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Healthy Eating For Kids

eating healthy for kids So, what exactly is healthy eating for kids? Simply put it is finding better alternatives when it comes to the food your children eat. Between peer pressure and ads for junk food everywhere, it may seem like it will be impossible to get your kids to eat well.

It will no doubt be a bit of a challenge, but the sooner you start the process the sooner your kids will learn lifelong habits of healthy eating. Kids need to be involved in the process of changing to eating healthy food. They are more likely to accept new foods if they are involved in the purchase and preparation of them. Let them pick out some new fruits and vegetables from the produce section and then have them help you in the preparation. Explain to them the benefits of eating healthy food and how they help their bodies grow and be strong. Have your kids help with the cooking and they will learn lifelong good cooking and eating habits. When children learn how to prepare healthy food when they are young they tend to be healthier eaters as they grow up.

The first step to getting your kids to eat healthier food is to have lots of healthy food around for them to eat. Stop buying unhealthy processed snacks that are loaded with sugar and salt and replace them with healthy snacks. Children, especially younger ones, will generally eat what is available at home. healthy eating for kids

Make it easy for them to choose healthy food when they’re at home. Healthy choices include things like low-fat yogurt, celery with peanut butter, wholegrain crackers and cheese, fruits and vegetables. Apples and bananas are easy to eat and are almost always available. Celery, carrot sticks and slices of colorful peppers with a little low fat ranch dressing are easy to prepare and have ready to go in the fridge. Switch to whole grain bread and cereals. Children should have 4 to 6 servings of whole grains per day and bread and cereal are two good ways to get them. Limit sugary drinks to special treats. Children should ideally drink lots of water and low fat milk. You can also try a shot of 100% fruit juice in sparkling water to liven things up.

An important part of eating healthy is to have regular family meals. They are a comforting ritual for both parents and kids. Try to have dinner approximately the same time each day. If a child knows that they will be having a meal soon they will be less likely to snack right before it. Family meals are also a good time for parents to introduce kids to new foods and be good role models for healthy eating. Parents need to practice what they preach and set an example by eating healthy food as well.

eating healthy for kids Breakfast is another good time for a family meal. It is the most important meal of the day and children who eat a healthy breakfast tend to do better in school.

A healthy breakfast could be hot or cold whole grain cereal with banana or raisins, or scrambled eggs with cheese and vegetables and a slice of whole grain toast. Eating a variety of foods is important too because children will get bored with the same thing over and over and will be tempted to find some junk food, if only for a different taste sensation. Find some easy recipes that use good sources of protein like lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts, but offer a variety of flavors to keep meals from becoming predictable and boring. Use cooking methods like baking, grilling or steaming instead of frying to limit fat intake.

Don’t battle over food. It’s easy for food to become a source of family conflict. Kids should be able to decide when they are hungry and when they are full. Parents should control which foods are available to eat both at meal time and between meals. Don’t insist that your child clean their plate. Serve appropriate portions and respect their ability to decide when they are full.

You’re not going to be able to eliminate all sweets and junk foods from your house. That’s just an invitation for kids to over indulge when they are given the opportunity. The aim is to have your children be in the habit of reaching for healthy foods because they are readily available and it is the normal thing for them to do. Once you have established these good eating habits for your family you will likely find that you have answered the question of what is healthy eating for kids.





Healthy Foods To Eat

healthy foods to eat Over the past 30 years, obesity rates have been increasing steadily. During this same time, there has been a significant rise in the amount of calories we consume in the form of fast food, convenience store food, and the many other snacks we eat away from home. This type of food is more commonly called junk food.

People consume a lot of their daily calories at home. Unfortunately, home has also become a place for convenience snack foods and fast food. It’s where we grab a candy bar or a bag of chips and sit in front of the television. It’s where we sit down to eat after stopping at the drive-thru. It doesn’t have to be this way. The key to changing these types eating patterns is to have more healthy foods available to eat at home. And a good way eat more healthy food is to start with whole foods as the ingredients for your meals. You can reduce the amount of junk food your family eats by increasing their consumption of healthful, homemade meals and healthy snacks, made from healthy foods.

There is no doubt that preparing healthy food may be more challenging than serving the pre-packaged, over-processed foods that you may be used to having in your kitchen, but the health benefits and cost savings are well worth the effort. Here are some of the healthy, real foods that you should have in your fridge, freezer and cupboards for healthy breakfast meals, lunches, snacks and dinners.

  • Whole Foods – food in its most natural state, more a product of nature than a product of industry.
  • Lots of Fruits and Vegetables – local and in season when possible.
  • Dairy Products: Milk, Yogurt, Eggs & Cheese – low fat, unsweetened and pasture raised if available.
  • 100% Whole Wheat and Whole Grain Products – made with only a hand full of wholesome ingredients.
  • Seafood – wild caught is preferable over farm raised.
  • Meats – Pork, Beef and Chicken – lean cuts, locally raised if possible and eaten in moderation.
  • Natural Sweeteners – Honey and Pure Maple Syrup – also eaten in moderation.
  • Snacks – Dried Fruit, Seeds, Nuts and Popcorn – unsweetened and raw (when applicable).
  • Beverages – water (lots!), low fat or skim milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee and tea in moderation.

Here are the kinds of things you should avoid if you want to eat more healthy foods.

  • Refined grains such as white flour or white rice – items containing wheat should say “whole wheat”, not just “wheat”.
  • Refined sweeteners such as white sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or any artificial sweeteners.
  • Anything out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label.

 How to Avoid Processed Food in General

Read the ingredients label before buying anything. Looking at things like fat grams, calorie count and sugar content is always a good idea, but the best indicator of how highly processed a food is can actually be found in the list of ingredients. healthy foods to eat

 If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you may want to reconsider buying it.

Increase your consumption of whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. This will help replace the processed foods in your diet, and will actually make your food selections in general much simpler. You won’t have to bother so much with counting calories, fat grams, or carbs when you select whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.

Find a good local bakery and buy your bread there. If you were to check the ingredients of a loaf of a brand-name whole wheat bread you would likely see about 40 different items on the list, including white flour and sugar. Why have so many items if it only takes a handful of ingredients to make bread?

In addition to your bread choice, when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always go for the whole-grain option. And don’t just believe the health claims on the outside of the box.  Read the ingredients and make sure the product is truly made with only 100% whole grains – not a combination of whole grains and refined grains, which is unfortunately how a lot of “whole grain” products are made.

Avoid products containing high-fructose corn syrup and those that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients. Although research is mixed on weather high fructose corn syrup is really worse for you than white sugar, it often indicates that the product has been highly processed.

Try to avoid the kids menu at restaurants. They are often things like pre-made chicken nuggets, french fries, and pasta made with white flour, and are highly processed. Instead, try putting together some sort of side dish plate of healthier items like an appetizer and a salad.

Visit your local farmers’ market if there is one near-by. Not only will you find food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious and flavorful, but you will also find a selection of pesticide-free produce and more naturally fed meat products.

 Here's a Thought!

Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself. If you have to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you want french fries, you might not eat them as often. Eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods only as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically cut down on the frequency that you have them. Cooking real food is more fun anyway, and it is much better for your health and your waistline.

You probably won't be able to cut all the junk food out of your healthy diet, but making it more dificult to eat those junk foods along with having lots of healthy foods to eat in your kitchen will certainly make it much easier.