Staying healthy and fit depends on kids choosing a variety of healthy foods and regular physical activity. Help your kids discover a variety of tasty and nutritious foods that can help them maintain a healthy weight throughout their life. The USDA Dietary Guidelines suggests children should eat 2-3 cups per day of fat free or low-fat milk or milk equivalent — depending on their age, 5 oz. of protein a day, and two and a half cups of vegetables. Soyfoods offer high-quality protein and can easily help fulfill the meat, dairy, or vegetable requirement, depending on the soyfood chosen. Many fortified soyfoods are also good sources of calcium, vitamin D, fiber, and iron, which are important nutrients for growing children.
Soy-enhanced foods can add variety and nutritive value to children’s diets without sacrificing taste. Soyfoods are readily accepted and enjoyed by children and adolescents as tasty alternatives to meat and dairy. In addition, introducing soy early in life may help children develop healthy eating patterns that last a lifetime. Food preferences developed in the infant and toddler years tend to continue throughout childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. Incorporating soy into meals helps decrease fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories, and increase fiber, while still providing children with key vitamins and minerals.
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Did You Know?
- Soy blends well with other ingredients, even extreme flavors.
- Soy can provide added fiber to kids’ diets
- Soy is a cost-effective ingredient
- Offering healthier meals and snacks is a top priority in preventing childhood obesity and reducing disease risk.
Benefits of Soy for Children
In addition to being a tasty alternative in children’s meals, soy may also help prevent the development of certain adult diseases. Studies of soy in children and adolescents have shown that soy eases constipation, lowers high cholesterol, and may even decrease risk of breast cancer later in life.
Soy contains many essential nutrients important for growth and development, and works well as a primary source of protein without contributing excess calories.
A growing number of children have allergies, food intolerances, religious and cultural needs that require special dietary consideration. Most students who are allergic to peanut butter can enjoy soy nut butter. Most students with milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance, or religious/cultural food practices that prohibit milk consumption can get calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and high-quality protein from fortified soymilk. Tofu and calcium carbonate fortified soymilk have been found to provide comparable amounts of absorbable calcium as cow’s milk. There are some children who have allergies to soy, but reactions are typically quite mild and most children outgrow their allergies by the age of three.