What Kids Can Do
So if kids don’t need to diet, how can they stay a healthy weight?
All kids can benefit from eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of physical activity.
Kids have a lot of choices when it comes to activity and exercise. Some like to play on sports teams or dance in troupes.
Others may prefer to be more casual, riding their bikes or shooting hoops at the park.
Just helping your parents rake leaves or clean the house is a kind of physical activity, though not as much fun as something like swimming!
And it’s a good idea to cut down on pastimes that aren’t very active — such as watching TV or playing computer games.
Kids can also try to eat a variety of healthy foods. A balanced diet means that you don’t eat the same thing every day and that you eat a mix of foods from different food groups.
- fruits and vegetables
- milk and dairy products
- meat, nuts, and other protein-rich foods
- grains, especially whole-grain foods, such as whole-grain breads and cereals
This kind of diet helps your body by giving it the right nutrients. For instance, protein helps build your muscles and other body structures.
Calcium helps your growing bones.
And you need vitamins and other nutrients to keep your body working as it should. Fiber prevents constipation and carbohydrates give you energy, just to name a few.
Now that you understand more about diets, you can tell people you’re on a very special one — a balanced, healthy diet just right for a kid!
Here is a list of the top 7 healthiest foods to feed your kid and why it’s so healthy:
A fabulous breakfast food, full of B vitamins, iron, zinc and calcium. Old-fashioned oatmeal offers plenty of carbohydrate for quick energy and high fiber.
Add berries and honey to make it a delicious perfect food for those fast-paced school day mornings!
2. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are really great for kids. They’re high in fibre and release glucose slowly, which stabilizes mood and energy. And they have fibre, which helps with regularity. Kids don’t tend to get a lot of fibre in their diet.
Beans and lentils are good alternatives to meat as sources of protein, she adds. Protein is important for growth and development, and wound healing. It also helps you feel full.
Buy inexpensive dried beans and lentils in bags or in bulk, or even pre-cooked and canned (rinse to reduce the sodium).
Try them plain, puréed or mashed, or add them to soups, stews and pasta sauce. They also star in kid-friendly favourites like veggie burgers and burritos.
Kick your child’s dairy consumption up a notch and include yogurt on the menu.
A great source of calcium, yogurt is easier to digest than regular milk, and the cultures (check the label to make sure they’re in there!) are very beneficial to good colon health.
Watch it on the sugar content though. A great idea is to buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fresh fruit!
It is one of the best vegetables for anyone, especially growing kids. It has loads of calcium, potassium, beta-carotene and a wide variety of the B vitamins.
If your child is not a fan of plain vegetables include broccoli in a casserole or put a little shredded cheese on top to add flavor.
One size does not fit all when it comes to protein.
The fact is that growing kids need protein to keep growing. How you’re going to give it to them can vary widely, according to your preferences.
Good choices include legumes, beans (combined with a grain to make a complete protein), soy products like tofu, eggs or lean meat, fish or poultry.
6. Whole Grains
The best nutrition is found in whole grains. Brown rice and whole wheat bread are a quantum leap over their white counterparts and offer necessary fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Choose grain products with the words “whole”, “unbleached” and “intact” or “ground”.
7. Sweet Potato
8. Nut Butters
Peanut butter and other nut butters are great fast and easy foods for kids. Kids need fat (it’s a good fat if it doesn’t have hydrogenated oils mixed in it) and they need the protein.
Try spreading almond or sunflower seed butter on crackers, toast or celery sticks for a quick and nutritious snack.
10. Fresh Fruit
My personal choice would be cantaloupe in the melon department. Vitamin C, beta-carotene, bits and pieces of B vitamins and trace minerals and calcium fill every juicy bite.
Any in season fresh fruit is sure to be packed with healthy goodness!