With all of the debate surrounding childhood obesity and healthy eating habits for kids it’s easy to get lost in what your kids should actually be doing and what they shouldn’t. While food companies have taken notice of the rising trend in feeding kids healthy foods and have created lower calorie food options at restaurants and fast food joints, and are now packaging 100 calorie snack packs and other lighter fare, there is still a problem with these foods not having a high nutritional content, thus teaching our kids portion control without nutritional value. So what do you feed your kids? You can start with these five foods:
1. Oatmeal: Plain oats provide kids with a good dose of whole grain carbohydrates that will keep them energized and satiated for hours. The plain variety is easily sweetened with cinnamon and a small amount of brown sugar, and you can top them with fresh berries or fruits and low-fat milk to add some extra vitamins, nutrients and flavor. They’re also a versatile breakfast that can be served hot in the winter or cold in the summer.
2. Vegetables: Vegetables are nutrient dense foods that kids can eat in mass quantities without worrying about consuming too many calories. They are the perfect addition to any meal, and you can easily add in extra servings by adding them to spaghetti sauces, quiches, lasagnas, or eggs. Or they can be eaten raw for an afternoon snack in place of chips or other unhealthy options.
3. Low-fat milk: Kids need plenty of milk to help support their growing bones and keep them strong. Whole milk can be calorically heavy, so try to stick to low-fat or skim milk to get kids the calcium and protein benefits they need without too many extra calories. Try serving a glass of milk with dinner each night or swapping out soda with milk. But beware of the flavored milk options, as they can add in a lot of extra unnecessary sugar.
4. Lean proteins: Chicken, fish, and eggs are all great sources of lean protein which help support your child’s growth. Try to avoid serving too much fried food, and stick to grilling, boiling, broiling, and baking lean proteins instead. While the fried food may taste good, it does nothing nutritionally for your kids, and often times experimenting with different spices or marinades can result in an even more delicious option than their fried counterparts.
5. Greek yogurt: Yogurt is a great snack or breakfast option for kids, but is often loaded with extra sugar. Try replacing their daily yogurt with a low-fat Greek yogurt instead. It has an even creamier texture than regular yogurt and has an almost dessert-like consistency, not to mention it’s got a ton of extra protein.
Though poor eating habits are a standard occurrence for kids these days, your kids don’t have to fall victim to these types of bad habits. Teaching your kids to regularly consume foods like these early on sets the stage for healthy eating habits for life. When it’s possible, try to stick to food in its most complete form, as this will offer the most nutritional benefits for your child. Make cooking meals a fun experience, and cook at home whenever possible, making healthy swaps like serving baked chicken tenders instead of chicken nuggets and homemade pizza in place of carryout. When food is made at home you control the portion size and the ingredients, and you can teach kids how to cook healthily at a young age.
Kelsey is the editor in chief for findananny. She loves to write article and ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society on giving information about nannies through online nanny finder. She is a professional writer & loves writing on any thing.