Enforcing healthy eating habits in children can be a challenge, especially for busy parents. Dinner can turn into a battlefield in a matter of seconds, and this can leave you exhausted. There is hope. There is a way to encourage kids to be healthy, calm and energetic people without bribes and fits.
The secret lies in providing children with certain healthy foods appropriate for their stage of development that will stabilize their moods and improve their appetite. We all know that junk food only makes children obese, hyperactive and lazy.
Healthy foods, on the other hand, will fill their little bodies with strength and emotional health. This article will look at ten healthy foods that can help kids develop good eating habits.
1. Go simple with a little peanut butter.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, most kids fail to eat a good breakfast due to time. Peanut butter is packed with fat and calories necessary for growth and energy throughout the day. Make a peanut butter sandwich to go or apply some on crackers for snack time.
Read our Allergy-Friendly Meal Series for healthy alternatives.
2. Bring on the avocado.
Vitamins are essential in keeping kids healthy. Avocados are high in vitamin E, minerals, and other nutrients. One can use avocados in many ways if they are creative. Apply some avocado on a slice of bread for breakfast or snack time. Alternatively, make an avocado and tomato guacamole and have kids eat it with anything they want. It’s great for dipping carrots, broccoli, celery sticks and roast meat.
3. Throw in some milk.
One of the most important nutrients for kids is calcium because their bones are still developing. Ensuring your child has taken a glass of milk at least once a day will provide them with all the nutrients they need except vitamin C. One can make a milkshake or smoothie by blending a banana or strawberries with the milk. If this does not work, yogurt is a good alternative to milk. It has all the nutrients plus probiotics to fight any bacterial infections in the body.
4. Get fruity with mangoes and grapes.
These two fruits are great sources of vitamins and beta-carotene essential for fighting cancer. A bowl of grapes or freshly sliced mangoes are a healthy snack that comes in handy when the kids are on the computer, enjoying TV or doing homework. This will keep them out of the kitchen looking for soda and a bag of chips.
5. Take their whole wheat pasta experience to a whole new level.
Most kids love pasta because it’s delicious and quick. Buy whole wheat pasta instead of white, because it has more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and serve it with homemade tomato sauce, apple sauce or minced meat stew. The sauce served with this dish will provide more vitamins and proteins. Depending on how you do it, it, the result is full of flavor and excitement.
6. Make things interesting with quinoa.
This is a low-fat, high-fiber grain that looks and tastes like rice. However, it is a great source of protein, iron, potassium and vitamin. Serve this dish with beef or bean stew and a side of greens. The result is a nutrient-packed meal that looks good and tastes even better.
7. Salmon salad gives your meals that unique touch.
Fish is rich in omega 3, which is good for the heart and the brain. Unfortunately, children do not like the smell and taste of fish. A salad containing grilled salmon, lettuce, spinach and some tomatoes is the way to go here. This salad is incredibly delicious and can be taken while watching a movie or at lunch time. The salmon provides omega 3,
while the veggies add vitamins and beta-carotene.
8. Frozen yogurt is a good idea too.
While traveling or going to the park, carry some frozen yogurt instead of buying ice cream for the kids. This is also applicable in the evening when they want ice cream for dessert. Yogurt is full of calcium and energy, not to mention probiotics. Sprinkle some nuts on it for visual effect and flavor.
9. Freshly squeezed juice never fails.
Because of the activity children are involved in, they get thirsty pretty often. They also need sugar to keep up their energy levels. These physical needs lead them to run to the fridge looking for soda now and then. Instead of this, ensure there is a jug of freshly squeezed fruit juice in the fridge always. Apples, passion fruits, mangoes, and oranges are all great sources of juice. The juice will quench their thirst and provide them with sugar in a healthy manner.
10. Do not skimp on applesauce.
Applesauce can be made at home or bought in the store. It’s cheap, healthy and easy to make. One of the greatest benefits of applesauce, besides being very healthy, is that it’s versatile. It can be used to garnish pasta and rice dishes as well as vegetables. Applesauce in recipes is mostly used to add flavor and color because it’s very tasty. You can also substitute vegetable oil with applesauce when baking to have healthier and more savory pastries.
- Stocking the pantry and the refrigerator with healthy foods for children is one of many ways we can create and nurture healthy eating habits for them.
- It’s also important to lead by example and always eat as a family while discussing fun stuff. Eating time should be a special time for children and parents to bond without the TV, computer and other gadgets distracting them.
- Parents can also involve the children in meal preparation. When children participate in cooking and preparing the meal, they will be more excited to sit down and eat it.
- Allow the kids to choose what they want to eat that day from the healthy selection you have in the house. This will make them feel important and in control. Shopping with the children is also great, especially if you let them pick different items from the grocery store.
- Meal presentation and creativity is key when it comes to children and food. The meal must look as good as it tastes for the child to enjoy. It’s also good to create a happy environment for the children to whet appetites.