9 Must-Eat Nutrients for Your Child

Get the scoop on necessary nutrients for kids.

Nutrients 1-3

Every parent has heard that children should be eating a "balanced diet." But a balance of what? Here are the nine nutrients that every child should be getting on a daily basis:

1. Protein

Protein helps a child's body build cells, break down food into energy, fight infection, and carry oxygen. Foods that contain high levels of protein include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Dairy products

2. Carbohydrates

While the latest diet trend is to "cut the carbs," carbohydrates are actually the body's most important source of energy. They help a child's body to use fat and protein for building and repairing tissue. Carbohydrates come in several different forms (sugars, starches, and fiber), but kids should be eating more of the starches and fibers and less of the sugar. Foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates include:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Rice
  • Crackers
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes

3. Fats

Fats are a great source of energy for kids and are easily stored in a child's body. They are also important in helping the body to properly use some of the other nutrients it needs. Foods that contain high levels of fats include:

  • Whole-milk dairy products
  • Cooking oils
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts

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