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Understanding the food pyramid for children

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the new Food Pyramid Plan. Children and adults no longer need to follow the same food pyramid with horizontal sections. Adults now have their own pyramid, while there is also a new food pyramid for children. What now about food, nutrition and diet?

The new food pyramid for children essentially implies that children have different nutritional and dietary needs than adults. Children need to follow the specifications of the new Children’s Food Pyramid in order to grow up healthy and strong.

The children’s food pyramid tells children and parents that children should eat a variety of foods from all food groups. A healthy meal according to the children’s food pyramid should therefore contain lean meat, beans, nuts, fish, milk, dairy products, fruits, cereals, vegetables and some fats.

However, the children’s food pyramid does not tell children to eat everything in the same amount. The same old advice still applies to eating more cereals, fruits and vegetables than other types of food. Oils and sugar should be eaten in smaller portions. Parents should also note that some foods in each category should not be eaten in large amounts. Fruit pies and tetra-packaged juices, for example, may not contain the same nutrients as real fruit and should only be eaten occasionally.

The best way to encourage children to follow the food pyramid for their needs is to set a good example. Parents and other family members should make a commitment to eat only healthy foods. It would also be helpful to ensure that the entire house is free of junk food and other foods with less nutritional value.

The new food pyramid for children also tries to tell us that children should be given plenty of time to exercise. Good physical play, for example, is recommended to keep children healthy. Parents can also encourage children to follow the advice of the new Children’s Food Pyramid by setting a good example and by being physically active as well. Parents can keep their children active by participating in family camping activities or family sports games.

The idea of eating and living healthy can be a difficult concept to teach children. However, the food pyramid for children suggests that learning about healthy living and eating should be done slowly but surely.