Eating healthy is very important for adults but finding options of 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, there are certain nutritional needs that 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 developments, stimulates cognitive strength, keeps them healthy and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
Healthy Eating Habits
The best part of providing healthy food for 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 own 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.
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 the IQ.
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.
Prevention of Chronic Diseases
A balanced and healthy diet for kids is required to prevent their predisposition for certain diseases. Diabetes, for example, is often experienced by people who never developed good dietary habits as children. 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.
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, it is important that the body gets all the nutrients it requires for muscle growth and bone development. The early years are vital to the long-term development, size and health of a child.
Best Healthy Foods for Kids
As a great source of protein and a number of vitamins, such as vitamin A and D, eggs are a healthy food for kids. While an excess of eating eggs can cause a rise in cholesterol levels, moderate intake of eggs can help children grow strong and develop normally, thanks to the critical amino acids found in this common breakfast food.
It shouldn’t be too hard to get children to eat sweet and delicious berries, which is excellent for their immune systems and preventing any inflammation at a young age. The flavor of this popular fruit 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.
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.
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 on a daily basis is a great habit to form in your children.
This probiotic-rich food is great for optimizing digestion and helping balance the bacterial environment in the stomach. This 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.
Limited Meal Options
By only 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.
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.
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 with their diet and set a good example.
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.
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.
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. This is a healthy food for kids that shouldn’t be too hard to convince them to eat.
Getting your kids involved in making their own 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.
Getting kids to eat fish isn’t always easy, but the high concentration of protein and good omega-3 fats make 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.
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.
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.