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Frequently Asked Questions

+ Is fiber important in a child’s diet? How much fiber does a toddler, pre-teen and teen need in their diet?
A: Fiber is important in preventing constipation, enhancing the sense of fullness of a meal and can even help with lowering blood cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association offers the following fiber recommendation for kids:

  • 19 grams of fiber per day for children ages 1-3
  • 25 grams per day for children ages 4-8
  • 26-31 grams per day for children ages 9-13
  • 29-38 grams per day for children 14 and up






These fiber needs can be met by offering whole grain foods at each meal, and plenty of fruits and veggies.
+ Is it true that children who eat breakfast do better in school? What is a good breakfast?
A: It has been proven that children who eat breakfast do better in school, among other benefits. In a review article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published in 2005, Registered Dietitian and researcher Gail Rampersaud and her colleagues noted that children who eat breakfast also have better school attendance, behavior and energy levels, and eating breakfast may be associated with less risk of becoming overweight. A healthy breakfast includes several food groups, such as whole grains, protein and fruit to start kids’ days with a nutrient-dense, satisfying meal.
+ WILL SUGAR MAKE CHILDREN HYPERACTIVE OR CAUSE MISBEHAVIOR?
A: No!

Sugar does not cause hyperactivity or misbehavior. Research has demonstrated that sugar intake may have the reverse effect. When children were randomly selected into two groups, one that received sugar and another that received a placebo, the children in the group that consumed sugar was less hyperactive! Sugar is not the cause of hyperactivity, rather the excitement of the event. Having a birthday party or celebration creates heightened energy, the event is what may cause hyperactivity and misbehavior, not sugar.
+ WILL EATING HEALTHY FOOD (FRUIT) COUNTERBALANCE EATING UNHEALTHY FOOD? + IS FRUIT JUICE GOOD FOR YOU? + IS FAST FOOD ALWAYS JUNK FOOD?
A: No!

Actually, foods with little nutrients can be found everywhere. The important point is to provide children with a variety of foods from all food groups regardless of the source. Many fast food chains are offering nutrient dense food choices. Grocery stores can have a lot of foods of minimal nutritional value. The USDA MyPyramid is a wonderful resource that can help guide in the selection of nutrient dense foods from all sources.
+ WILL CHILDREN LEARN TO EAT VEGETABLES?
A: Yes they will!

Children learn to enjoy vegetables through exposure. Many vegetables have a bitter taste, their textures and smell are new, and they may be difficult to chew...especially with small teeth. Continue to offer children vegetables, even though they may refuse them. Offering rejected foods multiple times is the key. Every child is different, so an exact number of exposures that will result in children liking a food are not available.

So what do you do?

Always offer them! Eventually children may like them. Also, avoid forcing a child to eat vegetables. This does NOT help children learn to like them. A better approach is to describe the textures, smell, and flavor of the vegetables, involve children in preparing them, talk about how they grow, share stories about vegetables (positive stories) and give children a chance to discover vegetables through their five senses!
+ DO YOUNG CHILDREN HAVE TO HAVE 60 MINUTES OF VIGOROUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ALL AT ONCE, EVERY DAY TO BE PHYSICALLY HEALTHY? + How my child will grow taller?

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