Kids grow up in a world filled with commercials and big fast-food signs towering high above other stores. The bright colors and fun characters associated with foods lure kids in all the time. Who can resist those golden arches that beg your children to ask if you can eat there tonight when there are healthier foods at home?
Feeding kids is something that every parent must do. Parents want to feed their children the best foods that will promote their development and health, but often, those things aren’t what your kids want to eat. Still, they need nutritious foods to build strong bones, working immune systems and a powerful brain. Fruits, vegetables and protein offer all of the vitamins and minerals children need and then some.
A healthy diet can help your child’s organs, dental health and emotional health, too. These are seven foods you should definitely be feeding your kids for their overall well-being. Plus, they’re super versatile, and you can make them delicious for even the pickiest of eaters!
Yogurt is one of the best dairy products you can give your kids as long as you watch for high sugar contents. It can be a filling breakfast, a side for lunch or dinner, a quick snack before soccer practice or even for dessert, along with some berries.
Yogurt contains plenty of probiotics, which are all of the good kinds of bacteria that promote intestinal and stomach health. Plus, it gives your kids an extra bit of protein and vitamin D and calcium, which boosts bone and tooth health.
Again, be careful with what kinds of yogurts you choose — choose plain Greek yogurt and use it as a base. For a little bit of sweetness, you can add fruits, natural peanut butter, honey, granola, nuts or any other topping that will be beneficial for your child’s health.
2. Apples and Berries
Although most fruits have a lot of natural sugars, some are good for your kid’s health. Apples are one of those fruits! They’re super high in fiber. Plus, while your kids are eating them, they’ll produce more saliva to wash away any bacteria.
Berries are also nutritious and beneficial for your kids if they eat them in moderation. Like apples, berries are high in fiber and vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants, to promote gut health. They’re lower in sugar than most other fruits as well.
3. Leafy Greens and Veggies
Leafy greens are one of the best foods for anyone, but really, any vegetables that you can get your kids to eat will be great for their health. Though many kids may turn their noses up at the sight of spinach or broccoli, you can find ways to incorporate them into your kids’ diets.
The more colors on your kid’s plate, the better. Make it fun for them to eat veggies. You can add a handful of spinach to a yogurt smoothie or even add broccoli to macaroni and cheese. Make the vegetables accessible by cutting them up into small pieces so kids can grab them and go.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are already a super convenient snack. Instead of giving your kids a bag of chips or other crunchy, salty snacks, swap it out for some mixed nuts and seeds. They have fiber, healthy fats and protein all in one.
For those who have nut allergies, you can never go wrong with seeds. Sunflower seeds and chia seeds make for a filling snack or addition to a meal. For a sweet and salty combination for your kids, make a healthy trail mix by adding some dried fruits!
5. Lean Proteins
Your kids need lean proteins to grow! Leaner proteins, like chicken or other poultry, eggs and fish, are full of nutrients. When choosing your protein for breakfast, lunch or dinner, opt for one of those types of meats and limit how often you have red meats.
Additionally, besides them being full of protein, they are also packed with phosphorus. Phosphorus helps in keeping your teeth strong by fighting the demineralization of the enamel that protects your teeth.
6. Whole Grains
Another great food that you should definitely be feeding your kids is whole grains. Like many other foods on this list, whole grains include fiber, which is often a nutrient that most kids’ diets lack.
Foods like whole-wheat pasta and bread, oatmeal and brown rice are excellent sources of whole grains. Swap out white flour in your favorite recipes for whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat pancakes and pizza dough won’t taste much different from the original, either, so your kids can still eat their favorite foods and get all of their needed nutrients.
Beans, beans, the magical fruit! Your kids should be eating beans, regardless of what happens after they eat them. Beans are affordable, loaded with protein and fiber and are overall a superfood. Plus, you can prepare them in countless ways, from adding them to your tacos or using them as a substitute for meat.
Since they have tons of fiber, they help your kid’s digestive tract. Also, they help keep kids fuller longer so they won’t be asking for sugary snacks after their meal of beans.
Eating Smart From a Young Age
It might take some time and convincing to get your kids to eat these nutritious foods, but be persistent! The health benefits they’ll gain from eating things like lean proteins, vegetables and low-sugar fruits will help them in the long run. Make eating smart fun as you feed your kids these foods.