Only 1% Of Kids Eat A Healthy Diet

So What Does A “Healthy Diet” For Kids Look Like?

430_3134252A recent study out of Northwestern University found that only 1% of kids over the age of 5 consumed a healthy diet regularly. Yikes. Looking around at my fellow parents, I am pretty sure that none of us are purposefully sabotaging our kids’ healthy futures.

One of the real problems with getting our kids to eat better is that the average person just isn’t clear about what constitutes a “healthy diet” for kids or adults. The Food Pyramid? My Plate? Nothing seems very straightforward when it comes to healthy diet guidelines.

For purposes of this survey, a healthy diet meant kids were following at least four of the five components listed below:

  • at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily;
  • at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish a week;
  • at least three 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains daily;
  • less than 1,500 milligrams of daily sodium;
  • and no more than 450 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages per week.

How close are you to these healthy diet standards? In our house, we struggle with getting enough whole grains and fish.  To make some changes with your own family, pick one area to improve upon and stick with it until it’s a habit.

Do your kids need more fruits and vegetables? Bring your kids to the store and have them select their own choices for the week. My kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables at school if they are cut up into smaller pieces so they’re easy to eat.

Do you need to cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages? Start with a water-only rule at meal-time or encourage your kids to bring a water bottle to school.

Are your kids eating at least three 1-ounce servings of whole grains? Cook brown rice and white rice and mix them together to help get your family used to the new taste and texture instead of jumping right onto the brown rice bandwagon and causing a riot.

How are you helping get your kids on track to eating a healthy diet? Share your tips!

Healthy Diet For Kids Infographic

So What’s A Healthy Diet For Kids?

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Erin Brighton

Erin Brighton

Mom to 5. Passion for food. Preferably local & delicious. Director of the Char Meck Food Policy Council. Food blogger. Summer Bostonian.