A healthy diet is never more essential than in childhood. As your child grows and develops, a well-rounded plate with all the major food groups can help them reach their full potential and power.
So, let’s take it back to the basics, and find out which 5 foods kids should be getting their fill of every day.
Vegetables can be a hard sell for many kids, but it’s all about the way you prepare them. If you have a picky eater on your hands, try experimenting with different recipes and methods of cooking. Think kid-friendly options like mashed sweet potatoes, veggie pizzas, carrot zucchini muffins, and more. The more colorful and diverse the plate you serve up is, the healthier it is, and the more likely your child is to dig in. Red and orange vegetables provide Vitamin A, peppers contain Vitamin C, and leafy greens like kale and spinach enrich the body with Vitamin K.
It may be a cliché that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but there’s more than a grain of truth in it. The important thing, though, is to eat different and diverse fruits. Apples contain fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C, and are easy to eat with peanut butter or in apple sauce. Oranges can be sliced, juiced, or grated, and deliver Vitamins A, B, and C, while berries are fantastic sources of antioxidants that can be sprinkled into yogurt, blended into smoothies, or simply enjoyed fresh.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains are a delicious and essential part of any child’s diet. Working them in can be as simple as swapping out refined grains like white rice and white bread for alternatives like brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, and more. Eating whole grains is much kinder to blood sugar and insulin, and can be just as tasty. Let your kids snack on popcorn, make tacos with whole wheat tortillas or savor some whole-grain mac-and-cheese for a kid-approved dinner.
4. Lean Protein
Protein is essential for boosting growth, but it’s vital to be aware of where your kids are getting their protein from. Try to avoid consuming too many red and processed meats like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats. Instead, encourage them to go for healthy alternatives like eggs, fish, and chicken.
Nuts, beans, peas, and seeds are also lean proteins that are good for vegetarians and are perfect for snacking on.
5. Healthy Fats And Oils
Artificial trans fats and saturated fats are two foods that you definitely don’t want to see in your child’s diet. So limit the amount of processed food you allow, and cut back on packaged baked foods, pizza dough, bagels, margarine, and fried foods. Choose foods with healthy fats and plant-based oils instead, like peanut butter, avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, tofu, and soy milk. Healthier for the heart, these wholesome alternatives will prepare your child for a long, happy, and healthy life.