Your kids food choices are probably not thought out with "where can I get the most nutritional value" but are more similar to a fast food guide. While most of us don't subscribe to the old "clean your plate" rule these days we are still left struggling with ways to ensure that our kids are getting the foods they need.
So what are some of the best kids foods?
Milk - a great source of vitamin D, calcium and protein. This is usually a staple of every kids diet unless they have allergies to milk. Kids should be getting at least 2 to 4 glasses of milk every day. This is especially true if they aren't eating other foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Fruit - Unpeeled apples are a juicy sweet treat that provides vitaimin C and fiber. While it may be easier to give our kids apple juice or apple sauce the trade off is less vitaimins and fiber with more sugars and calories.
Yogurt - Yogurt treats are all over the market today but most of those are no better than a candy bar with all the added sugar. The best ones for kids today are those with "live cultures added" (Probiotics), low fat with minimal sugar added.
PB&J - An old classic that many people are avoiding today because of peanut allergies and the fear of high fat levels. While peanut allergies are a serious consideration with approximately 4% of children having some type of food allergy the types of fat in Peanut Butter are primarily Mono- and Poly - unsaturated fats. These are the types of fat the body needs for proper metabolic activity.
Fish - Just to be clear, fish sticks and fried fish sandwiches are not the best source for good fish. Tuna Fish may be the route you can go with your kids. Fish is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fats - and these are Fats the body needs for proper development.
My kids actually enjoy a good salmon steak and some types of sushi. Not as easy on the pocket book as tuna but they will at least eat some fish.
Cereal - My kids love those sugary creations with the fun cartoon images and toy surprises in the box. However, healthy nutrition is mostly missing from the box. I do enjoy how the adds for these cereals have a gratuitous pitch that they have 8 or 9 essential vitamins and minerals in them. The best choices are those with whole grains, calcium fortified and has added fiber.
Vegetables - Not the one at the top of most kids food list. My youngest will eat sweet potatoes, broccoli, corn, and tomatoes while my oldest may eat some corn and french fries (she likes to think they're a vegetable).
Don't try to force your kids to eat brussel sprouts when you can at least provide alternatives that most kids like. Cooked carrots, corn, baked potatoes and peas usually make the grade with kids.
The more vegetables you can introduce your kids to at an early age will help in getting them eating them later on. Set good examples for your kids with your own food choices and always offer them a choice on vegetables. They may not eat them now but you never know when they may take you up on your offer.
Eggs - Eggs are a great protein source. They have came under a bad rap for being high in cholesterol but more nutrition experts are agreeing that eggs are great healthy part of yours and your kids diet.
Pizza - Yes, Pizza! This kids food choice contains three food groups (grains, dairy and vegetables). Move your kids past the cheese pizza phase and order it with a whole grain crust. A good nutritional choice without the argument.
Sunflower Seeds - Not just for the ballpark anymore. Just make sure you have a container your kids can put the shells in so your floor doesn't get littered up. These are a great source for fiber and iron. They also have Vit. E, magnesium, zinc and folate in them.
So what about the things that our kids eat more regularly like fast food? Or those "Energy" drinks that they consume in abundance.
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