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Diet is really important for people of all ages, but it is particularly critical for children to eat well, as they need nutrients, vitamins and minerals for growth and development.

Why is healthy eating so important for children?

Healthy eating is important for a number of reasons; the body relies on the food you eat for a number of important functions. Children need nutrients for growth and vitamins and minerals are essential for building up their immune system, strengthening their bones and building up muscle strength. Without a healthy, balanced diet, children may suffer from delayed development, malnutrition, increased susceptibility to illnesses and infections and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

It is also important for dental health; dentists across the country are reporting an increase in the number of children suffering from severe decay at an early age, with some saying that they have referred children as young as 2 years old for tooth extraction under general anaesthetic. The major causes of decay and gum disease, both of which are preventable, are poor oral hygiene and excessive sugar consumption. Research shows that children are eating more sugary foods than ever before and this has undoubtedly impacted on oral health. Sugary treats should be limited and restricted to mealtimes and dentists recommend milk, sugar-free cordial and water, rather than fizzy drinks, which are full of sugar.

Getting your child to eat well

Sometimes it can be a battle to get children to eat healthy foods, especially nowadays, when children are bombarded with adverts for sugary snacks and sweet treats on a regular basis; here are some tips to help you encourage your child to eat well:

Make food fun

Healthy food has a reputation for being boring, but this doesn’t have to be the case and spending a bit of extra time on food preparation can make it much more appealing to children; think about making smiley faces or pictures out of your child’s tea, for example, or encourage them to eat healthy foods that are endorsed by popular characters, such as the Green Giant.

Get kids involved in cooking

Many of us have fond memories of helping our mums and dads in the kitchen and cooking is a great way to get kids involved in healthy eating and nutrition. Encourage your children to help with preparation and cooking and talk to them about the foods that you are using; tell your child how the different foods will help them; for example, oranges and lemons are rich in vitamin C, which is good for your skin, hair and nails and helps to boost your immune system to fight off illnesses.

Reward good behaviour

If your child eats and behaves well, reward them; be consistent and don’t give in just because your child is kicking up a fuss. Many parents insist that their child eats their main course before they are allowed a pudding or a treat and this can help children to learn good table manners, as well as ensuring that they eat their main meal.

Early age introduction to fruit and veg

Children are much more likely to eat fruit and vegetables if they are used to them; try to introduce your child to a range of different fruits and vegetables from an early age and gradually increase the variety so that they are familiar with different foods and happy to try new foods.

Author Bio: Anna Is an experienced writer who is an expert in paediatric dentistry,  and She wrote this article for http://www.smilestylist.com