NUTRITION FOR KIDS
It’s not a new news that toddlers, kids or children are difficult when it comes to food. Some are crazy about junk food while some just don’t enjoy eating anything. But being a parent it’s important to take responsibility for your kid’s health and nutrition in order to make them healthier, stronger and fitter physically and mentally. Consider the fact that children already have plenty of energy, they need proper nutrition to channelise that energy.
- Nowadays parents and kids have a busy lifestyle. This results in investing lesser time in food and nutrition and hence everyone turns towards convenience food. But these foods cause great inconvenience to the kids in their adulthood. Unhealthy eating habits lead to poor immune system, lifelong physical and mental illnesses. It is reported that half of the population of the United States have severe illnesses due to poor eating habits since childhood.
The benefits of practising healthy eating habits for kids are:
- Stabilises their energy
- Evens out their mood
- Helps them maintain healthy weight
- Prevents mental illnesses
Providing good nutrition to kids is the simplest way to prevent illnesses.
Remember that breakfast is an important meal for kids. The foods put up in body in morning are the nutritions that are been given to the kids to hassle throughout the day. So keep in mind that they should eat protein rich breakfast. There are many simple recipes out there which take minimal time for preparation and yields better nutritional values.
Adding eggs in any form in morning breakfast is a great way to include protein in your kid’s diet. You can add greek yoghurt, hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, whole grain/ whole wheat bread, fruit smoothies and any one fruit into your kids breakfast. This will ensure that the kid consumes all the vitamins, minerals and gets proper nutrition to thrive for the day.
There are several other ways to make kids understand the significance of food and it’s nutrition and also why junk food must be avoided as much as possible. But before that keep in mind that you should practise the same things too. Remember, kids learn by watching you more than listening you.
- When it comes to grocery shopping, include your kids in it too.
- Make them choose their veggies and proteins.
- Teach them how to read food labels.
- Tell them why food labels are present and how to choose right products
- A fun way to make kids understand food and nutrition is gardening. Planting fruits, veggies and herbs which are favourable to the weather conditions and their choices. Kids will value the food they eat, understand how much time and efforts are required to grow a single produce and hence have a sense of responsibility about food.
- Whole Milk – Low Fat Milk
- Soda – Water
- White Bread – Whole Wheat/ Whole Grain Bread
- Ice cream – Home made Smoothies
- Butter – Olive Oil
- Potato Chips – Baked chips/ nuts
While making these changes it might seem like things are getting costly. But as we all know, health care is costlier. Prevention is better than cure in all aspects now isn’t it?!
Another thing to keep in mind is your kids sugar intake. Sugar is empty calorie. It doesn’t provide any kind of nutrition to us. It might as well decrease the nutrition value of rest of food that we have already in-taken. So it’s important to cut down processed sugars as much as possible.
There is sugar in processed foods that you could have never guessed but would’ve known if you were reading labels of the food products. There’s sugar in bread, vegetable stalks, ‘healthy’ store bought smoothies, fancy packed muesli, granola and also protein bars.
A recommended portion of sugar for kids is 3 teaspoons per day. Does that happen in any households? I guess no. But there’s no point in banning sweets. Kids are going to rebel and demand more of it. They might even secretly indulge in it. Desserts or sweets shouldn’t be readily available after every meal or so. Make it a habit to bring in sweets/ desserts on special occasions only. This will cut down on sugar consumption on a great level and also enjoy them whenever available.
We already get sugar from all the whole foods available such as veggies, dairy products, fruits and grains so if you are worried about where the kids will get their fructose from? Don’t worry, you are already providing it to them via whole foods.
Another important aspect is consuming healthy fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are what we get from whole foods and are classified as good fats and trans fats is something we should keep distance from. These are damaging fats.
It is also important as a parent to make veggies and fruits look more appealing. Cutting them in bite size, making it look more interesting, providing cute dishes are some of the ways in which you can attract kids to consume good healthy food.
In conclusion, Be a role model for your kids, start making healthy decisions for them at younger age, provide them maximum whole foods, don’t force them to consume quantity but quality, set snack boundaries and avoid getting sugary, fatty foods into your houses as much as possible.
This will ensure a good nutritional and wholesome diet to your kids for them to be energetic and healthy throughout!