Healthy Foods for Kids

Healthy Foods for Kids

We all know that kids can be a little finicky about food at times, but as parents, it is our job to help guide them toward good eating habits. While this is not always easy, there are tips to help you accomplish this.

Like adults, kids need the same basic nutrition on a daily basis. They need lean protein, good fats, complex carbohydrates, fiber and water to build healthy bodies. Television doesn’t help, what with all the fast food advertisements that entice them. And then there’s the fact that kids want to eat at all the fast food places just like their friends.

As in everything else, kids learn their food smarts from your example. If you eat healthy, nutritious foods, they will accept the same foods more readily. If you bring healthy foods into the home regularly and limit the not-so-nutritious foods you buy, then your child learns to eat more on the healthy side.

Here are some tips to help interest your kids in good foods:

  • Take your kids to the grocery store with you and let them help you choose foods that are part of a healthy diet. Every week, let them choose different vegetables and fruits to try.
  • When you are preparing meals, let the kids help. They are more likely to happily eat something they’ve helped prepare.
  • Let the kids help prepare their school lunches and choose what goes into them.
  • Try to sit down to dinner together as many nights as possible. This encourages healthy eating and better communication with your children.
  • At dinner, ask your kids to try at least three bites of everything on their plates and give each food a grade of A B C D or F. This becomes a fun game and you can take note of which foods they like best and can serve those more often. It also gives the child a chance to get used to and acquire a taste for different foods.
  • Keep healthy snacks readily available for when kids are hungry, such as fresh fruit, individual bags of cut-up veggies, cheese, whole-grain crackers, nuts, popcorn, rice cakes or cereal.
  • Don’t restrict food. Restricting food increases the risk that your child could develop eating disorders later in life. Let your child eat when they’re hungry; just direct them to something nutritious.
  • When your child chooses healthy foods, make a point to praise their choice. This will make them want to choose healthy food more often.
  • Invest in a small cooler bag to keep their lunch fresh and cool until lunchtime. This way, you’ll have many more food choices to keep them interested and happy.
  • Freeze cartons of fruit juice and use them to keep their lunchbox cool. Also encourage them to drink plenty of water.
  • Less-than-nutritious foods are okay once in a while. Restricting them altogether just makes them more appealing.
  • Don’t use food as a reward. This can create weight problems later in life. Instead, find other ways to reward your children, like a trip to the mall or the zoo or letting them choose a movie to rent. Simple praise along with a hug and a kiss works well too!
  • It’s not a good idea to make kids "clean" their plates. This, too, can create weight problems down the line. Besides, like yourself, your kids know when they are full.


Kids - eating healthy food

Three meals a day plus two or three snacks is a good habit to get your kids into, just as with adults. We’re not talking large quantities of food here, however, but small portions and healthy choices. Research shows that eating this way helps keep your metabolism going strong. And speaking of strong, encourage your kids to get plenty of exercise by playing outside, taking up sports or just taking walks as a family. Exercise goes hand in hand with good nutrition toward creating a healthy body. Researchers have found that when both parents are physically active, the child is six times more likely to be physically active. Also, if both parents eat high fat foods, the child is three to six times more likely to be overweight. We have a great opportunity as parents to guide and mold our kids into healthy, happy beings and with a little thought and planning, we can easily accomplish that.