vomiting
B12 (cobalamin)
Lamb, beef kidney, egg yolks, animal products
Blood formation: DNA and RNA synthesis, myelin formation; carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism
Megaloblastic anemia (large, non functioning red blood cells)
Folic acid (Folacin)
Liver, asparagus, bran
Red and white cell structure
Poor red cell formation
C (ascorbic acid)
Broccoli, collards, citrus fruits
Collagen structure, antioxidant
Weakness, easy bleeding, joint pain
Adapted: Pilliteri, A. (2003). Maternal and Child Nursing 4th edition. (p780)


·         This are necessary to build new cells and regulate body process

·         Minerals such as calcium are crucial for bone development especially in infants and children.


Selected Dietary sources
Function in the body
Milk, hard cheese
Formation of bone and teeth; for muscle contractility
Milk, meats
Formation of bone and teeth; aids use of glucose
Table salts
Regulates fluid volume and ph
Table salts
Formation of hydrochloric acid, regulates body fluid with sodium
Meat, dry fruits
Essential for electrical conduction in the muscle therefore in the heart action
Milk, meat eggs
Essential for protein formation and cell growth
Cocoa, nuts, green leafy vegetables
Relaxation of the muscles after contraction
Sea foods, dairy products, iodized salt
Formation of thyroxine and regulation of metabolic rate
Meats, fish, dried fruits, nuts, fortified cereals
Formation of hemoglobin transport of oxygen to body cells
Nuts, raisins, legumes
Formation of collagen and nerve fiber
Fluoridated water
Reduces dental caries and demineralization of the bones
Meats, eggs, seafood
Formation of eyes, male reproductive organs, insulin and taste sensation
Nuts, legumes, grains
Formation of enzymes
Adapted: Pilliteri, A. (2003). Maternal and Child Nursing 4th edition. (p781)

What are FAD diets?

·         FAD diets are fashionable or trendy diets that may or may not help weight loss.

·         These diets should be cautioned and medical opinions need are required first before engaging in such diets

·         This diets are weight-loss plans that only last for a short time

·         FAD diets are diets which people, who desperately want to lose weight, follow. This diets are unhealthy and unbalanced when it comes to the normal nutritional intake.

·         FAD diets can be harmful to children especially at an early age as this limits the intake of essential vitamins, minerals and other foods that are essential to their growth and development.

·         This diets are popular to teenagers nowadays without these knowing that this can cause serious health problems

FAD diets problem:

            This diets only provide short term results and the person engage in this is deprived of the essential nutrients that is needed for the body to function normally, that is why it causes problems such as:

Ø  Dehydration

Ø  Weakness and fatigue

Ø  Nausea and headaches

Ø  Constipation

Ø  Inadequate vitamins and minerals in the body

How to respond to this?

Ø  By providing children with a well balanced meal.

Ø  It is important that the parents make sure that their child enjoys the food that is prepared for them

Ø  Provide the child with food preferences and choices that he/she would enjoy eating, as much as possible have the child help in preparing this meals.

Ø  Let the child eat when he/she is hungry

Ø  Let the child eat a regular meals, this includes having breakfast, lunch and dinner with plenty of water

Ø  Keep the food such as soft drinks, cakes and other fatty snack in small amounts but do not totally dismiss it, because the child may feel that you are depriving him/her of eating, just keep this foods within minimal amounts

Ø  If concerned about the child’s weight, do not totally cut the foods that he/she is eating instead regulate it.

Ø  Healthy eating habit for the child with physical activity will keep the child fit and maintain a desirable weight.

Young people nowadays may have pressures in looking slim or maintaining a desirable weight that is why they engage on diets or use of diet product. Even if the incidence for obese children is increasing restricting diets such as Fad diets is not the solution for these cases. It is still better to minimize the or cut down the fatty food intake of children together with increased  physical activity in order to loose weight effectively and safely.

Parents should keep in mind the importance of consulting first with their physicians regarding the condition of the child before allowing or engaging any diet.

Parents of teenagers and children who are overweight need to consider a physician first before engaging or allowing their child to go on any diet plan.

It is important that parents keep in mind that proper nutrition ensures their child’s proper growth and development.


Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (2004) How do Fad Diets affects kids?. 2 June 2008 from


Department of Human Services (2007). Fad diets won’t work- teenagers. Go for your life. 2 June, 2008 from


Pillitteri, A., (2003). Maternal and Child Nursing: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family 4th edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins


Cite this Proper Nutrition and Healthy Food

Proper Nutrition and Healthy Food. (2016, Sep 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/proper-nutrition/

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