Your child’s health is in your hands. A healthy diet can improve their physical and mental health and help make them more confident and responsible. It can also help them develop their own healthy habits. Healthy meals can be a great way to introduce new foods or help children eat a balanced diet. Studies have shown that children who eat high-calorie diets tend to be more prone to overeating and gain weight because high-calorie foods tend to stimulate the body to burn calories faster, leaving less energy in the body to be stored as fat. Food is one of the most important things a parent could do to support a child’s healthy development. When children eat the right amount of healthy nutrition and avoid unhealthy ones, they will be at their best. This article will go through why it is vital to keep your child fed with whole, natural foods.
Impact of junk food on a child’s body
A study conducted at Cornell University has shown that kids exposed to junk food regularly become overweight and unhealthy at a much younger age. They have a higher chance of being obese, exhibit signs of asthma, and are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with high blood pressure. Some of the most significant risk factors of overeating junk include:
High risk of obesity
It is commonly accepted that junk food is one of the leading causes of the current obesity epidemic. There is no doubt that the rising obesity rate among children is a worrisome trend. Childhood obesity can lead to numerous health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Certain types of cancer
All of this comes from excessive consumption of junk food. These types of foods are high in fat and cholesterol as well as being low in beneficial nutrients.
Although junk food does not actually make you tired, it does cause fatigue in others, as well as impact several areas of health, including the central nervous system, including the brain. Eating high-fat, high-sugar, and/or high-carbohydrate foods can compromise energy levels and brain function. When the body is deprived of these foods, it can make adjustments to its metabolism, including slowing down digestion, leading to feelings of sleepiness.
Our digestive system is quite complex. It is a set of specialized organs that take in nutrients, break down food into small molecules, and then transport them to the body’s cells. Along the way, the food is dispatched to different parts of the digestive tract, which allow for controlled and specific nutrient absorption. The issue is that our digestive system is exposed to a lot of junk food over a day, which can negatively impact digestion and, ultimately, your child’s overall health.
Blood Sugar Levels
Junk foods are highly processed foods, and they are made from high fat and high salt foods, which are known to increase blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the pancreas can’t produce the hormones that regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. This is caused by a combination of problems, including storing fat in areas of the body that it can’t access for energy.
Many obese children and teenagers have low self-esteem because they are being discriminated against at school, which causes them to be unhappy and isolated. It can be traced to genetics on rare occasions, but it is often due to a poor diet.
Benefits of Healthy Meals
There are so many ways that eating healthy benefits your child. It can help prevent many diseases, such as cancer, obesity, heart diseases, and other health-related issues previously mentioned. Healthy food can also help you feel better and give you more energy. According to the American Heart Association, eating healthy can mean plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. However, eating healthy isn’t just about eating less fat and sugar. It’s also about choosing quality foods that are good for the body and the brain.
Think Outside of the Box
Of course, you will want to include various fresh vegetables in each meal your child eats, and you want to appreciate it. However, some children are entirely averse to seeing any form of vegetables on their plates. It is easy to despair at this moment; however, you should realize that healthy meals can be created several ways. For example, the recipe website My Conscious Eating suggests lots of methods to cook foods that are both delicious and contain lots of healthy ingredients. Another way to look at this is that if your child enjoys eating burgers, let them eat a burger…with a caveat, of course. A burger isn’t necessarily unhealthy; it is the fast food, junk variety that often comes with chemicals and sodium.
However, you can create your own delicious burgers at home using high-quality cuts of lean meat. It is even better if you make them together with your child to understand what goes into real food. Once they are happy, you can begin to introduce vegetables and other healthy ingredients to the mix.
Essential Vitamins And Minerals
Getting enough vitamins and minerals throughout the day is vital for the health of a growing child. Many children have a vitamin and mineral deficiency, which can lead to many serious health problems. Vitamin C is good for the immune system, Vitamin F helps to build bones, Vitamin K is a blood-clotting vitamin, and Zinc is necessary for the formation of healthy red blood cells. Most of these vitamins are only available in leafy, green salads or lean meats and nuts. If your child is a fussy eater, you can try the following ideas to get them to eat more:
- Trail mix.
- Fresh, easy-to-eat produce like apples, bananas, and grapes.
- Dried fruit such as:
- Low-sugar granola bars.
- Peanut butter on whole-grain crackers.
- Yogurt (low fat and sugar ones are best).
Processed foods are known for causing health problems and are also an easy way for children to get their hands on unhealthy snacks. The sad truth is that we are raising our children to be more and more unhealthy for their own health, while they are at the same time becoming increasingly intolerant to healthy foods, making it harder to actually eat a healthy diet. Despite this, there are ways to prepare your food together and use whole, non-processed ingredients to ease them into healthy eating.