Child Nutrition and Healthy Eating

The term food refers to any material prepared for consumption either by humans or animals that sustains the body’s basic needs. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungi origin, and consists of essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, or minerals. The number of calories in foods directly relates to the number of substances used to prepare them, while quality and taste also factor into consumers’ choices. In addition, in recent years, certain types of food have been manufactured and sold as supplements to those already eating a well-balanced, nutritionally balanced diet, and some foods are even prescribed by doctors to help improve one’s health or prevent certain diseases. However, food is more than a source of nutrients to sustain life; it is also a major part of a culture, where it is used to celebrate festivals, mark special occasions, create dishes, and pass down legacy.


Since food contributes to the nutrition of an individual and community, it is important to learn about food and nutrition, how it is prepared and eaten, what it tastes like, how it is packaged, how much of it we consume, and where our food comes from. The best way to learn all of this is through public health and nutrition programs and organizations, as well as food literacy workshops and books. At the elementary school level, parents should see food as a whole package of nutrients, complete with vitamins and minerals, which should be separated according to their type. Foods should also be organized by nutrient group, for example, protein, carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

Parents and other adults responsible for feeding children should take steps to make sure that they are getting a wide variety of foods rich in nutrients and don’t rely solely on one kind of food, such as junk food or processed sugar pop, to provide all of a child’s food needs. Even with a variety of nutritious foods, children may not learn to properly combine and enjoy their food and this can result in improper nutrition and unhealthy habits. Educating children about food nutrition can help them grow into healthy, well-balanced and happy young adults.