Healthy Diets for Children
All over the world today there are children missing out on a healthy diet. Unfortunately, there are some children whose families are unable to provide healthy foods, however in too many instances there are other families who don’t realize that the foods they are providing are unhealthy.
It is quite often a challenge for some families to even want to create a healthy diet for their children as their children may be fussy eaters or parents may feel they are too busy to prepare a home-cooked meal. There are so many readily available processed foods in the marketplace that tempt their fussy eaters and save them time.
The picky kids happily show their dislike for some foods, which often includes vegetables. Due to poor food choices, children are missing out on important nutrients that their bodies need for proper growth and body functioning.
If a healthy diet is not followed, vitamin and mineral supplementation may be necessary. However, many parents don’t even know their children are lacking in important vitamins and minerals.
A lack of knowledge on what foods do what for the body is one of the main reasons many children’s diets are inadequate.
Eating a lot and feeling full, doesn’t mean the child has eaten the right foods to satisfy their nutritional needs. Also, if your child ‘eats a lot’ but is always hungry, review the type of food they are eating. Protein and dietary fat will make them feel full for longer and the energy will be released at a steady, useable rate.
If the consumed foods are largely sugar-based carbs they will continually be looking for more. They will also display more behavioral problems as a result of blood sugar swings affecting their emotions.
If your child has become addicted to a high-carb diet of processed food and soft drink you will have to employ a weaning process to steadily incorporate healthier foods into their daily diet. Sudden deprivation will cause resistance and tantrums that will weaken your resolve to make wise choices for your child.
So what food choices for a healthy diet is recommended for children and what can a parent do to tempt their fussy eaters to eat their dinner?
Kids love sweets, but where possible offer naturally sweet healthy foods, such as fruit, rather than cookies or packet treats. You can also add a little bit of honey to sweeten some dishes, which will make them more appealing to kids. Yes, there’s sweetness added, but if they eat their honey carrots rather than no vegetables at all, that’s a win. You can gradually eliminate the honey over time, as their palate accepts the new foods.
Carbohydrates do not have to be eliminated from the diet as they are a source of energy. However, limit the amount of foods that are carbohydrate-rich, such as found in bread, cereals, oatmeal and pasta. There are plenty of healthy carbs, so choose the foods that will give your child vital energy and not contribute to excessive weight gain.
Proteins are very important. Make sure your children eat plenty of protein-rich foods, such as meats, eggs and cheese. They fill them up and taste great!
Milk and another all-time favorite for kids is yogurt. These protein foods are rich in calcium and other nutrients that are important for growth and development. You can make a ‘healthy’ milk shake (not one laden with chocolate or ‘flavor mixes’) or you can spoil them with yogurt as a special treat for dessert, instead of the ice-cream and topping.
If you must provide desserts, make them with real fruits and not from canned fruits laden with sugary syrup. Oranges are a healthy carb food that will provide them energy, essential nutrients and vitamins and boost up their immune system.
Don’t get into the habit of dishing up a dessert every night even if you think it is a healthy food choice. Bad habits are hard to break and eating sweets every day is not a healthy choice.
Avoid giving sweet unhealthy foods as a reward for finishing a vegetable dish. Although it might be effective, it will also condition your child’s mind to resent vegetables and look forward to their treat.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to make wise food choices on behalf of your children. It is unfair to allow them to take easy, tasty choices all the time as they will suffer for it later.
Why not tell your kids the positive effects of eating healthy foods for their growth and well-being? The world is so ‘body-conscious’ it leads to many unhealthy eating disorders. You can take control and feed their mind positively, while feeding them a healthy diet.