Healthy eating is defined as the consumption of food to meet nutrient needs for normal growth and development, metabolism, immunity, and cognitive function without exceeding caloric requirements. (Source: DGA 2010)
The USDA Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy diet as one that
- emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk, and milk products
- includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- is low in saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
A total diet approach is needed: a combination of foods and beverages that provide energy and nutrients and constitute a child's complete dietary intake, on average, over time. A total diet is energy-balanced and nutrient-dense. (Source: DGA 2010)
A diet high in nutrition contributes to optimal wellness. Healthy eating habits in children promote positive outcomes, including lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.