As fast as children back to school, their brains are just as rapidly growing and changing, they must eat very healthy foods.
Although you don't want to get in the habit of forcing your kids to eat foods they don't like or make them “clean” their plates, there are lots of healthy foods children like.
Parents frequently overlook these healthy foods and go straight to what they think are more “kid-friendly foods,” such as hot dogs, French fries, pizza, chicken nuggets, juice, and soda. Your kids would be much better off getting to avoid those types of high-calorie, high-fat foods
You know it's better to serve your kids vegetables instead of ice cream. But what are the healthiest foods for kids—and how do you get them to eat them? Learn the tips from the experts, plus our top 10 healthy foods for kids.
Anyone who's ever tried to feed a kid knows that they don't always eat what you want them to. It's stressful trying to think out what to make to nourish their tiny bodies.
Plus, just because it gets accepted doesn't mean your kids will eat it. But kids want to nutritious food-healthy fats for their brains, calcium for their bones, and all the vitamins and minerals vegetables offer-and more. To take out some of the stress and make sure you're offering your child the healthiest foods, we gathered expert tips for mealtimes as well as a list of the top 10 healthy foods for kids.
The 10 Healthiest Foods for Kids of All Ages
These 10 foods are not only super-healthy for your kids but are also versatile and easy to prepare.
One large egg contains 6 grams of protein and many other vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iron. eggs are also have enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, which helps in kids' brain improvement. At breakfast, skip the fried foods, pastries, and processed meats and scramble some eggs for your kids instead. If your kids aren't fans of scrambled, try different preparations like egg salad or egg casseroles.
Eggs also make a good starter food for children. Doctors used to advise don't giving eggs until the babies were 12 months old, but new research shows that introducing allergenic foods between 6 and 12 months might aid prevent food allergies.
Eggs are a good source of protein and contain some iron and many other minerals and vitamins.
What about cholesterol? Eggs do contain cholesterol, but they do not have more saturated fat, which is the more significant factor in raising a person's cholesterol level. Don't worry about cholesterol levels-saturated and trans fats have a greater impact on raising bad cholesterol than eggs. However, an egg is every other day of fine food for most kids.
How to Serve It: Fold scrambled eggs into a whole-grain tortilla for a filling breakfast or afternoon snack. You can also try presenting egg salad sandwiches.
It often looks like toddlers and preschoolers just can't get enough milk, but as they get older, many kids start to drink less and less milk. This probably isn't because they develop a distaste for milk, but rather because so many other drinks, including fruit drinks, soda, and too much fruit juice, become available at home.
Milk is a good source of vitamin D, calcium, and protein for kids and should be a part of every child's diet—unless they have a milk allergy.
Milk nurses build strong bones because it's rich in calcium and vitamin D. One 8-ounce glass is also high in phosphorus, vitamin B12, and potassium, and has 8 grams of protein.
Kids shouldn't have cow's milk until age 1. avoid the whole milk until age 2 but keep it under 32 ounces for the day or they might be too full to eat their food. After age 2, kids can drink low-fat milk with the purpose of three portions of dairy per day-yogurt and cheese count too.
If your kid doesn't like cow's milk, there are a variety of options on shelves today. But check the nutrition labels and choose unsweetened or plain varieties for your kids. Plain may have some added sugar to equal the sweetness of dairy milk, which may be more palatable to tiny taste buds. Every alternative milk has a somewhat different nutrition profile; soymilk has the most protein. And you'll get the same calcium and vitamin D benefit if the milk is fortified.
Fat is important to brain health, says Laura Lagano, RD. A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein than other yogurts) can aid keep brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information.
“A yogurt is a great option for breakfast, a snack, or even a dessert but you have to watch the added sugar content,” says Katie Andrews, M.S., R.D., a childhood nutrition coach and owner of Wellness by Katie.
“It's a healthy, filling snack that checks the boxes on vitamin D and protein, a nutrient many kids lack in their diet.”
Yogurt also delivers probiotics, good bacteria that are essential for maintaining a healthy gut. An easy way to choose healthy yogurt. Buy plain Greek yogurt, which has zero added sugars plus twice the protein of normal yogurt. Most yogurt that's flavored has added sugar; some new products are flavored with just fruit, but plain is always a safe bet. It's easy to add flavor yourself by adding berries and sprinkling a whole-grain cereal on top or creating a fun parfait with fruit.
Yogurt is a healthful food for kids, particularly for kids who don't drink a lot of milk, yogurt is a good source of calcium. Often, yogurts provide more calcium compared to milk.
You may think that your children are doing fine with this one because they already eat yogurt, but if all they eat is a kids' brand of yogurt with more sugar and no added probiotics, then they may be avoided on some of the nutritional benefits of yogurt. When picking out yogurt for your kids, look for one with “live active cultures” that is low-fat and without more added sugar. You may also look for one with added probiotics, although not all research agrees that they are helpful.
How to Serve It:
Pack Greek yogurt in a lunch with some fun mix-ins: cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber, and blueberries for a dose of nutrients called polyphenols. Dark chocolate chips are another option. They have polyphenols, too. These nutrients are thought to keep the mind sharp by increasing blood flow to the brain
Kids don't like to eat enough veggies. If you can get your kid to have any vegetable-kudos! However, the more color and the greater the variety of vegetables, the better. Each color gives different nutrients: leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in vitamin K, orange and red vegetables have vitamin A, peppers are packed with vitamin C, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower contain cancer-fighting compounds and feed good gut bacteria.
“Really it is about taking the ‘fear' away from veggies-while a slice of pizza is very approachable, a stalk of broccoli can seem intimidating,” says Andrews.
“So, make veggies easy and accessible. Wash and cut celery, carrot and cucumber sticks and keep them in the fridge for snacking. If you have some green space possible, plant a small garden with sweet baby peppers and cherry tomatoes; when kids grow their own food, they are proud of the results, and therefore more willing to indulge in the bounty.”
Andrews also recommends introducing new vegetables along with ones that your kid is already familiar with:
“Make-your-own taco bars or pizza night at home is a great way to encourage young chefs!”
Don't give up after trying a vegetable a few times. It takes repeated preparations. Switching up how you serve the vegetables can help too. Some kids don't like to eat raw tomatoes but will eat cooked diced tomatoes in a pasta sauce.
Of course, vegetables are going to be on the list of the best healthy foods for kids, but that doesn't mean tricking your kids into having them or trying to force your kids to eat broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.
There are lots of vegetables that kids do like, such as cooked carrots, peas, corn, and baked potatoes.
Remember to a variety of vegetables to your kids at an early age, offer lots of choices, set a good example by eating vegetables as a family and continue to offer very small portions of vegetables, even when your kids don't eat them. If you keep trying them, they finally eat them.
Kids often need sweets, particularly when they're feeling lazy. Apples added with plums are lunchbox-friendly and included quercetin, an antioxidant that may fight the decrease in mental skills.
Like most fruits, apples are a great snack food. They are juicy, sweet (although some varieties are tart), have vitamin C, are low in calories (about 90 calories for a medium apple) and have about 5g of fiber for an unpeeled whole apple.
Unfortunately, apples are one of those healthy foods that can get changed into a “kid-friendly food” and lose a lot of their nutritional benefits.
Instead of giving their kids an unpeeled whole apple or a cut up a whole apple, parents often give kids peeled apples, applesauce or apple juice as alternatives. Peeling the apple makes it waste about half of its fiber, and applesauce is also much lower in fiber than a whole apple and has more sugar and calories.
How to Serve It:
The good stuff is often in the skin of the fruit, so buy organic, wash well, and put the fruit in a bowl for quick snacks.
6. Nuts & Seeds
Swap the low-fiber, crunchy kid snacks for nuts and seeds to give a healthy trio of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Mix it up by offering cashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and more. If your child has a tree nut allergy, seeds may be a great choice and a good way to get essential nutrition.
Nuts are high in magnesium, a mineral that's crucial in bone development and energy production. Walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are high in alpha-linolenic (ALA) acid, a type of omega-3 fats that the body can't make (so you must eat it). Give nuts alone or with dried fruit, throw flaxseed into smoothies, sprinkle chia seeds on peanut butter toast, use sliced almonds to “bread” chicken alternatively of breadcrumbs, or make your own granola bars.
Nuts are natural power-packs of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, protein, and fiber, which help children grow, develop and learn. Examples of nuts combine with almonds, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamias, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
Nuts and seeds are surely one of nature's best snack foods and they can be used in a variety of ways. Of course, the best way is always going to be a small handful a day. Remember, the typical helping of a nut or seed is 1 ounce or just enough to fill the palm of your hand. It's necessary to remind parents to not let their children snack right out of the bag, as they will typically not realize how many they've eaten until they've eaten too many.
Nuts can be eaten on their own as a fast and healthy snack or used to add crunch and variety to recipes.
Raw or dry-roasted and unsalted nuts are the healthiest option. Nuts with added sugar or salt should be avoided where possible.
Nuts should be included in the diet from six months of age just like other foods. Children under five should avoid whole nuts due to the difficulty of choking. Nut pastes or groundnuts are the best alternatives
How to Serve It:
Roasted nuts from a can are typically going to have additives that may counteract some of the good parents are doing by choosing a healthy snack. So, if they like their nuts and seeds roasted, encourage them to do it themselves. This can be prepared by spreading a single layer of nuts or seeds in a baking dish or sheet and then lightly coating them with olive oil. This will serve the nuts or seeds brown while roasting. Then they should be put in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes only.
7. Sweet Potato
Short on time and need something nutritious? Wash sweet potato, poke some holes in it and microwave it for 3-5 minutes. Slice it along, let it cool, then scoop onto your child's plate.
Whether your kid is 6 months, 6 years old, sweet potatoes are advancing across the board (because they're sweet!). They're stuffed with vitamin A (over 300 percent daily value for an adult), fiber and potassium. Limiting salt and increasing potassium keeps blood pressure and heart-healthy.
As much as children enjoy oatmeal cereal, it is a little surprising that they grow up on white bread and other refined grains and don't give often oatmeal and more whole grains to the children.
Oats are rich in fiber and antioxidants and benefits your kid with a steady stream of energy for the day. Moreover, it is easy to digest and enhances the immune system of the child.
You can resist that trend by serving your kids oatmeal, which many kids love, and lots of oatmeal foods and snacks (oatmeal cookies, oatmeal bars, etc.).
Protein- and fiber-rich oatmeal helps keep the heart and brain arteries clear. In one study shows kids who ate sweetened oatmeal did better on memory-related school tasks than those who ate a sugary cereal.
How to Serve It:
Add cinnamon. Compounds in the flavoring may protect brain cells, research shows.
Beans are good for the heart… so the saying goes. They are also best for kid's brains since they have energy from protein, complex fiber, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals. They can maintain energy levels high. Kidney and pinto beans are good choices as they contain more omega-3 fatty acids than other bean varieties, which are essential for brain growth and function.
Beans are a humble superfood. They're packed with protein and fiber, plus they're cheap and take little time to cook. Buy low-sodium canned beans such as black beans, chickpeas or kidney beans. Simply open the can, rinse them to remove extra sodium and add to any dish.
How to Serve It:
Add beans as a salad topper, as filler for lettuce wraps, or even add them to spaghetti for a more nutritious meal.
Salmon is the best source for a high-quality protein required for the proper growth of children. Besides, it has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the development of the brain and a healthy heart. A plus point about salmon is that it contains a natural flavor and requires minimal seasoning. So, you can bake or grill it for a few minutes, and it is ready to be served.
Stuffed with protein, fish helps build healthy muscles and bones. Oily fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines also contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which support eye, brain and nerve development.
How to prepare it:
Coat fish in a batter of rice Krispies, crushed cornflakes or wholegrain breadcrumbs. Mix fish with rice, tofu or potatoes to make sushi, fish balls or fishcakes.
7 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Better
Consider the below points to inculcate healthy eating habits in your child.
- Be a Role Model: Remember that you are the parent, to offer a variety of food, it's your child's job to eat it. Hence, choose a healthy diet yourself and be cautious about what example you set for your child will be following your manners.
- Cook More Meals at Home: Make it a point to cook healthy Indian food for your kid, rather than opting for takeaway food from hotels. Many of the food items that you have outside contain an uncertain amount of oil and fat, which can be detrimental to your kid. The dishes you prepare at home are healthiest for your growing child and will help to keep him hale and hearty.
- Get Kids Involved: Kids often love to help you out in the kitchen, and you get to spend more quality time together. Look for easy-to-make recipes, which your kid can help you with. Here’s a way to keep them engaged and educate them about healthy recipes at the same time.
- Focus on an Overall Diet: Apart from focusing on some specific food ingredients, it is advisable that you add more wholesome food and less of processed or packaged food to your child’s diet. Processed and fried foods are unhealthy options for the child, as they contain excess sugar and fat content.
- Disguise the Taste of Healthier Food: Often, kids do not find healthy food to be a tasty one. To get him munching healthy bite, you need to merge the taste with some delicious recipe or add as an add-on to sandwiches or wraps.
- Limit Portion Sizes: You should guide your child to eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they feel full. Avoid enforcing the ‘clean plate’ rule and using food as a reward, as it can negatively affect your child’s eating habits and judging capacity.
- Make Healthy Snacks: Keep an adequate amount of fruits, vegetables, and healthy beverages like milk, fresh fruit juice handy, to replace soda, chips, and cookies.
Children should be fed adequate nutrition for their optimum growth and development of their body. They require regular intake of food enriched with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients required by the body. Avoid feeding them processed, and packaged foods or snacks as these contain excess sugars, which can lead to weakening their immune system and adversely affect their health in the long run. As a parent, you need to introduce them to healthy food ingredients in ways that they love and get habituated with healthy foods.
Author Bio: Kalai Vani
Kalai Vani is the content writer of SchoolBasix. she's a blogger, author who specializes in email marketing and digital marketing. Kalai focuses on helping people to understand how to better drive traffic, develop relationships and earn revenue online.