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Healthy Food For Your Child

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As a parent, trying to get your child to eat certain foods can be frustrating. The young palette often does not like new colors, tastes and textures in food. However, if you teach children good eating habits early in life, they can make healthy choices throughout their lives!

Every child is different. Some are content with three meals a day filled with fruit and vegetables, others eat many small portions and are extremely picky. There is no “right” way for your child to eat as long as they are gaining weight and developing appropriately. However, it is important to continue to offer your child a wide variety of foods, even if they are very picky about what they put in their mouths. Even if your child does not eat a balanced diet on some days, the weekly menu is rounded off in this way. Remember that as long as healthy choices are modeled by the parent and continuously offered (not pressured) to the child, the child will eventually try them too!

Here are some tips to make sure your child is getting enough nutrition:

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  • Feed your child a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Add foods that are different colors for both nutritional and aesthetic reasons.

    – Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables from an early age. This helps the child form healthy eating habits early on

    – Model healthy eating habits. Kids often want to eat what their parents eat, so make sure it’s nutritious!

    – Add fruits and vegetables to your child’s favorite dishes. For example, a pasta sauce rich in diced vegetables, or a cucumber and sprouts sandwich.

An important step towards a healthy diet is to reduce the amount of processed foods in your child’s diet. Cookies, candies, and other packaged snacks contain large amounts of sugar and artificial flavors or colors. Even fruit drinks belong in the same unhealthy category! Processed foods are high in calories without much nutritional value. Not only that, but all of the chemicals in these foods can lead to hyperactivity, restlessness, poor attention span, and obesity in children. Parents often find that once processed foods are eliminated from their child’s diet, overall physical and mental health improves significantly.

Here are some tips for eating whole foods:

– Avoid processed/sugary snacks: chips, cookies, donuts, candy, etc.

– 100% fruit juice instead of sugary drinks (soda, iced tea, fruit drinks etc.)

– Baked potato instead of french fries

– Using whole grains instead of white bread/pasta/flour

– Oatmeal instead of sugary breakfast cereal

– Use leftover chicken or turkey instead of processed cold cuts

– Breaded chicken breast strips instead of store-bought chicken nuggets

– Air popcorn instead of chips

– Popsicles made from 100% pure fruit juice

– Fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks: apples, bananas, berries, grapes, celery, carrots, cauliflower, etc.

Thanks to Eileen Suwanda

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