Finding healthy food for kids to eat is important to childhood development and the creating of good eating habits. For the most part, health and diet experts suggest that healthy food for kids is likely to include lots of fresh, natural foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Choosing healthy food for kids often takes some forethought, since many pre-packaged foods meant for children are decidedly unhealthy.
One good way to choose healthy foods for kids is to do some research on childhood nutritional requirements. Children tend to require lots of calcium, iron, protein, and vitamins to ensure healthy growth and maturation. Diets that have too much of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat may contribute to severe health problems, such as eating disorders, obesity, and diabetes. Understanding what foods are and are not necessary to a balanced diet can help give a clear idea of healthy foods for kids.
Some health experts recommend finding healthy foods with a simple shopping tip: shop around the edges of the grocery store. In many supermarkets, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, proteins, and bread are kept around the outside edges of the store. The aisles may be more likely to contain packaged foods, sugary desserts, and frozen, less nutritious foods. Though its not necessary to ban the occasional ice cream bar or packaged lunch, shopping around the edges of the store can help ensure that a cart fills up with healthy foods for kids.
Processing typically deprives foods of nutritional value, and also gives manufacturers the opportunity to add lots of extra, unhealthy ingredients. Generally, the closer an item is to its natural state, the more healthy it will be, especially in terms of vitamins and minerals. Consider shopping at a farmer's market for fresh-from-the-fields fruits and veggies at least once a month. Giving kids extremely fresh produce can add a boost of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to their diets, as well as helping them develop a love of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Choosing healthy foods for kids also can involve knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy dietary choices. For instance, some health experts recommend only consuming bread products that are made from whole grains instead of processed, white flour products. Be wary of foods that claim to be healthy, such as sugar-free products, that actually contain a large dose of artificial ingredients. Checking nutritional labels and ingredients lists can help give a good idea of which foods live up to their labels.
Kids love to snack, so keeping grab-and-go healthy foods for kids can be an important part of a nutritious diets. Consider pre-cutting apples, celery, and carrots and keeping them in airtight containers for easy snacking. Make healthy versions of popular snacks, such as quesadillas made with whole-wheat tortillas, black beans, and low-fat cheese. Even French fries can be healthy foods for kids, if they are sliced fresh from potatoes and baked with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.