Last updated on December 8th, 2023.
Childhood nutrition has been a focus in our society for some time now, as we’re learning more and more how important it is for children to learn healthy eating habits at a young age. We also know that thousands, if not, millions of children aren’t getting the proper nutrition that they need.
There are seven major reasons why childhood nutrition is so important. Proper nutrition in children…
- Supports the immune system
- Establishes good eating habits
- Provides essential vitamins and minerals
- Ensures proper physical growth and development
- Promotes brain development
- Helps establish sleep patterns
- Affects moods
Childhood nutrition is essential for everyday life. Read on for more information regarding why nutrition is important for your child and to dig deeper into the seven reasons why it is important.
Why is Childhood Nutrition Important?
Children need proper nutrition in the form of healthy, balanced meals each and every day. A child’s meal should consist of fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and grains. Each of these foods contains the vitamins and minerals needed to help maintain a healthy life. A child receiving all the nutrients will live a more healthy lifestyle.
Some delivery companies offer a healthy kids menu delivery so you can save your time while your loved youngsters are still getting right foods.
7 Reasons Why Childhood Nutrition Is So Important
There are many reasons why providing a child with proper nutrition is important. Some are more beneficial than others. However, these are more of a general collection of why childhood nutrition is so important.
1. Proper Nutrition Strengthens Immunity
Staying healthy is important. Not just with exercise but also with proper nutrition. Providing a child with proper nutrition can be beneficial for their overall health. Immunity to physically being more healthy can help determine if a child is getting the correct nutrition amount.
Children are around germs every day. For the immune system to be able to provide immunity, the body needs vitamin C and D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein. The best and natural places to find these are in a food.
This means that a child that has healthy daily nutrition can produce the immunity cells and the antibodies that are needed for any illness or germs that the body needs.
Some foods that are full of immunity support:
- Red meats such as beef
- Fortified foods such as milk, oatmeal, and tofu
- Egg yolks
- Meats: chicken, pork, beef
- Red meats
- Pumpkin seeds
Maintaining a good nutritional diet not only provides immunity support but also for overall health. Children need to eat good nutritious meals that are needed for all basic body functions. Having good nutrients in a child’s life will improve their quantity of life and provide relief from the body, attacking itself to gather up all the nutrients that are needed.
2. Promotes Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating habits ensure that your child can maintain the correct bodyweight for their body types. In some cases, your child may have to be put on an eating schedule or given in certain quantities.
Healthy eating habits can make it easier for your child to adjust to the new eating plan. Some ways to help with proper or good eating habits can be the following:
- Water place of juice or soda. This can cut back on the sugar that is already a part of your child’s nutrition plan.
- Eating slow can help send signals to your brain that you are getting full. It also helps with preventing overeating that can cause tiredness after meals, as well as gastric problems from eating too much too quickly.
- Stick to the serving sizes. Sticking to serving sizes can do wonders to a child’s eating habits. Instead of a whole bowl of mac-n- cheese and six(6) slices of pizza, doing moderations and following the serving sizes, and eating slowly, can increase the feeling full effect and be used as a guide to what is considered healthy.
- Eat fruits and vegetables during meals but also as snacks in place of chips or cakes. Including fruits in snack time can greatly benefit your child’s healthy by replacing good sugars with bad sugars such as those included in soda or snack cakes.
3. Provides Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Parents give their children vitamins in the shape of animals every day, but most don’t realize that proper nutrition gives their children a wide range of the essential vitamins and minerals they need.
Getting the proper nutrition for your child is important. Vitamins and minerals not only help with growth but also helps with bone growth, battle infections, helps our organs such as our eyes to see.
There are a variety of foods that can provide the vitamins and minerals we need. Here are a couple of foods that carry the essential vitamins and minerals needed:
- Nuts and seeds
- Green vegetables
- Dairy products
- Fruits and other vegetables
Here is a complete list of vitamins and minerals and what foods to find them in.
4. Eating the Right Foods Encourages Physical Growth
From infancy to early adulthood, proper nutrition creates many doors for growth, from developing good bones and muscles to maintaining the proper blood supply and organ functions.
If a child is not able to obtain the nutrients that are needed for growth, there are risks. A child that is malnourished will not be able to achieve the physical growth that they are capable of having. This can result in lowered height, weight, and physical performance.
Malnourishment also can contribute to feeling tired more easily. This energy loss can cause different things, from lack of exercise to having problems focusing.
When a child is not obtaining the nutrients needed for energy, the child may seem more relaxed and not interested in games or outdoor play. This can increase the risks of muscle problems due to lack of use. Not using body functions responsible for movement can cause muscles to degenerate or weaken.
5. Childhood Nutrition Enhances Brain Development
From early on, a child needs a certain amount of nutrition for development. When a baby is growing, the proper nutrients aid in the development of brain and organ function. However, some parents are unaware that proper nutrition needs to start during pregnancy.
Throughout childhood, the brain constantly changes and gathers new information. A child will obtain new information daily. This new information is gotten from electronics, parents or other family, friends, and teachers.
A child that lacks proper nutrition can be more relaxed in class or having trouble concentrating. Difficulty concentration can be caused by malnutrition itself or due to the child being hungry. If the child is hungry, they may feel sick or even just be thinking of food itself.
There are many ways to eat healthy and healthy eating habits. It is important to start when your children are smaller and start eating actual food outside of baby or pureed foods.
6. Facilitates Healthy Sleep Patterns
Throughout this article, discussions on moods and child development have been pointed out. What most parents don’t realize is how important nutrition is for sleep. Giving your child the proper nutrition can help regulate sleep patterns. Sleep is a huge part of growing and being able to function throughout the day.
As said before, a child can have a hard time falling asleep due to feeling hungry or lack of food. However, they can also have these problems with too much food.
That’s why making sure your child has had the meals or nutrition they need an hour before bed is always a good idea. It help them run off that excess energy that food can give children, as well as make sure that they have a full belly for a good restful sleep.
Good eating habits also can help with relation to proper nutrition. Giving your child healthy meals and healthy snacks and drinks can prevent a higher sugar intake as well as caffeine intakes that are present in sodas, chocolate, coffee, and teas.
7. Nutrition Directly Affects Children's Moods and Behavior
Your child’s mood is directly affected by food. We all are aware of the phrase “hangry” that people use daily. This is typically meaning that a person is so hungry that they have become or were angry or grumpy.
Usually, when this person that is “hangry” gets the food, they are happy and back to themselves. This can relate to children as well. Parents of toddlers especially can relate to this. Toddlers are still learning how to express themselves. In these cases, sometimes a toddler, or child, may not realize that they are hungry and become irritable or angry.
Usually, after some time and a lot of patience, the parent or guardian will offer a snack or a meal to the child. After the child starts to eat, the irritability goes away.
Poor nutrition or too much nutrition can cause moods other than irritability to occur. Too little or too much food can also cause depression or hyperactivity. Depression can be caused by many different factors other than nutrition, of course.
However, a child that may suffer from malnutrition can become depressed or develop anxiety. Children, in this case, can withdraw into themselves. Feeling hungry or ashamed that they do not have as much food or are considered poor in some cases by others. This can directly affect their mood as well as social interactions and concentration in school.
(Another wonderful thing to teach kids is the art of yoga! It is great for their brain, body, and soul! Learn more about kids yoga teacher training in that amazing article!)
Does Nutrition Affect Learning?
Students tend to focus more after breakfast, lunch, and snack time. This not only allows them to take a small break from learning and for the kids to relax their mind but also provides them with a well-needed boost for energy.
Energy is important to help with tiredness as well as feeling hungry. When a child feels hungry, that’s all they will think about. This can make distractions increase and learning decrease. It can cause the child to be timid and embarrassed among peers because of the social interactions needed for learning.
How Does Nutrition Affect The Growth And Development Of A Child?
Growth and development for a child are based on the nutritional needs each child requires. If a child obtains too much nutrition, or overeating/drinking, it can cause health problems such as obesity, binge eating disorders, and depression or sadness.
However, if a child lacks proper nutrition or is malnourished, they can have stunted growth and developmental delays. This, in turn, can cause things like failure to thrive to occur. This not only affects growth but also psychological development.
Proper nutrition is always important for infants, children, teenagers, and young adults to have. Having the nutritional needs met for each child can help them to achieve their full potential in cognitive development as well as physical development.
It is always great as a parent to do healthy eating habits as well as getting proper exercise for themselves as well as helping their children to develop these traits too.