Child Nutrition

Child Nutrition in Grand Rapids & Jenison, MI

You want your little one to grow up healthy and strong. Of course, this means making sure that they are eating a healthy, balanced diet. While some children seem to be naturally curious eaters who will try anything, we also know that it can be more challenging for families who have picky little eaters. Fortunately, our pediatric medical team can help you create a nutrition plan for your child to prevent childhood obesity and to keep them healthy.

Good Child Nutrition is Fundamental

Instilling proper nutrition in infants and children is crucial to their development. A healthy, balanced diet can help the body and brain to develop properly, and it helps children maintain an ideal body weight. With the increase in childhood obesity, it’s important to recognize the need for adequate nutrition practices in households. After all, diets that are high in sugar and salt, as well as processed foods, won’t just affect your child’s weight but will also increase your child’s risk for a variety of chronic diseases including diabetes.

Be Smart About Food Choices

It’s important to focus on a diet that helps nourish your child and provides them with all the vital nutrients they need to not just sustain them but also to help them thrive physically, mentally and emotionally. After all, your child’s nutrition can help to build and support strong bones and muscles. It can also support the brain and energy levels for optimal academic and athletic performance.

Of course, a child’s diet will change as they continue to grow, and specific dietary needs will be based on several factors that our pediatrician can happily discuss during your child’s next wellness visit. If your child is dealing with food intolerances or food allergies, we can also work with your child to find ways to avoid these foods while also ensuring that they get the nutrients they need.

If you are concerned about your child’s health or weight, if you are having trouble getting your child to eat healthier whole foods, or you notice that your child or teen is having trouble focusing in school, then it may be time to map out a customized nutritional plan with our pediatrician. Our goal is to make sure that your child is getting the vitamins and nutrients they need for a healthy body and mind, as well as to protect them against obesity-related diseases.

Addressing Eating Disorders in Teens and Adolescents

We understand that there are many unique challenges that teens face during this time of incredible growth and change. Teens are trying to figure out who they are. They are becoming more independent. They are finding ways to develop important and deep-rooted relationships and connections. They may be wondering what they’d like to study in college or what they’d like to be when they grow up. We also understand that adolescence is a challenging time for some and that many teens between the ages of 13 and 18 develop eating disorders.

Common eating disorders in adolescents and teens include,

  • Anorexia: avoidance of food and diet that is extremely restrictive in calorie intake that may be accompanied by a distorted image of how they look
  • Bulimia: bouts of overeating that is accompanied by purging (self-induced vomiting; excessive exercise, laxative use)
  • Binge eating disorder: uncontrollable or compulsive overeating that is often accompanied by feelings of guilt or embarrassment

If you are concerned about your teen’s eating habits and signs point to an eating disorder, our pediatric team can provide you with answers and support. Not all eating disorders should be addressed the same way, and our team of pediatricians can provide you and your teen with the customized care they need to help them combat their eating disorder for good.

It’s important to recognize that eating disorders affect everyone, from the star athlete to the skinniest kid in class. It affects teens regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status. Just know that you are not alone, and that patience and perseverance are key to overcoming an eating disorder.

Our pediatric team at Western Michigan Pediatrics has the tools to help your teen get their eating disorder under control. Many children and teens with eating disorders were able to recover when they sought professional help early on, so it’s important not to let this problem continue.

Are you concerned about your child's nutrition? If so, contact our team at Western Michigan Pediatrics today. You can reach us in our Grand Rapids, MI office at (616) 949-6112 or our Jenison, MI office at (616) 457-3510 to schedule an appointment!

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