Food Pyramid For Kids

How well a child is nourished and progressively grows within the first 5 years of their life can be used as an indicator of their growth rate when older. Though it is a logical thought for parents to pile on milk and calcium rich foods to promote height, variety is the real essence of nutrition. If you are wondering why your child’s growth is slow, though they are eating quite a lot of food, you may need to revisit their diet. The Food Pyramid, also known as a nutrition flag or a nutrition ladder, provides a framework for what a healthy diet for optimal growth is. Variety is key and sometimes requires supplementation (eg. Pediasure) according to your child’s doctor’s recomondations.1, 5

What does a basic Food Pyramid look like?

The design of the Food Pyramid varies depending on ethnicity and region, but they all contain the 5 food groups, Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and Diary. Top to bottom or the other way around depending on a Food Pyramid discipline, narrow apex indicates lower consumption quantity, while progressively wider bands indicate food groups that need to be consumed more of. In general, cereals, grains, and beans to be eaten adequately, while fruits and vegetables to be consumed generously or more than grains. Animal and dairy should be there sparingly in your child’s diet, while oil, sugar, salt, or processed packaged foods only as treats or sparingly served.1, 2, 3

A food pyramid is only the beginning

If parents are worried about their child gaining too much weight instead of height, promoting physical activity will help more than depriving them of their favorites. For a minimum of 60 minutes a day, have them play outside or on school days, sign them up for sports or similar activities, and field trip clubs on the weekends.1

It is important to control the quality more than the quantity. If a child has bad food habits, believe it or not, they are mirroring their parents. Forcing your own food fads and prejudices can cause malnutrition in young children (e.g. vitamin B12 deficiency on a vegetarian diet because it is best from animal sources). Watch out for carbohydrates as well because not all of them are created equal. Feed your child healthy carbs found in freshest clean natural and unprocessed foods because those retain the most nutrients. These foods coincidentally have high fiber content that will keep your child fuller for longer, thus controlling weight.1, 3

The Food Pyramid can be combined with the Healthy Plate Principle of ½ plate fruits & veggies, ¼ grains and carbs, and ¼ proteins and healthy fats. Serving wiser per day, provide 3 – 5 servings of grains & carbs, 2 servings of fruits & veggies, 2 servings of meat, and 1 serving of dairy or an alternative.3, 4 But since children can be selective eaters, parents have to supplement nutrition. For optimal growth, look towards Pediasure for help. Complete and balanced with 37 vitamins and minerals, which include bone building calcium, vitamin D, K, healthy fats, and exclusive Triple Protein Complex for muscle function. With the direction of your child’s doctor, Pediasure is a great meal accompaniment or partial meal replacement so that your child stays well-nourished and achieves optimal growth.1, 5

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References:

  1. National Institute of Nutrition ICMR. Dietary Guidelines for Indians – A Manual.; 2011. https://www.nin.res.in/downloads/DietaryGuidelinesforNINwebsite.pdf endorsed by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  2. https://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/thailand/en/
  3. https://www.fao.org/3/as979e/as979e.pdf
  4. https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/578/A%20Healthy%20Food%20Foundation%20-%20for%20Kids%20and%20Teens
  5. https://pediasuremyanmar.com/formulation-support/

Additional Readings:

  1. World Health Organization. Healthy Diet Fact Sheet No. 394. September 2016. https://www.who.int/elena/healthy_diet_fact_sheet_394.pdf. Accessed October 7, 2016.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed October 7, 2016