Proper nutrition is essential to your child’s health. Three well-balanced meals each day that include lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products may prevent your 5-year-old from developing health conditions such as osteoporosis later in life. In addition, physical activity should be included in your child’s daily routine to reduce the chances of her being overweight. According to Baylor College of Medicine, an average 5-year-old typically needs about 40 calories per pound of body weight. Always speak with your child’s pediatrician prior to changing her diet.
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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for you and your child. Children who eat healthy well-balanced meals get the daily nutritional needs to help keep their weight under control, maintain lower blood-cholesterol levels and complain of fewer stomach aches. Additionally, eating breakfast helps in fueling the body throughout the day. Whole wheat toast, cereal with low-fat milk and fruit are all good sources of morning nutrition. This combination of foods may be served as a wholesome meal for your child or may be served individually with milk.
There are two types of grains. Whole grains and refined grains. Refined grains have been refined, which in turn removes all the nutrients from them. Once they have been refined, the nutrients are replaced with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it is best to avoid these types of grains; white breads, pasta and sugar are all sources of refined grains. Whole grains consist of whole wheat breads, oats, bran, fiber and barley. The recommended daily grain intake for a 5-year-old is 4 to 5 oz.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and are low in calories. Vitamins such as vitamin C are one of the most essential vitamins, as it protects your cells from oxidation. Citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of magnesium and calcium and is necessary for strong bones and teeth. Healthy well-balanced diets will provide your 5-year-old with adequate vitamin and mineral intake. Including fruits such as bananas with your child’s breakfast is a good way to start the day. The average 5-year-old needs five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Protein is essential in the building, function and maintenance of your muscles and body tissues. Meats are a good source of protein, iron and vitamin B. Iron is necessary for your body to transport oxygen to the cells of your body, while B vitamins are needed for energy and a healthy heart and nervous system. Your 5-year-old needs 3 to 4 oz. of lean meat daily.
Your body relies on calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth. In addition, dairy products provide protein. Low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheeses and yogurt are good sources of calcium for your child. KidsHealth states that the recommended daily amount of dairy products for a 5-year-old is 2 cups.