How To Raise A Food Ninja – Physical Development
Nearly all parents understand the importance of a balanced diet to a child’s physical growth and development. Protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables are essential to a child’s growth. These foods contain important nutrients and are key in maintaining a healthy weight, stabilizing energy, and preventing disease.
For the first eight years of their life, children’s physical development happens very quickly, therefore, it is vital that they get all their nutritional requirements for proper growth and development. However, proper physical development is not the only important reason for proper nutrition. Obesity and chronic disease are on a rise teaching children healthy eating habits now will help them maintain a healthy weight and prevent disease. In addition, a balanced diet of proper nutrition helps to stabilized energy levels.
- Physical Development: There are four essential things that are important for this. Protein helps children’s body grow and develop strong muscles. Calcium helps children’s bones grow properly and stay strong. Whole grains provide fiber which helps maintain a healthy digestive system and move food through the body. Vitamins and minerals assist with organ function, strong immune systems, and healthy skin and hair.
- Maintain Healthy Weight: The American Academy of Pediatrics offers guidelines for parents to follow so children eat within a certain range of calories. These guidelines are based on age, gender, and activity level. The key, though, is making sure these calories come from nutrient dense foods. This means limiting fast food, sweets, sodas, etc.
- Stabilize Energy: When children have a balanced diet of nutrient rich foods, their energy levels are more balanced. Foods convert to energy at different rates so foods containing simple sugars make a spike in energy but then a crash is soon to follow. Consuming whole grains and healthy fats gives the body energy reserves that can be used throughout the entire day.
- Prevent Disease: Children who grow up consuming foods high in sugar, fat, and salt are at risk for diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These foods also negatively affect a child’s digestion and increases inflammation, which causes their immune systems to weaken. This leaves their bodies more susceptible to colds and other viruses.
The benefits of a healthy diet for a child’s physical development is obvious. But understanding how the same foods help children maintain a healthy weight, stabilize their energy levels, and prevent short term illness and chronic diseases are also important things to consider. Parents can help by making small changes in their child’s eating habits to ensure they are at optimum health.
Author: Jennifer Salama of Skillz Worldwide.
Jennifer is a 4th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 2001. She has a Masters Degree in Child Psychology and has embraced the SKILLZ curriculum because of its focus on child development and using martial arts as a vehicle to develop the child as a whole.