How To Plan A Healthy Diet For Children
Want to know how to plan a healthy diet for children? Proper nutrition is essential for growing kids. By planning out what your children eat you can easily make sure they are getting all the nutrients that they need to thrive. Follow these tips to plan a healthy diet for children.
- Plan for three meals plus snacks. You may be fine drinking a cup of coffee for breakfast, grabbing a bagel and winging it until dinner, but kids need nutritious food throughout the day. To plan out a balanced diet for children make sure you are getting ready for three meals as well as one or two snack times.
- Start with veggies. Vegetables are the ultimate powerhouses of nutrition. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and are often bereft of sugars and fats. They are also (at least with most kids) the least favorite food group. To plan a healthy diet start here. Children should have at least three servings of vegetables each day. Decide where they are going to fit into the meals and snacks for the day. Even if kids don't eat everything, by continuing to serve vegetables in creative ways they will eventually phase them into their diet.
- Plan out healthy snacks. Here is where you can incorporate some of those veggies, but also fresh fruit and nuts. Have snack ideas ready instead of being caught off guard and grabbing cookies or candy to satisfy hungry kids. Think sliced carrots, cucumbers and ranch dressing, sliced apples and cheese, a homemade trail mix of walnuts, almonds, raisins, granola, and chocolate chips.
- What's for breakfast? This is the time for healthy grains, fruit, and protein. Have different breakfasts planned for children and set time aside so they can eat their food. Great meal ideas include oatmeal with milk, brown sugar, and sliced fruit, scrambled eggs with cheese and avocado, yogurt with fruit and nuts.
- Plan lunch based on what was for breakfast. When creating healthy lunches for children think about what was served at breakfast. If it was a grain and fruit based breakfast, make sure lunch has protein and sources of calcium. If breakfast was heavy, then lunch can be time to bring in the veggies and grains with a vegetable and noodle soup.
- The complete dinner. When planning healthy dinners follow this plan — three to four ounces of protein, one serving of grains, one of vegetables, and one of dairy. Examples include roasted chicken breast with steamed quinoa, broccoli, and melted cheddar cheese, baked salmon with rice, sauteed squash and red peppers and frozen yogurt for dessert, and fried tofu with pasta and tomato sauce and a glass of milk.
- Rotate. The key to a balanced diet and a healthy diet for children is variety. Serve different types of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources. This will first of all introduce a full range of nutrients, but it will also help your child form good eating habits as an adult.