Healthy Foods for Kids

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Anyone who’s ever tried to feed a child (something other than cereal or ice cream) knows that they don’t always eat what you want them to. It’s stressful trying to figure out what to make to nourish their tiny bodies. Plus, just because it gets served doesn’t mean your kids will eat it. But kids need 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 nutrient-dense foods, we compiled expert tips for mealtimes and a list of the top healthy foods for kids.

Healthy Food for Kids :

These foods are not only healthy for your kids (and for you!) but are also versatile and easy to prepare.

  1. Healthy Foods for KidsYogurt

“Yogurt is a wonderful 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 protein and vitamin D, a nutrient many kids lack in their diet.” Yogurt also delivers probiotics, good bacteria that are important for maintaining a healthy gut. An easy way to pick out a healthy yogurt? Buy plain Greek yogurt, which has zero added sugars plus twice the protein of regular 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 whole-grain cereal on top or creating a fun parfait with fruit. Dress up yogurt even more for kids by turning it into frozen yogurt pops or frozen yogurt bark.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Beans

Beans are a very nutritious food. They’re loaded with protein and fiber, plus they’re cheap and take little time to prepare. 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. “Replacing ground beef with beans in a quesadilla or tossing beans with pasta helps maintain high-quality, lean protein while adding a key nutrient: fiber,” says Andrews. There are pastas made from beans too. “Kids ages 4 to 8 need around 25 grams of fiber a day, and most products marketed directly to kids, like fruit snacks and cheese crackers, contain little if any. Fiber helps promote healthy digestion and helps your kids feel fuller, longer, so they aren’t asking you for a snack 5 minutes after dinner ends,” says Andrews.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Eggs

One large egg has 6 grams of protein and delivers vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron, per the USDA. Some eggs are also fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in kids’ brain development. Don’t worry about the cholesterol—saturated and trans fats have a bigger impact on raising bad cholesterol than eggs. At breakfast, skip the pastries, fried foods and processed meats and scramble some eggs for your kids instead. If your kids aren’t fans of scrambled, try different presentations like egg salad or egg casseroles.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Sweet Potato

Short on time and need something nutritious? Wash a sweet potato, poke some holes in it and microwave it for 3-5 minutes (depending on its size). Slice it lengthwise, let it cool, then scoop it onto your child’s plate. Whether your kid is 6 months, 6 years old or 16 years old, sweet potatoes are appealing across the board (because they’re sweet!). They’re packed with vitamin A (over 250% daily value for an adult), fiber and potassium, per the USDA. Increasing potassium keeps blood pressure and hearts healthy.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Milk

Milk helps build strong bones because it’s full of calcium and vitamin D. According to the USDA, one 8-ounce glass is also high in phosphorus, vitamin B12 and potassium, and has 8 grams of protein. Babies shouldn’t have cow’s milk until age 1. Offer whole milk until age 2 but keep it under 16 ounces for the day or they might be too full to eat their food, per the CDC. If your kid doesn’t like cow’s milk, there are a variety of alternatives on shelves. But check the nutrition labels and choose unsweetened or plain varieties for your kids. Plain may have some added sugar to match the sweetness of dairy milk, which may be more palatable to tiny taste buds. Every alternative milk has a slightly different nutrition profile; soymilk has the most protein. And you’ll get the same calcium and vitamin D benefit as long as the milk is fortified.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Nuts & Seeds

Swap the low-fiber, crunchy kid snacks (you know the ones that are practically air) for nuts and seeds to deliver a healthful trio of fiber, protein 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 safe choice and a good way to get important 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 fat that the body can’t make (so you have to eat it). Offer nuts alone or with dried fruit, throw flaxseed into smoothies, sprinkle chia seeds on peanut butter toast, use sliced almonds to “bread” chicken instead of breadcrumbs or make your own granola bars.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Whole Grains

Whole grains deliver a nutrient lacking in most kids’ diets: fiber. Fiber keeps them full and regular, in addition to other health benefits. Kids need about 25 grams per day, but many snacks only contain 1-3 grams per serving. Look for 100% whole wheat or whole grain in the ingredients list and at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving. High-fiber whole-grain foods for kids include oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas and whole-wheat bread. If your kids don’t tolerate whole-wheat pasta, try half whole-wheat, half-white. You can also use whole-wheat flour or white whole-wheat flour when making pancakes, cookies or pizza dough. Healthy foods for kids.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Berries

One cup of berries has 4 grams of fiber and is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants like anthocyanins. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are also lower in sugar than many fruits. Fresh berries make an excellent snack for kids or a great topping for yogurt. If berries aren’t in season, buy unsweetened frozen berries and mix them into a jar of overnight oats or a smoothie. Healthy food for kids is very important.

Healthy Foods for Kids

  1. Vegetables-Any Kind

Kids and adults alike don’t eat enough veggies. If you can get your kid to eat any vegetable—kudos! However, the more color and the greater the variety of vegetables, the better. Each color delivers 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. Healthy foods for kids

 

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