Healthy Foods for Kids
Getting kids to eat healthy can seem almost impossible at times. This is often because they have been given unhealthy (but delicious, and even addicting) foods since they were very young. Of course, it doesn’t help that the fast food companies are always marketing to children to get them to want their unhealthy, highly processed, ‘extra value’ meals too.
If you look at how parents fed kids generations ago, and how a growing number of parents are feeding children today, you’ll realize that it is not impossible to get kids to eat healthy. Also, once the children get used to it, they enjoy the taste of healthy fruits, vegetables, meats, and other nutritious meals.
For parents who want to transition the diets of their children to something that will set a healthy standard that can be followed the rest of their life, it is important to understand that it will take some work (especially at first). If done properly it can provide your children with a strong foundation for a healthy body for years to come.
Choosing Healthy Foods
Of course, having healthy kids is going, to begin with choosing healthy foods for them to eat. Kids should be eating quite similar to how adults eat in most cases. For example, offering them high quality, unprocessed, organic foods is going to give them the nutrients they need without unwanted issues. When shopping, consider some of the following foods that most kids love.
Healthy Breakfast Foods
Starting the day off with healthy food is critical for children, especially during the school year. Children need healthy protein and other nutrients in the morning to get their body working and their mind functioning well. Consider adding these options to the breakfast plate in the morning:
- Eggs – Quite possibly the most nutritiously perfect food in the world. There are many ways to make them, and they are all delicious. Another great thing about eggs is that even relatively young kids can help to make them, which is an excellent way to encourage kids to eat healthy.
- Yogurt – Consider offering children sugar-free yogurt in the mornings. If they don’t like the taste at first, consider chopping up some fresh fruit to add in.
- Fruit & Cream – Fruit and cream is a delicious breakfast treat for special occasions. The high fat content will have them feeling full, and the fruit gives them great nutrition.
- Breakfast Burritos – Cook up some sausage, bacon, shredded chicken and mix it up with eggs and potatoes and you’ll have a healthy and nutritious breakfast that kids will love.
There are many other options for breakfast, but these suggestions are a great place to begin.
Healthy Lunch Foods
If you’re packing a lunch for your children, it can be tempting just to grab the pre-packaged lunch options, but those are very unhealthy. Instead, consider preparing multiple day’s lunches in advance, so you have all the convenience plus the excellent nutrition. Here are some lunch foods that kids will enjoy:
- Dried Meat – You can make jerky or other dried meats using natural spices and cure to make a healthy dried meat that will stay good in their lunch box.
- Fruit – Whole fruit or cut up in containers or baggies, this is a great snack that goes well with any lunch.
- Chicken Tenders – Cook your chicken tenders and pack them up in a container or bag. Kids love them, and they are far healthier than the similar options that are provided by school lunch programs in most cases.
- Vegetables – Pack up carrots, celery, or any other vegetable your children enjoy and add them to the lunch bag.
- Raisins – Raisins are often a favorite of children and for good reason. They are nutritious and delicious for everyone.
Healthy Dinner Foods
Ideally, you should cook dinners at home and enjoy them at the table with the family. There are many great benefits to this, including quality time with the family. The following are options that are healthy and that most kids can enjoy.
- Meatballs – Meatballs with a healthy sauce are a fun way for kids to get lots of protein. Adults often enjoy these items as well.
- Grilled Chicken – One of the best things about grilled chicken is that you can make it taste like anything your kids like. If they like ranch sauce, get a natural yogurt based ranch. Ketchup? Choose a sugar-free ketchup. Many healthy sauces and dips can make kids love chicken.
- Salad – While most people don’t think that kids like salads, it is often just because they are made poorly. Mixing in fresh strawberries and using a healthy dressing can make salads a treat that kids truly enjoy.
- Veggies & Cheese – A great way to get kids to enjoy most vegetables is to add melted cheese. Broccoli with cheese on it is a delicious addition to any meal.
Encourage Healthy Portion Control
One of the most important things you can teach kids when it comes to eating healthy is portion control. Sadly, this is one area where most parents have troubles in. Children are often scolded for not clearing their plate, but the fact is, a plate full of food is going to be far too much for a child. Giving your children reasonable amounts of each food at meals will allow them to eat until they are hungry, and then stop.
On this same topic, parents shouldn’t reward children by giving them extra food. Parents too often say that kids can get dessert only if they finish their entire meal. This is essentially teaching kids that if they overeat a healthy meal, they will be allowed to overeat further with unhealthy snacks!
Have children eat smaller meals, and eat more often, this is a great way to encourage portion control. Many people are offering 5-7 small meals per day, but each meal consisting of less than half of what the children would usually eat. This allows their stomachs to remain smaller, which is how they should be.
Making Healthy Habits
Like any good choices in life, the best thing you can do is to stick with it until it becomes a habit. While it can be difficult to do at first, you’ll be setting a great example of how to make good, healthy decisions for your children.