Healthy Food For Children
Wondering what to feed your children in order to ensure proper nutrition, and promote happy, healthy growth? It's time to learn about some nutritious options.
Seriously, beans don’t get the credit they deserve. They’re so overlooked, so humble about all their health benefits, but really, they deserve a standing ovation. Not only are they chock full of protein and fiber, which helps keep you fuller for longer, and helps your bowel movements, they’re also super cheap and versatile.
Buy low-sodium canned varieties, or buy them in bulk and use a pressure cooker to make meal time a breeze. Then use them to make black bean soup, mash them up to make veggie burgers, or combine them with some lean meat to make chilli.
These days, there’s even bean pasta, readily available in stores. It’s a great, nutritional alternative to regular pasta made of flour and eggs.
Don’t be fooled, low-fat yogurt is packed with sugar substitutes that are terrible for anyone, not just children. Instead, opt for smaller portions of full-fat yogurt, which is actually super healthy.
It’s a filling snack, and if you get it plain, you can use it in tacos, on savory breads, or even in your baking to keep things healthier than adding other ingredients like butter. And if your child is really craving something sweet, there’s nothing saying a little honey and some berries on top won’t make that plain yogurt oh so much better!
Plus, yogurt has things like probiotics, good bacteria that regulate and maintain your gut, much like other fermented foods. Think kimchi or kombucha.
Unlike a regular potato, a sweet potato is versatile. Cut them into wedges, bake them and top with sea salt for some fries. Or mash them up and top with marshmallows for a sweet treat that reminds you of Thanksgiving. Pour some maple syrup on them, or serve them with a nice, nutritious kale salad on the side.
And your child will thank you! They’re delicious, cheap, and an effective way of getting your child to consume vitamin A, fiber, and potassium.
Talk about healthy fat. And if you’ve got the budget, why not? Sure, avocado may be extra at restaurants and fast food locations alike, but you can actually score quite a nice deal in stores. If you’re patient, and look for the right stores, you can get deals like 3 small avocados for a dollar!
Of course, that all depends on where you live, and what’s readily available locally. But that aside, avocados may be worth the hassle.
For one thing, they have monounsaturated fats, known to decrease inflammation and keep cholesterol under control. Also, because fat moves through your digestive tract slowly, you feel fuller for longer than you would otherwise. That means your child won’t be asking for a snack right after lunch time.
Smash them on toast, serve them baked with an egg inside, blend them up in a smoothie, or mix them into chicken salad. You can even make avocado pesto from them to serve with pasta.
Eggs are cheap, versatile, and packed with nutrition. One large egg contains 6 grams of protein alone. Certainly enough to keep your child feeling fuller for longer. Say hello to delaying snack time!
Eggs are also oftentimes fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, which help a child’s developing brain. It makes them mentally strong, and capable of learning more things at school.
Just make sure not to give babies eggs until somewhere between 6-12 months of age. This can help prevent things like food allergies later in life, which is a win-win for any parent.
Oh, and don’t worry about cholesterol, that’s a myth. Saturated and trans fats have a bigger impact on raising the bad cholesterol than eggs ever will. As long as your child isn’t eating 4 eggs or more per day, you’re good to go.
It’s no secret that children (and adults, let’s face it) love sweets. They want candy, sweet drinks, and ice cream all the time. But all of that stuff is loaded with sugar, and leads to things like tooth decay and obesity, a real epidemic in society today.
The good news is that berries are here to save the day. One cup of them equates to 4 grams of fiber. They have vitamin C and antioxidants that help support overall health, and child development.
Top yogurt with them, blend them into a smoothie, or serve them with some light whipped cream and sprinkle some mini dark chocolate chips on top. You can even make ice cream with them, the vegan kind, by blending them up with some non dairy milk, and then freezing them into an ice cream consistency.
Speaking of milk, children need it in their lives to promote healthy growth! Just one 8-ounce glass contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins B12 and D, and a whopping 8 grams of protein.
A 2-year old can consume no more than 32 ounces for the day. And an older child can opt for low-fat milk options like skim or 2%. Plus, milk serving sizes can even be consumed in the form of yogurt or cheese, since these foods contain high milk contents.
If your child doesn’t like regular cow’s milk, remember there are non dairy alternatives to try out too. Soymilk has the most protein in it, along with calcium and vitamin D. But other non dairy alternatives can also be fortified, depending on the brand.
All lean proteins really. Think fatty fish, chicken, and lean ground beef. These foods are packed with protein, something that helps their muscle growth, and hunger levels. It helps to maintain and even repair body tissue, as well as much-needed iron.
Without these vitamins, your child could have a lower resistance to infection, and that’s never a good thing.
Oily fish like tuna and salmon also help with brain growth, bones strength, and ligaments. A lack of it has been proven to lead to dyslexia and learning difficulties.
The recommended serving for children is poultry or other lean meats three to four times per week, and fatty fish twice per week.