Top Healthy Foods for Kids
by MedPlus Team, November 26, 2021
Nutritious, healthy foods are very important for optimum growth and development in children. However, in today’s day, with the abundance of easily available fast food, and packaged snacks, choosing the right food is not an option anymore, but rather a necessity. Choosing healthy food for kids to eat can be difficult to look at. The key is to decide based on the nutrients each food delivers. This article will run you through a list of top healthy foods for kids. Read on:
Kids Top Healthy Foods:
Eggs contain a high number of essential proteins and vitamins, especially choline – which prevents neural degeneration and improves brain functionality. So it is very important to include eggs in the healthy food list for kids. Snacks containing eggs are easy to prepare, with various options to choose from. Eggs can be served hard-boiled, fried or scrambled. They can also be used to make omelettes. To make the snacks more appealing, they can be added to soups, porridges, gravies, rice and noodles, and even to desserts like custards. The great combination of protein and carbohydrates in such a snack is enough to provide a good and long-lasting amount of energy for kids, until their next main meal.
Kids also greatly benefit from consuming cow milk. Milk is high in calcium and phosphorus, which help in improving muscle health. It is generally better to serve full-fat milk, rather than low fat or skimmed milk, unless the kid is below two years of age. Milk is also one of the healthy foods for kids to gain weight. So if the child is too lean, milk can act as a great supplement to help gain weight. And of course, unless the child is overweight, he/she can be fed with milk every day. Milk can be fed in various ways – independently, or with cereal and cookies or even with various nutrition powders. Further, they can also be blended with fruits to make smoothies.
Yogurt is another food that is great for kids. They are a great source of proteins and calcium, the latter being an important nutrient for strong bones, teeth as well as maintaining good immunity. Yogurts contain probiotics – some beneficial live bacteria, which also helps in maintaining a strong and healthy digestive system. These days, yogurt is available in different compositions, but it is better to only serve the plain, full-fat versions, and if required, with some fresh fruit or some honey.
Note: It is recommended not to give honey to children below 1 year of age as that can lead to botulism.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are loaded with proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. They are essential in keeping the nervous system in check and also help to boost mood. The best way to serve nuts to kids can be through nut butter, especially peanut butter, which is also rich in mono-saturated fats, which is a great source of energy and protein for children. Nut butter can be eaten by spreading it on biscuits or slices of bread, or straight from the jar. A little bit of it can be put on ice creams or waffles. Sunflower seed butter is also a great food that is rich in folate, vitamin E, and selenium. Nuts can be eaten raw as well.
Don’t forget to thoroughly soak and serve children with these seeds. Also do read about the best age to introduce your child to seeds as such.
Fruits and Vegetables
Enough said fruits are super rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. One fruit that is delicious, easily available and loaded with essential nutrients is the apple. It is one of those fruits which contain a majority of essential nutrients, while low on calories. It is also a good source of fibre. In order to not lose half of its fibre content, it is recommended to serve apple whole, without peeling the skin.
Berries are quite useful for kids because strawberries and blueberries contain nutrients such as Vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals which are essential for preventing cell damage and boosting the immune system. They can be served by themselves or can be used as toppings for ice creams, yogurt, pancakes and cereals. Blueberries can be used to make blueberry pancakes.
Further, vegetables are an equally important part of a kid’s diet. Introduce a variety of vegetables to kids at an early age and make them pick from a lot of options like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, carrots, corn, peas, potatoes etc. Vegetables can be cooked in various ways in order to suit the fussy choice of kids. One such example is cooked carrots – they are a great choice due to their high amount of fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium.
Healthy food ideas for kids are never complete without some greens such as spinach and kale. These green vegetables are a good source of folate and vitamins. An adequate amount in the body is linked with a lower probability of getting dementia later in life. Kale is packed with antioxidants which are essential for new brain cell growth. Greens are a hard sell for kids, as they may not like to eat them easily, they can be made kid-friendly by putting them into smoothies for snacks and putting them into omelettes or lasagne. Kale can be served as chips, by cutting them from stems/ribs, and drizzling them with olive oil and a bit of salt and baking them.
Breakfast cereals can be an easily available and also kid-friendly food which can provide a lot of essential nutrients, and can be served with other healthy foods such as milk. Good choices of cereals are those which are fortified with calcium and has added fibre. To make the snack more wholesome, the cereals can be served with a chopped banana, or strawberries.
Oatmeal can also be one of the best healthy foods for kids. They are usually loaded with proteins and fibres and help keep the heart and brain arteries clear. It has been observed in some studies that kids who ate sweetened oatmeal did better on memory-related tasks than those who ate a sugary cereal. They can be served in combination with cinnamon, which helps protect brain cells.
It is also important to include a good number of fish in the diet for kids. Fish contain a high amount of vitamin D and Omega -3 fatty acids, which help protect the brain from declining mental skills and memory loss. According to some studies, a higher amount of omega 3s in the body allows it to function better and helps kids focus better. Fish can be served in a variety of ways to kids. They can be grilled and offered with a dipping sauce. They can also be added to tacos. Fish like tuna can be added to sandwiches to make tuna sandwiches.
As such, there are many more foods that can be a part of your kid’s diet, depending upon what kind of nutrients they require. However, kids are quite fussy and picky when it comes to eating and thus make it quite difficult to feed them healthy food easily. Kids only eat what they like so the important step is to make healthy food appealing to them.