Kids spend a lot of energy during the day. When we add to it the fact they are rapidly growing and developing, it’s understandable why their proper nutrition needs to be one of your top priorities as a parent.
It’s sometimes hard for the parents to provide 3 healthy meals every single day but the important thing is to know what foods you need to focus on and what to avoid, as well as what other healthy habits to develop in your kids.
Mealtimes should be a priority for everybody
Healthy eating habits are easier to establish when all of you are sitting together at the table, as a family. That way, you’ll also have the opportunity to talk with your kids and find out what’s going on in their lives. Simultaneously, you’ll be monitoring their eating habits, identifying if there’s anything you need to warn them about. Bear in mind that it’s also an opportunity to set an example for your kids. Your kids look up to you, so if choose healthy foods but are not being obsessed with counting calories, they will probably do the same.
Get your kids involved
It’s smart to take your kids with you when you go shopping for groceries. First, teach them how to read food labels so that they know which nutrients they are choosing in food. You can also show them how to prepare some simple but healthy meals – it will make them feel in charge of what they eat.
Another way to involve them is to plant a garden together. Choose their favorite fruits, vegetables of herbs and help your kids get a precious lesson. They will feel proud of themselves while managing to plant, maintain and then harvest their own food. It will also motivate them to eat it.
Focus on the nutrient-dense foods
Children need lots of different nutrients, so paying attention to specific foods will make sure their bodies get what they need to develop.
First of all, kids need protein, so choose seafood, eggs, lean meat and poultry for the main meal of the day. You’ll probably say: “There’s a great butcher near me“, so pay him a frequent visit so that you get the best possible type of meat for your kids. Additionally, beans, peas, and soy products are rich in proteins, as well as seeds and unsalted nuts.
Next, kids should be encouraged to eat fruits and a big variety of it. Fresh, canned, dried or even frozen fruits are a better alternative to fruit juice. If your kids enjoy fruit juice a lot, then make sure it’s 100% juice with no added sugar.
Thirdly, vegetables also bring numerous vitamins and minerals, so serve at least two portions of various vegetables a day, especially red and orange veggies and dark green.
Whole-grains, for example, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice will help your kids have proper digestion.
Lastly, dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese will provide your kids with calcium and many other nutrients. Just make sure they are fat-free or low-fat.
Reduce the amount of sugar in a clever way
Refined sugar isn’t good for anybody, especially kids. You can reduce its amount in your kids’ diet without too much hustle if you do the following:
- Don’t ban the sweets completely but rather make them a rare, special occasion.
- Modify some recipes because many of them are equally tasty with less sugar, sometimes even with half the amount.
- Cutting out sodas and juices is a simple way to reduce sugar by 10 teaspoons, while the daily recommendation for sugar is only 3 teaspoons.
It’s also important to be patient with your kids. Sometimes you, too, find it hard to resist an unhealthy snack, so give your kids some slack. What matters is that you do your best to slowly introduce healthy habits.