Common Questions About Kids and Food
Is it OK for my child to consume sodium?
Moderate amounts of sodium are needed to balance water and minerals and help muscles and nerves work properly. Most children need no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Prepackaged foods that contain more than 400 mg of sodium per serving are considered high sodium foods.
What about fat?
Infants who do not get enough fat in their diets may suffer from slow growth and development. Their bodies have to use other components of the diet - such as protein - for energy, and protein is a necessary building material for growth. For youngsters over age 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the level of fat in the daily diet not exceed 35 percent.
I've heard that high-fiber foods can cause problems in children, is it true?
Toddlers have small stomach capacities. High-fiber meals and snacks will leave little room for foods containing the calories and nutrients needed for growth. To calculate the daily amount of fiber that is appropriate for your child, add 5 grams to your child’s age for the total number of grams he should consume.
How much is enough?
A good rule of thumb for child-sized portions is to give one tablespoon of a food - meat, fruit, vegetable or grain - for each year of the child's age. A 4 year-old's serving of applesauce would be four tablespoons or 1/4 cup. But don't get hung up on details! Good nutrition is not tied up to a single meal - it's a process of offering nutritious food over a period of time. The key to good nutrition is variety and balance.
Are artificial sweeteners safe for children?
Because research on artificial sweeteners indicates many adverse reactions, a general rule is to omit them from children's diets.
Are organic foods safer?
US food safety laws and regulations cover all foods, regardless of production method. Pesticide residues are typically lower on organic products, however most products are well below government-established thresholds.
Does my child need to take a daily vitamin supplement or multivitamin?
A well-balanced diet can provide the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals. Ask your pediatrician for guidance specific to your child.