All parents want to provide a healthy diet for kids but it can be intimidating – the shopping, preparation, cooking, and then cajoling your kids into eating something healthy can be discouraging. The first step to a healthy diet for kids is developing good eating habits and it’s actually quite easy and cost effective.
Developing good eating habits means sensible snacking. Stock your fridge with vegetable sticks and enticing dips like ranch or hummus. Your children will love the textures and flavors, although they may grouse for awhile. Keep raisins, dried fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese, fresh fruits, and hard boiled eggs on hand.
Protein is essential to good health and you don’t have to eat meat to get enough protein for good health. Legumes, nuts, eggs, and many other foods are great sources of protein. If you’re a meat lover, though, you should be careful about the kinds of meats you are feeding your children.
• That nice red beef you see is red because of toxic additives that keep it from spoiling and make it look appealing. Try to buy your beef, which is high in iron and vitamins that children need, from a local farm or a supplier that gets it directly from the farm and doesn’t add coloring or preservatives.
• Chicken is a great source of protein and hormones or antibiotics are strictly prohibited by government regulation. However, try to get free range chicken.
• Eggs are no longer “bad” for you–in fact, even people prone to heart problems can safely eat two eggs per day. Eggs have 9 amino acids and lots of protein. You can serve them any time of day in dozens of ways and they have a long shelf life in your fridge. Try to get free range eggs if possible.
Free range animals live in more natural environments and are treated humanely. Stress hormones can dramatically affect the flavor of animal products so it makes sense that free range products taste better and provide better nutrition.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do to provide a healthy diet for kids is to take time to eat. That may sound ridiculous but how many times have you rushed through meals because you were busy? Teach your children to enjoy meal time and learn to eat leisurely. Make mealtime something to look forward to, not rush through.