Good nutrition is important for children’s healthy minds and bodies. Getting an early start on good nutrition is the main factor in helping children know to enjoy the taste of foods that are good for them. However, it is never too late to start your children on a new path. Here are the 10 best foods for kids.
#1 Best Food for Kids – Oatmeal
There is no better way for your child to start the day than with breakfast. Children who are in school do much better when they have begun their day with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast helps to improve their memory and studies have shown that kids perform better on tests and other schoolwork. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber. Additionally, cognitive performance is increased because there is a slower release of glucose into the body’s blood system. Oatmeal doesn’t have to just be served for breakfast. Oatmeal can be found in other foods and snacks, such as cookies and bars. No adding sugar to make it more palatable, we instead try honey, fresh berries, dried cranberries, granola or crushed walnuts.
#2 Best Foods for Kids – Tuna
Skip the breaded and fried fish sticks and switch to tuna. Tuna fish is a wonderful source of Omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy type of fats that our bodies need. These essential fatty acids very important to brain function, growth and development. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the risk of a number of serious conditions. It has also been shown that babies who do not receive enough when in the womb are at a greater risk of developing nerve or vision problems. There have been some concerns with tuna because of mercy contamination. As with anything, eating tuna in moderation is the key. Children can eat 1 or 2 servings per week of canned solid white albacore tuna or light tuna. A healthy lunch for your child would be a nice tuna sandwich using low-fat mayonnaise, a piece of romaine lettuce and serving it on whole-grain bread. You can also serve tuna on whole-grain crackers or over a bed of lettuce.
#3 Best Foods for Kids – Nuts
Those Omega-3 fatty acids we mentioned earlier are found in tuna fish, in nuts. Of course, caution should be used as younger children may not be able to consume certain types of nuts, because of a choking hazard or potential allergies. Sunflower seeds, which tend to be a favorite with kids, are a high source of fiber and iron. They also contain these important components:
- Vitamin E;
- Phosphorous; and
Remember, there are good fats and there are bad fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good fats, which is exactly what sunflower seeds are high in.
Other types of nuts that are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Brazil nuts;
- Macadamia nuts;
- Peanuts; and
Even if your child won’t eat a handful of nuts, they can always be included in some of your favorite recipes. Try them in cookies or cupcakes. As an alternative, you can also give your child flaxseed. Flax oil can be mixed into your child’s favorite juice or you can put flaxseed meal into their pancake batter.
#4 Best Foods for Kids – Yogurt
Foods that are high in calcium make for stronger bones and help keep children more active. In addition, breakfast that consists of foods high in calcium can also contribute to more positive learning and behavior. Yogurt gives some of the calcium that children need. In addition, you can improve the health of your child’s digestive system by choosing yogurt that contains live and active cultures. Keep in mind that many of the yummy flavored yogurts are high in sugar, so look for brands that have less. You can mix fresh fruit or add honey with some plain yogurt for a delicious, healthy treat.
#5 Best Foods for Kids – Eggs
Eggs are a great source of protein but also contain important vitamins and minerals. Eggs contain Vitamin D, some iron and are rich in choline. Eggs can help the body absorb calcium, along with building and repairing muscles. Keep in mind that although eggs contain some cholesterol they do not have a lot of saturated fat, which is a bad fat. So eggs every other day is perfectly fine. Scrambled eggs in the morning or an egg sandwich at lunch can be the perfect way to serve your child eggs.
#6 Best Foods for Kids – Vegetables
There are many of health benefits to eating vegetables, particularly when your kids consumer a variety of produce. Some of the best vegetables to eat are:
- Red peppers;
- Asparagus; and
If getting your child to eat vegetables is too difficult, try dipping them in a low-fat, sugar-free vegetable dip.
#7 Best Foods for Kids – Fruit
Like vegetables, fruit contains various vitamins and minerals that are good for the body. The healthiest type of fruit to consume includes:
- Oranges; and
Dried fruits are another option. They are high in iron, which can help boost energy and mental alertness.
#8 Best Foods for Kids – Baked Potato
Forget the fries and try a baked potato. This is a much healthier alternative to fat-drenched, greasy French fries. Baked potatoes contain fiber and potassium. You can also top your baked potato with some of your favorite vegetables, low-fat cheese and/or salsa.
#9 Best Foods for Kids – Cheese
Low-fat cheese is another great source of calcium. Melting cheese on top of vegetables combines the forces of 2 healthy foods into one (bonus points if you add the mix to a baked potato). Grilled cheese sandwiches made with whole grain bread is a great lunch. String cheese or chunks served with apple slices make for a great snack. Because of the fat and cholesterol content, cheese is best consumed in moderation.
#10 Best Foods for Kids – Peanut Butter
Assuming your child doesn’t have a peanut allergy; peanut butter can be a way to provide protein and fiber in your child’s diet. Peanut butter sandwiches are a popular choice for children but you can also use it as a dip for fruits, such as apples and bananas or vegetables, like celery.