Childhood Nutrition

Discover Health

Integrative Family Medicine & Naturopathic Doctors located in North Beach, San Francisco, CA & San Mateo, CA

With nearly one in three American children qualifying as overweight or obese, optimal childhood nutrition has become more important than ever in stopping and reversing this unhealthy epidemic. From their offices at Discover Health in San Francisco’s North Beach area, pediatricians Dr. Oded Herbsman and Dr. Jon-Michael Castelli offer comprehensive nutrition services to support your child’s long-term health. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.

Childhood Nutrition Q & A

Why is a healthy diet important?

Food is fuel. Not only does it give your child the energy they need to run, jump, and play, it’s also what drives the rapid growth and development of their bodies and their brains.

Giving children nutritious foods is critical when it comes to supporting their bodies’ needs and long-term health. However, you may be unsure how many calories your child needs and which vitamins and minerals are essential for their growth, or you may simply have trouble getting your child to eat as well as they should.

Dr. Herbsman and Dr. Castelli can help you assess your child’s current nutritional status, provide detailed information on their current needs, and help you bridge the gap between that information and reality in your kitchen.

What constitutes a healthy diet?

It might seem challenging to stay mindful of proper nutrition in a world where the latest nutrition news is often at odds with what you heard the year before. But sound nutrition doesn’t evolve as much as the headlines might have you believe.

For adults and children alike, nutrition basics come down to simply eating a variety of nutrient-rich, wholesome foods while avoiding as many calorie-dense, processed foods as possible. A healthy diet is one that:

Includes high-quality foods

Unrefined, minimally processed whole foods, including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean sources of protein, form the basis of any healthy diet.

Limits or eliminates low-quality foods

Highly processed snacks, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, refined grain products such as white bread or pasta, fried foods, and foods rich in unhealthy fats should be an occasional treat, but not a dietary staple.

What else can I do to improve my child’s diet?

Try to provide a variety of healthy food options whenever possible, and fill half of your child’s plate with fruits and vegetables. In addition to offering whole-grain breads and cereals and healthy sources of protein, give your child water or milk with each meal, limit fruit juice, and avoid soda and other sugary drinks.

Because children model the behavior they see, one of the best ways you can improve your child’s diet is to eat healthy meals together as a family. Involving your child in meal preparation can also make them more interested in eating the meal itself, and help them understand what a healthy meal looks like.