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When it comes to children's nutrition, the fundamental principles remain the same as those for adults. Both require a balanced intake of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, children's nutritional needs differ in terms of specific nutrient quantities at different stages of growth.

Here are some nutrient-rich food options to consider:

1• Protein: Opt for seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, unsalted nuts, and seeds.

2• Promote a diverse array of fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruits for your child, emphasizing their enjoyment rather than depending on fruit juice as the primary source of fruit nutrition. If they do consume juice, ensure it is 100 percent juice without added sugars, and monitor their servings. Choose canned fruits labeled as "light" or packed in their own juice, indicating a low added sugar content. Remember that one-quarter cup of dried fruit is equivalent to one cup of fruit, but be cautious as excessive consumption can add extra calories.

3• Vegetables: Provide a diverse selection of fresh, canned, frozen, or dried vegetables. Aim for a range of options, including dark green, red, orange, beans, peas, starchy, and others throughout the week. When selecting canned or frozen vegetables, opt for lower sodium options.

4• Grains: Prioritize whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, brown rice, or wild rice. Moderate the consumption of refined grains such as white bread, pasta, and rice, while prioritizing the inclusion of whole grain alternatives for a more nutritious diet.

5• Dairy: Encourage your child to consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.

It's important to be mindful of your child's calorie intake and limit the following:

1• sugars: Restrict the consumption of added sugars. Differentiate between naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and milk, which are not considered added sugars. Added sugars include varieties like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, and others. Always check nutrition labels and opt for cereals with minimal added sugars. Avoid beverages with added sugars like soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks.

2• Saturated and trans fats: Reduce the intake of saturated fats, which primarily come from animal sources like red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. Seek healthier alternatives by replacing saturated fats with vegetable and nut oils that offer essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Healthier fats are also naturally present in olives, nuts, avocados, and seafood. Limit trans fats by avoiding foods containing partially hydrogenated oil.

3• Sodium: Be cautious of excessive sodium consumption, as many children in the U.S. exceed the recommended levels. Encourage snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies. Read nutrition labels and choose products low in sodium.

If you have any questions regarding children's nutrition or specific concerns about your child's diet, it is advisable to consult your child's doctor or a registered dietitian.