What are healthy diets for kids and how to get them to eat it
There are two things to consider with healthy diets for kids, firstly how does healthy eating for children differ from adults and secondly how do you instill healthy eating habits in kids who moan half the time that they "won't eat it, cos I don't like it"?
How is healthy eating for children different from adults?
Kids are still growing, not just in height and weight, but all their organs are still growing and developing.
So it's important that they get what they need to keep this process going.
Then there's the overweight factor, which is also dangerous. Not only are we not giving them all the nutrition, but we're also putting extra stress on all those underdeveloped, not yet fully grown organs.
Not to mention that we're saddling them with all the insecurities and stress that often accompany being overweight…that's a lot to carry when you're a child - my goodness it's a lot to carry for anyone - it wasn't pleasant for me, as a child or as an adult.
Healthy diets for kids can have them losing weight, and still give them everything they need. And it sets them up with healthy eating habits for the future.
The major differences in kids is that they get enough calcium, and they need more than we do. So fish with edible bones, such as tinned salmon and sardines, and extra dairy serves, milk, yoghurt and cheese.
Low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese does not have less calcium than full fat, so to give them the calcium they need, while still helping them control their weight…stick to low fat varieties.
The other thing is that kids need is to snack. They can't go 5 hours between meals, it's just that those snacks should be healthy too. A packet of chips every day for a snack isn't doing them any favours.
If your child is overweight, check with your doctor if there are any other issues to consider.
Check with your doctor if you're an adult wanting to lose weight too, but with kids, while they're hardy, they are still growing, so check with your doctor how much of what particular foods they should be getting for their particular age.
Now we come to the sticky bit. Yes, I understand that it's fine to know what they should be eating, but how do you actually get them to do it?
Healthy diets for kids…how do you get them to eat it?
Okay, I have 3 kids, with different tastes and different tolerances for various flavours. But one thing is not negotiable in this house:
You have to taste it!
There not always going to like what you cook, they have particular taste buds too, but tasting it won't kill them!
The second part of this is that if they don't like they can have something else…but I refuse to cook a second meal.
For example, my son doesn't like my spaghetti carbonara. That's fine, but I don't cook him a special meal, instead I leave some sauteed bacon and mushrooms out of the sauce and he has noodles with those.
My daughter doesn't like bolognese sauce on spaghetti (but she'll eat my lasagne…go figure!) So she has the noodles with a little grated cheese over the top, and then fruit or a carrot or a chunk of cucumber if she's still hungry.
The other interesting thing is, that periodically I get the kids to try something that they haven't tried for a while. Our taste buds changed, and sometimes things we once didn't like we now do.
I never used to like capers, now I love them in a salad. My son wouldn't eat pumpkin for years, I put some on his plate a couple of months ago and asked him just to taste it, and guess what, he's into pumpkin again!
Healthy diets for kids are about variety, just as they are for adults. There about less processed, nutritionally loaded foods that help them grow big and strong, mentally and physically.
That doesn't mean they can't have chips and chocolate and french fries, it just means that as with us, you make them occasional foods not everyday food groups in their own right!
I know some parents say that their kids give them such a hard time over eating healthy…but seriously, if the doctor said to you that you needed to give your child this horrible, disgusting, hideous flavoured medicine 4 times a day every day, to overcome some illness, you'd do t, wouldn't you.
Healthy eating for children is exactly that. It's the medicine that will cure obesity, and the medicine that helps them have the best possible start in this world…it's worth it isn't it.
Oh and one more thing, if you practice what you want them to learn, and if they see that you're serious about healthy eating habits, they stop moaning so much, and you'll send them out with a good grounding to a healthy life, an even have them eating healthy diets for kids.
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