In a world full of processed foods and sugary snacks, it can be hard creating a healthy diet for kids. During the adolescent years, however, a healthy diet is of the utmost importance. It ensures our children will develop properly, both mentally and physically, and that they will maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing the risks of numerous diseases. Additionally, a healthy diet for kids can help to build good habits that will keep them healthy well into their adult years.
Healthy Diet For Kids: What To Avoid
When creating a healthy diet for kids, it is important to avoid items like processed foods, items high in unhealthy fat, and items containing excessive amounts of added sugar. Children should also avoid caffeine – either entirely, or for the majority. While a soda once in a blue moon may not harm their health, the habit of drinking soda on a constant basis can wreak havoc. It is the same idea with sweet, fat-filled goodies like cakes, pies, brownies, and cookies. These should be reserved for special occasions, and not given on a regular basis. Moderation is the key here.
Healthy Diet For Kids: What To Include
A healthy diet for kids should be filled with lean meats, complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It should also include an appropriate amount of water daily for the child’s size. Experts recommend children drink half their weight in ounces every day. For example, if your child weighs 50 pounds, then they should drink 25 ounces of water daily.
To make sure your child is receiving the proper nutrients they need to thrive you should include a wide variety of items in their diet. One way to make sure they are getting what they need is to include plenty of brightly colored vegetables. You can also include a nutritional supplementation drink, such as PediaSure, in their diets. Always check with your doctor prior to giving these to your child, however, as they may not be right for everyone.
Related: Allergy Free Family Meals
Healthy Diet For Kids: Substitutions
If you are trying to create a healthy diet for kids, the first thing you can do is make small changes by offering substitutions for the unhealthy foods they would normally consume. Here is a small example of good substitutions to get you started on the right path:
- Instead of soda, offer flavored seltzer water or fruit-infused water drinks
- Instead of artificially sweetened candy, try naturally sweet fruits
- When you do serve cake, make it a little healthier. Try adding fresh fruits, and sweetening alternatives like 100% natural fruit juice or brown sugar. Ditch margerine and use 100% real butter or coconut oil.
- Instead of gummy snacks, offer fried fruit slices
- Instead of sugar packed commercial cereals, offer nutrient packed oatmeal with fruit
- Instead of white rice, choose brown rice
- Instead of fruit drinks, choose fresh fruits instead. Alternatively, you can even infuse water with fresh fruits.
- Instead of sodium dense commercial soups, opt to make homemade so you limit the sodium and preservatives. You can even freeze individual servings to be heated up later!