Finding new and exciting ways om providing your kids with nutritious foods daily can be challenging. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of meal planning when you factor in the unique nutritional needs of infants and toddlers and the pressures of pleasing a finicky eater.
Have no fear. You can do this. Developing good eating habits in children is possible, as is reducing the stress associated with feeding them. Read on for some suggestions for kid-friendly, nutritious meals.
All ages benefit from paying attention to what they put in their bodies.
There are many dietary recommendations, fads, and rules to follow. Constantly showing up in various social media streams, they can be difficult to make sense of due to the sheer volume of information they contain. Therefore, you should focus on what medical professionals advise rather than what the latest fad promises.
First of all, you shouldn’t stress too much about your kid being overweight. Prioritize healthy eating and regular exercise. When children experience growth spurts often experience fluctuations in their body weight as a natural byproduct of this process. Most children are healthy if they are physically active and consume a varied diet.
Consult a physician before making any dietary changes if you or your child are concerned about their weight. If you think your child has a food allergy or sensitivity, you should consult with your child’s doctor before removing any foods from his diet.
Your kid’s growth and development, both mentally and physically, depend on him or her getting healthy food. Here’s a rundown of the essentials for kids of all ages:
Babies (up to 1 year)
Breastmilk or formula meets most of a baby’s nutritional requirements in the first year. Breastmilk may not contain enough iron and zinc, so introducing iron-fortified infant cereal and pureed fruit, vegetables, and meats around four to six months of age can help. You should stay away from low-fat yogurts and cheeses. The proper development of a baby’s brain and nerves depends on the consumption of healthy fats. Avoiding cow’s milk until after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the first birthday because of the risk of allergic reactions, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Young children and those in preschool (age 1-5 years)
Children of this age tend to overeat because they are experiencing growth spurts. It’s not unusual for them to go from eating a lot one day to very little the next. Here are some suggestions for toddler meals.
- Individuals in this age range are known to be particularly picky eaters. Pick your battles, and prioritize ensuring they consume sufficient amounts of calcium and fiber. Strong bones and teeth are the results of a diet rich in calcium. Toddlers, who typically prefer bland, starchy foods like chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, can benefit greatly from increasing their fiber intake. Constipation is avoided, and digestion is improved thanks to fiber.
- You can get a lot of calcium from drinking milk or calcium-fortified alternatives to milk. Tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, cereals, waffles, and oatmeal are also good choices.
- High-fiber foods include those that are rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Grade schoolers (age 6-11 years)
Don’t skimp on offering a wide selection of nutritious options for children. Your child will develop more autonomy (and preferences) as he gets older in terms of what he eats. Teach your kid what foods will make him strong and healthy, and you’ll give him the power to make good food choices on his own. Talking to your child about Go, Glow, Grow, and Whoa foods is a simple way to introduce him to the concepts of kid nutrition.
- Go food. Kids need these foods to have the stamina to run, jump and play. Pasta, potatoes, rice, and bread are all examples of foods that fit into the “Go” category.
- Grow food. By strengthening their teeth and bones, as well as their muscles, these foods aid in their physical development. Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt are all examples of Grow foods.
- Glow food. These vibrant produce options contain healthy nutrients that contribute to radiant skin, lustrous hair, and sparkling eyes. Children who take them have a stronger immune system and recover more quickly from illness.
- Whoah foods. These items include sweets and salty snacks. Instill in your kid that some Whoa foods are fine for eating on occasion. Eating too many Whoa foods has been linked to increased body fat and diminished vitality.
Children in their early teen years (age 12-18 years)
Teenagers require a higher caloric intake to keep up with their rapid rate of growth. Teens often choose high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like sugary drinks and fast food when they’re hungry. Watch out for Whoa foods and prioritize Go, Grow, and Glow foods to ensure they are still getting enough nutrition. Consuming an excessive amount of Whoa foods has been linked to the development of diabetes.
Get these nutrients into your teen:
- Calcium. Most of your child’s bone mass is developed at this age, making calcium a crucial nutrient. To help his bones, you should get him to consume more calcium-rich foods like milk, milk products, and calcium-fortified milk alternatives.
- Iron. Menstruating adolescent girls have a greater need for iron supplements.
- Protein. Boys of the same age require a marginally greater amount of protein than girls. Foods like chicken, meat, fish, peanut butter, nuts, eggs, and dairy are all excellent choices for those looking to up their protein intake.
Create nutritious eating routines.
Having young children puts you in a prime position to instill good nutritional habits in them from an early age. However, older children can be won over at any time. Take the time to discuss how they can start eating healthier.
- Let’s talk about the best ways to eat a healthy lunch at school, whether in the cafeteria or at a nearby restaurant.
- Have a conversation with him about the requirements of his body for peak performance.
- Compare how he feels after consuming sugary or fast food to how he feels after consuming healthier options.
- You should know the proper diet your child needs to maintain optimal mental and physical health.
- Prepare healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables that children can easily grab on the go.
- Every meal and snack should include a fruit or vegetable.
- The best way to ensure everyone is fed at the right times is to plan.
- Create memorable evenings with recurring themes.
- Involve the children in the preparations.
Meaningful articles you might like: What Parents Should Know About The Current Formula Shortage, Eating Disorders in Children Affect Both Girls and Boys, Encourage Your Child to Eat Healthy Foods