So what should kids be eating?
Sometimes adults are too busy to provide the proper nourishment for kids and themselves for that matter. An easy trip through the drive through lane is all it takes to get "full" again. Upon closer examination, much of the fast foods today are loaded with bad chemicals, cholesterol and saturated fats. Where does this leave kids whose growing bodies depend on a steady stream of nutrients to nurture growth?
Before getting to an answer, it is important to realize that childhood obesity, overweight children and kids living on diets high in cholesterol are all subjects we have heard all too often. The real answer lies in some of these overwhelming statistics to resonate enough with each individual so they can take a conscious step toward reaching for the healthy choices.
Have kids help prepare meals and see what is going in to their own food. Being aware of what makes up good food vs. bad food is part of the equation. Consuming only one food type is not the answer, but rather eating healthy consistently Make sure kids are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals daily through the consumption of various healthy food sources.
Examples of healthy food include a breakfast high in fiber such as whole grain breads, cereals, fruit, yogurt and fresh fruit. Eggs are a tremendous source of protein and have other healthy benefits. For lunch a whole grain bread sandwich with low-fat cheese or fat-free lunch meats is a good choice on the go. A sandwich is not a sandwich as you can prepare it with highly fatty and processed meats or select leaner meats like turkey or chicken.
A great snack to have on the go can be celery sticks, carrot sticks or fruit snacks. When having a salad, a variety of healthy veggies can be mixed in.
Broccoli is a power food and contains many beneficial nutrients. Other great snacks include:
Pineapple pieces or chunks
Trail Mix (some schools do not allow nuts, or this would not be a good choice if the child has a nut allergy, but nuts carry an important set of nutrients)
Cauliflower or Broccoli raw (dip into low-fat dip)
Celery or Carrot Sticks
Different countries publish different versions of the Food Pyramid. Basically however you divide it, children should be receiving a wide variety of healthy foods that contain a wide variety of nutrients. The categories include Dairy products like milk, eggs and yoghurt as well as grains, meats, fish, fruits and vegetables.
Reading food labels can also help increase awareness of what kids are putting into their bodies. Awareness is half of the battle. By educating kids early, they can help make the right choices as to what healthy foods they can eat for a balanced diet.
Once the food part of the equation is solved, it needs to be balanced out with daily exercise and activity. The combination of eating healthy food and exercising will pay life long dividends. Start with conscious healthy choices, then turn them in to healthy eating habits and see how a child's health begins to improve by paying more attention to what they put in their bodies.
The digestion system of a child is like a furnace burning the fuel that is shovelled in and creating energy which is used to maintain body functions but also used for concentration, physical skills, maintaining regular sleep cycles, muscle growth and the maintaining of a host of health related body functions.
The internet has several great kids websites that provide educational videos and recipe information for kids.
Eat well and live well!
http://www.fitforafeast.com/kids_cooking.htm Kids Cooking recipes, breakfast, lunch and dinner foods, fruits and vegetables, diabetes information, safety and kids cookbooks at Fitforafeast.com