Every parent wants their child to be healthy and happy. The simplest way to bring health and happiness to your child’s life is to focus on eating the right foods. Three simple rules – variety, moderation and balance are the key to healthy eating habits in the kids. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, spices and whole grain to your child’s diet that is rich in antioxidants and boost their immunity to fight with stress and diseases.
Obesity and poor nutrition are the alarming factors among children nowadays which causes a broad range of conditions. Don’t just let your child eat processed, high calorie and high-fat food all the time. Instead, help your child to develop healthy eating habits right from the childhood. To give your child, the best start in life focus on their food. Food that not only helps them to grow but also keep them healthy and happy.
Here is the list of 15 foods that will keep your child healthy and happy:
1 – Milk
Milk always remains on the top when it comes to choosing the best food for the child. Rich in protein and calcium, milk provides fuel for the body and brain of a child. Milk protein helps in building body and brain tissues, and calcium helps in building strong teeth and bones. Add milk to your child’s diet in some ways, mix with it with their cereal to make a quick breakfast or mix with fruits to make a smoothie for them which they enjoy.
2 – Eggs
Eggs are the powerhouse of nutrition, and most of the children just love their portion of egg each day. Eggs contain protein, iron, and calcium. It is also one of the few foods that contain vitamin D that helps in the absorption of calcium. An incredibly versatile food ingredient – boils it, fries it, scrambled it or make omelet or quiche with it. Serve egg in any form to your child in the breakfast to keep him full for longer time.
3 – Whole grain
Studies have shown that kids who eat at least three serving of whole grains per day have fewer digestive problems, less likely to gain weight, and reduce their chances to have heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, and some cancer. Whole grains are rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, selenium and fiber. They provide them energy to sustain and aid the body to function properly. Add oatmeal, brown rice, millet, quinoa in their diet as much as possible to reap the health benefits of whole grain. Apart from this, you can easily include whole grain into their diet, by selecting whole grain bread, bun and cereal for them.
4 – Mixed Berries
Research published in many health journals claimed that berries are extremely healthful and boost immunity in the body to prevent cancer and heart diseases. These tiny berries like – blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, and strawberry packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are full of antioxidants and fiber. Add berries to your child diet by mixing them with their salad, cereal, and yogurt. Or bake them in cakes and muffins.
5 – Seafood
Research has shown that low intake of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) that found in Omega-3 fatty acids can lead to mood swings and depression in kids.
Seafood is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B & D and protein. Add seafood salmon, prawns and tuna in your child’s diet. They are an excellent source of protein and also boost brain development. Add salmon to your child’s diet in a way he like, glaze it with orange juice and bake or grill, you can also make fish cakes and slide into their burger.
6 – Green leafy vegetables
A recent study of Pediatrics firmly concluded that green leafy vegetables are the best food for the child. Green leafy vegetables remain the top pick for their stealthy nutrition, digestive aid, and power of removing toxins from the body. Spinach, kale and collard work like a super food for the kids, however, it can be difficult to incorporate greens into your child’s diet. Add greens to their soup, smoothies and pancakes. You can use creative recipes like kale chips, spinach quince, collard soup and spinach cakes, etc.
7 – Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are an excellent source of protein, iron, folate and fiber. They prevent high cholesterol and balance sugar level in the body. The addition of beans and legumes in the kid’s diet leave them fuller for longer and reduce hunger pangs in them. Incorporate beans and peas by pureeing them with herbs and spices to make hummus or add them to their nachos, salads, and pasta.
8 – Greek Yogurt
Rich in probiotic digestive enzymes, Greek yogurt contains more protein and calcium but less sugar in comparison to the regular yogurt. Introduce Greek yogurt in your child’s diet when he is six months old, you can start with one teaspoon and gradually increase the serving. Add honey, maple syrup or fruit puree to the yogurt to achieve different flavor as kids like variety in their food.
9 – Nuts and Seeds
Extensive research has been carried out to learn the health benefits of nuts and seeds on children. Nuts are rich in heart-friendly fats, vitamin E, and minerals, which needed for growth and development of the child. They are nutritionally dense contain protein, fiber, minerals and heart-friendly fats. Add the crunch of mixed nuts in your child cereal in the morning, or drop few in their lunch box will keep them moving and energetic all day long in the school.
10 – Spices
Research has shown that spices aid digestion and regulation of blood sugar level in the body. Many potent spices like cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants. They not only enhance the taste of the food but also help in digestion and regulation of the nutrients in the body. Don’t be afraid to add spices to your child’s food, grind them to powder and mix into their popcorns, pancakes, yogurt, and smoothies, add little bit in the beginning and then continue if they like the taste.
11 – Cocoa powder
Cocoa powder contains the highest concentration of flavonoids that is known to improve heart function and oral health. It also protects skin and improves its appearance. Don’t use processed cocoa powder that kills most of the flavonoids, read the label it should up to 70% pure cocoa powder. Add it to the kid’s milk to make hot chocolate milk or sprinkle it on their pancakes, wafer, and smoothies.
12 – Cheese
Introduce little fat, fresh cheese to your child in the formation years of development. Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and tofu are good for the children; they are rich in calcium, vitamin, and minerals. Adding cheese to their diet will improve their bone density and teeth formation. Add fresh cheese to their soups, stir fry, and salad. Mix the cheese with spices and herbs to make healthy and nutritious dip for them to serve along with their chips and wafers. But avoid processed cheese like parmesan or mozzarella because they contain too much salt, fat and have little nutritional value.
13 – Herbs
Don’t be surprised to see herbs in this list, they come in small packages but contain significant health benefits. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals herbs are great taste enhancer. Studies have shown that herbs like basil, thyme and oregano works like a muscle relaxant and helps in relieving headaches and body pain. Good for your child during the sickness days, if your child doesn’t like the sight of tiny green herbs in their food than puree them and adds to their sauces, soups, and dips.
14 – Oil
Gone are the days when all kind of fat especially saturated fat considered bad for the health. Now it is proved by research that healthy fats found in olive oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil linked to lower bad cholesterol, weight management, minerals absorption, and immune booster. It helps to improve concentration in the kids. Add the generous amount of pure olive oil and coconut oil to their salads and make pancakes by using this oil. Peanut butter is also a healthy substitute for regular butter in the breakfast.
15 – Water
Water is also essential for the proper health of your child. It makes up half of the kids body weight and required for the proper functioning of the body. Water helps in digestion, blood circulation and prevents constipation. Kids tend to forget to drink water, encourage your child to drink water throughout the day. If they don’t like plain water, add some flavors like lemon, honey and fruit slices to make it fun for them. Giving them vegetable juice or fruit juice will also compensate their water need.