Kids love sweet stuff and junk food, as does everyone else. While kids can tolerate these terrible foods much better than us adults, it’s important to instill healthy nutritional habits for your kids so that they will establish healthy eating patterns into their teen and adult years. Furthermore, childhood obesity has become an alarming problem in this country. So let’s look at the best foods for your kids and the foods you should have your kids avoid the most.
The Best Foods for Kids
Make sure your kids eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and dairy products. For growing bones, an adequate amount of calcium is necessary – 800 to 1300 mg per day. When it comes to protein and fats, natural foods are much better than overly processed foods. What are natural foods? They are simply foods that have one ingredient. If you go to the store and see a bunch of ingredients on the package that you have no clue what they are, that is a processed food. For example, all natural chicken breasts are a much better choice than hot dogs. Baked salmon is much better than frozen fish sticks.
Here are the best foods and ingredients for kids:
• Calcium – dairy (milk, yogurt, cheeses)
• Essential vitamins and minerals
• Whole grains (100% whole bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain cereals)
• Fruits and vegetables
• Protein (chicken, meat, fish, eggs, beans)
• Healthy fats (olive oil, salmon, tuna, avocados (may have to make guacamole), nuts)
The Worst Foods for Kids
While kids can process unhealthy foods much better than adults, mainly because they are growing and have a higher metabolism, we still want to limit these bad foods as much as possible. The first is sweets. Limit your child to two sweets per day – one drink and one snack. Lunchtime is the perfect time for a sweet drink, as they can process it and burn off the extra sugar with an afternoon playtime session or sports practice.
Additionally, don’t just give them any sweet drink, especially soda. Besides the excess sugar, soda is loaded with carbonation and tons of other useless polluted chemical junk like phosphoric acid. Ideal drink treats are either fresh fruit juice or chocolate milk since these do have health benefits and don’t have useless or harmful ingredients in them. The juice has vitamins and antioxidants and there is calcium and protein in the chocolate milk. At the most, stay away from any drink that has high-fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list.
For desserts, well sometimes you’ll have to let thing slide here. It’s hard to control what kids eat at birthday parties or say no when they ask for ice cream while you’re all on vacation. If the overall nutrition of your kids is good, one unhealthy snack won’t hurt them. Just don’t give them a big portion, and don’t let them have seconds for desserts. For healthy desserts, perhaps you could buy natural items at the store like all-natural cookies that are made from natural, organic ingredients without the excess additives and preservatives. Ideal desserts also include fresh fruits and use natural sweeteners like raw honey instead of refined sugar.
One of the worst things you can do is give your kids one of those sweet cereals for breakfast. They’ll have a high energy, and then once they get to school they have an energy drain once all that sugar gets processed. Instead give them a whole grain cereal, or fix them some eggs or whole grain pancakes. There are less sugars and more fiber in whole grains, so the sugar will be absorbed into the blood stream and processed much more slowly so that there are not energy spikes and dips.
In a nutshell, the worst foods and ingredients for kids include:
• Refined sugars
• High fructose corn syrup
• Fried foods
• Overly starchy foods like white bread, white rice, white potatoes and white pasta
• Sugary cereals
We hope you enjoyed this article and hope that it will help your kids enjoy a healthier lifestyle with sound nutrition.