10 Best Healthy Foods for Kids

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Eating healthy is very important for everyone but finding tasty and healthy foods for kids is vital for their growth and development. Creating a delicious and healthy diet for your children can be difficult, because children may be picky about what they eat. Even so, certain nutritional needs must be fulfilled, so understanding the potential benefits of healthy food for kids is critical.

How does Healthy Food Benefit Kids?

If you provide a diet full of healthy foods for kids, it ensures a strong foundation for good eating habits, promotes normal growth and development, stimulates cognitive strength, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.

Healthy Eating Habits

The best part of providing healthy food to kids is that it sets a powerful standard for their nutritional futures. Children will begin to associate eating with “healthy” eating, which will make it easier for them to resist the temptation of unhealthy food once they have the independence to choose their meals. Experts believe that one of the biggest problems with unhealthy adults is that they were never properly taught to eat healthy at a lower age. [1]

Boy holding cucumber slices on his eyes and another boy holding sliced veggies with plates of food in front of them

It’s OK to let kids play as they eat their food. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Developed Cognitive Strength

In our early years of life, cognitive development occurs rapidly and can largely set the tone for brain function as we age. Specific elements of our diet such as key minerals and fatty acids can help drive cognitive development and prevent motor skill deficiencies and learning disabilities, thus increasing IQ. [2]

Boosted Immune System

Fruits and vegetables are very important for immune system strength, particularly when children are young. As their immune system develops and becomes familiarized with different pathogens and foreign compounds in the body, a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins will protect them from infections. [3]

Prevention of Chronic Diseases

A balanced and healthy diet for kids is required to prevent their predisposition for certain diseases. Children who are obese are at risk of having type 2 diabetes. Sugar-intensive and processed food diets greatly increase the risk of chronic diseases and inflammation, even in our early years, so setting the standard early is critical. [4]

Improved Growth Process

Proper intake of protein, fats, and carbohydrates is required for growth and development to occur. If you want your kids to grow up strong, they must get all the nutrients required for muscle growth and bone development. The early years are vital to the long-term development, size and health of a child. [5]

Best Healthy Foods for Kids

Some of the best healthy foods for kids include whole wheat pasta, eggs, berries, nuts, tofu, and yogurt.


As a great source of protein and several vitamins such as vitamins A and D, eggs are healthy food for kids. While an excess of eating eggs can cause a rise in cholesterol levels, a moderate intake of eggs can help children grow strong and develop normally, thanks to the critical amino acids found in this common breakfast food. [6]


It shouldn’t be too hard to get children to eat sweet and delicious berries that are excellent for their immune system and prevent any inflammation at a young age. The flavor of these popular fruits also makes it easy to ensure that your kids get enough dietary fiber and other vitamins every day. Simple parfaits with berries and Greek yogurt are a great option for an easy and healthy breakfast. [7]


Teaching your kids that there are other sources of protein besides red meat and chicken is important, so introducing food like tofu can help them make healthier choices as they grow up. Preparing tofu in a flavorful way is key here, as plain tofu is unappealing to many kids. [8]


These are very simple snack foods and provide a nutrient-rich bite that will fill kids up and prevent other snacking on sweets or sugary treats. Nuts also come in many varieties and are often salted, which makes them resemble other savory snacks that your kids enjoy. Eating nuts daily is a great habit to form in your children. [9]


This probiotic-rich food is great for optimizing digestion and helping balance the bacterial environment in the stomach. It can help to relieve discomfort in kids who may have a sensitive stomach and ensure they have good nutrient uptake efficiency.

Whole Wheat Pasta

White pasta provides very little nutrition, but it is the most common pasta found in restaurants. Make the change to whole-wheat pasta early in life so your kids understand that there are many other healthier carbohydrate options.

Tips for Parents

As a parent trying to design a healthy eating plan for your kids, you can limit meal options, avoid buying sweets, reduce screen time, set a good example, control food supply and make eating an educational experience.

Buying Less Sugary Sweets

Eliminating the temptation of eating sweets is important, rather than always having a “stash” that kids see as a treat or a reward. The nutritional impact of sweets should be understood by kids, and keeping less sugary foods around is a good start. [10]

Limited Meal Options

By providing a limited amount of options, rather than a huge variety, there will be less conflict at mealtime, and you have more of an ability to control the nutrient balance of each meal.

Screen Time

Watching television and playing video games are sedentary activities, and are often accompanied by mindless snacking. Ensure that your kids are getting enough physical activity and working up an appetite for healthy, rejuvenating foods. [11]

Be a Good Example

If your kids see you eating junk food, they will want to do the same. Promoting healthy food for kids also requires parents to be responsible for their diet and set a good example. [12]

Educate your Kids

It is never too early to start teaching kids about the nutritional needs of the body. The sooner they understand the impact of food on their overall health, the sooner they can start making good dietary decisions for themselves. [13]

Healthy Foods Your Kids Like

There are many healthy foods for kids but finding foods they actually like can be challenging. If this is your experience as a parent, try adding foods like fruit smoothies, veggie dipping sticks, healthy pizzas, bean dips, and fish fingers to their diet.

Healthy Pizzas

Kids love to eat pizza, but try changing up the recipe with more fresh vegetables and less processed meat, a whole-wheat crust, a lighter helping of cheese, and some unique herbs and spices. It will be healthy food for kids that wouldn’t be too hard to convince them to eat.

Fruit Smoothies

Getting your kids involved in making their meals is very important, and fruit smoothies are great for including them in the preparation process. Have your kids choose between 5 or 6 fruits and experiment with different flavors until they find a combination they like. [14]


Getting kids to eat fish isn’t always easy, but the high concentration of protein and good omega-3 fats makes this an important seafood staple for growing children. Introducing salmon in salads or on sandwiches may be easier than putting a salmon steak down on the table, but adding this fish to their diet is a key part. [15]

Vegetable Dipping Sticks

Slicing up carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, celery, and broccoli makes for an impressive veggie tray that offers something for everyone, and is also fun to eat. Add a dip that isn’t based in a creamy dressing, such as hummus, which provides even more important nutrients to complete this healthy and portable snack.

Fish Fingers

Instead of cooking chicken fingers in the oven, try adding fish sticks into the dietary mix. Kids aren’t always crazy about fish but fish fingers or fish sticks are a fun food that they can dip into various sauces, while still benefitting from key minerals and fatty acids. [16]

Do you have any other ways? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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