Food Pyramid For KidsPosted: May 2, 2012
Food pyramids have been around for decades, attempting to easily and visually explain what our bodies need in terms of nutrition. Most of us are aware that we require a variety of foods to help us remain healthy, and each of the foods represented on a food pyramid provides us with different nutrients that can maintain and nourish different systems in the body or detract from good health.
What used to be a standard food pyramid, first used by the U.S. Government in 1916 to promote healthy eating in children, has turned into an array of “offerings” that can sometimes be hard to navigate and decipher.
The original United States food pyramid stressed the importance of eating foods from sources that provided adequate amounts of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein. Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, fat, dairy products, and animal “meats” were all given equal billing as viable sources of good nutrition.
Since then, a slew of food pyramids for kids have been created, some by big food industry giants touting the importance of their specific foods in children’s diets, and others produced by school district boards, who are prompted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote milk drinking and consumption of animal protein.
After many versions of the food pyramid have involved in and out of fashion, and parents have discovered healthier ways to get vital nutrients into their kids bodies, a food pyramid that is bottom heavy on fresh fruits and vegetables and peaked with healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, and nuts has proved most effective and nutritious.
A plant-based food pyramid offers the most nutrition and health benefits for growing children. Plant-based food pyramids are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, providing children with an abundance of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein.
Many parents don’t realize that whole grains are rich in protein, and consuming oats, whole wheat, and cereal grains like quinoa are healthier and safer protein sources than animal meats and dairy products.
Fresh produce is vital component of a plant-based food pyramid, and organic kids food favorites like apples, peaches, and cherries can be eaten generously along with squashes, cauliflower, and root vegetables.
When kids fill up their bodies on abundant supplies fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, they have limited room in their tummies for fatty foods and sweets. And that’s how it should be.
A perfect food pyramid for kids encourages parents to feed the most servings of fruits, vegetables, and energy-rich whole grains, followed by moderate amounts of dairy substitutes like fortified soy and almond milks and cheeses. There is much debate to be had on the appropriateness of dairy milks in a child’s diet.
Many research studies that the consumption of cow’s milk not only leads to allergic conditions in children, it transfers to their bodies all of the hormones and dangerous antibiotics that are forced upon dairy animals. The food pyramid that relies on plant foods for nutrition provides for calcium intake by way of dark, leafy greens and fortified milk alternatives.
Nuts and seeds are great choices of protein-rich foods, but should be consumed sparingly due to their concentrated fat content. Growing bodies need fat, however they should be limited to one serving per day from healthy sources like coconut, avocado, and expeller-pressed vegetable oils.
Children who are fed according the guidelines shown on a plant-based food pyramid grown up, in many cases, healthier, stronger, and more at peace with their food choices than many of their peers. Try making up a food pyramid game with your kids, and see how many servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains they can eat in their day!