March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
You want your children to eat healthfully, but what's good for you may not be good for your kids. In particular, adults and very young children need different amounts of fat in their diets. Fat is an important source of calories that support infants' and toddlers' growth. Two fatty acids — linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid — are essential for your child's growth and brain development. Our bodies don't make these acids, so we must get them from food. Kids also need some fat from food to help their bodies use vitamins A, D, E and K. So don't cut back on fat for young children.
Starting at age 2, children's and teens' diets — like adults' — should be moderate in total fat and low in saturated fat and trans fat. From this point forward, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and other protein-rich foods should supply most of your children's calories.