A balanced diet and proper nutrition aren’t typically high on a child’s list of favorite things, but our physical therapist knows that both are key in their development. In addition to school, outdoor activities, physical therapy, and getting lots of sleep, their growing bodies and minds rely on good nutrition during the process of early childhood development. A healthy diet in your child’s early years can help to increase their cognitive development and their ability to process new information for many years to come. But getting your kids to enjoy healthy foods can sometimes be a battle. Are you struggling to get your kids interested in a balanced diet? Check out a few tips from our physical therapist to help make healthy eating a regular part of your child’s daily routine.
Tips from a Physical Therapist: The Importance of Nutrition for Proper Growth
Making the right food choices now will have a great deal of impact on your child’s growth. Parents should speak with their pediatrician regularly to review their child’s weight and height, paying close attention to where they compare to other healthy children their age. Your child’s growth progress can help to identify much about their overall nutritional and physical therapy needs. As a good rule of thumb, meals for your kids should include a vegetable, a fruit, grains and one source of protein and dairy.
Why Is Good Nutrition so Important for Your Kids?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that 25 percent of American children aged 2 to 18 are overweight. If a child is overweight or obese, they will have a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other major health conditions. Not only will regular activities become more difficult for them to tackle, but they may struggle with their physical therapy appointments as well. Teaching them to follow good eating habits early on can help decrease the likelihood that they will struggle with obesity later in life.
Nutrient-dense foods, like fresh veggies, fruits, meat, fish and whole grains, also contain the adequate calories your child needs to develop properly. For example, calcium is particularly important for child development, promoting optimal bone density that will help them to grow and reduce the risk of bone loss in the future. In addition to a greater risk of becoming overweight or obese, poor nutrition can result in delayed puberty, increased risk of injuries, nutrient deficiencies and much more.
Physical Therapist Advice: How Can I Feed a Picky Eater?
With many children visiting our offices for physical therapy each day, our physical therapist is used to seeing the effects that picky eating can have on a child’s strength and cognitive development first hand. While implementing a healthy diet can be difficult at the time, parents should be consistent when it comes to healthy eating, especially when dealing with a picky eater. Some ways you can help transform a picky eater include:
- Getting them involved in the food making process. Children are much more likely to get excited about eating food that they helped to make.
- Don’t be afraid to make good use of an active imagination. By making mealtime fun, broccoli can become a fairy tale forest and the classic “choo-choo train” method works wonders for toddlers!
- Encourage them to save the best for last! Kids can start by eating the foods they prefer the least first and making their way through the plate until they can savor their favorite part.
Balance a Proper Diet with Physical Therapy to Reduce Pain
Want to learn more about the benefits of a proper diet in relation to your child’s physical therapy appointments? Contact our physical therapist for more information on how you and your kids can start living a pain-free life today!