Healthy Nutrition Ideas for Kids
By Andrea Anfuso-Sisto, RD
Most parents nowadays feel the stress of a busy schedule and trying to manage home, work, and kids’ activities. Unfortunately, the opportunities for a family to sit down and have a meal together have become rare for many. This becomes challenging for parents of “picky eaters” to find opportunities to broaden their children’s variety of foods and increase intake of healthy vegetables and fruits. Summer may provide an opportunity to set time aside and make nutrition a priority. Here are some suggestions:
Add a fruit to breakfast. If your child usually only has waffles with syrup, skip the syrup and add fruit instead. You can also try adding apple slices and put peanut or almond butter on the waffle instead (given there are no nut allergies).
Try different vegetables. Whether raw veggies with a reduced fat dip/dressing, cooked vegetables with pasta, or grill up some chicken kabobs with vegetables. You may be surprised that they may actually like them.
Taco Tuesday! Yes, this is an opportunity to get vegetables into your child’s diet. You can set out a variety of raw and cooked vegetables (lettuce, tomato, peppers, onions, mushrooms, sautéed spinach, etc.) and make tacos or quesadillas. They will also have fun building their own. Don’t forget the guacamole for some healthy fat.
Experiment with beans! Beans are a great carbohydrate because of their fiber and protein content. Bean salads are easy, quick to prepare, and refreshing on a hot summer night. A simple white bean and tomato salad can be made with some fresh basil, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh garlic in minutes and is a wonderful addition to grilled chicken with grilled vegetables.
Remember, children do what they see. If you want your children to eat healthy, you need to be the example! If we expect our children to perform well in school, sports, and other activities, we need to provide them with healthy foods that will give them good and sustainable energy. Take the time this summer to expand their palates and increase their variety of foods.