Increasingly, more people are aware of the nutritious needs of the human body, and what is contained in some of the processed foods available. Parents are now concerned with providing their children with a balanced diet and the motivation to continue these healthy eating habits as they age.
There’s no school for parents to learn the many things which may benefit them and their children, but there are a few tips which may help ensure children get the necessary nutrients:
It is usually the case that the fewer ingredients in a product, the more natural it is. When shopping, get into the habit of checking the ingredients and comparing products. There can often be little difference in price but a huge difference in nutritional value. Unsweetened and unsalted foods, preferably with no additives are the best choices.
Everyone knows that sugar is needed for energy, but too much of it is bad for teeth and diets. Sugar creates bursts of energy (highs) and a lack of it can create a real low. It comes under various names and it is important to know the alternative names so as not to be fooled. Glucose, sucrose and dextrose are the most common. They are not harmful but too much is not good for the body.
If it has an organic label it has been grown naturally using the USDA standards. Meat may be labelled as “grass fed” or “without the use of hormones” for inciting faith in a product. Organic foods are higher in natural substances and are easier for the body to digest. They do not have additives. Some products may state “all natural”. This is not the same as organic. Many foods will be able to state this but will not necessarily be any better for you than the ones loaded with preservatives. As mentioned, ensure quality and nutrient value by checking the ingredients. The nutritional information on the label can also be useful for enlightening you as to how good the food actually is.
Image Credit: Flickr
Natural food is best and this is particularly true when it comes to cooking. Anything that does not require cooking and can be eaten raw; such as most fruit and vegetables will be better for you and for your kids. This is because a lot of the nutritious value is destroyed during the cooking process.
Seafood particularly is sourced from many different places. It is important to make sure any fish you purchase has been caught wild and certified. If it does not say this, there is a risk of it being from contaminated water. Most stores will show this clearly on the label.
When cooking, look for simple recipes. Anything that is easy to make and tasty will encourage you to make it again. If it is an all day marathon just to get the evening meal ready you will quickly lose interest in nutritious food. If you cannot retain interest in cooking, how can you expect your children to eat? Warm weather lends itself to salads. Winter time is an excellent time to use the slow cooker and allow you food to marinate.
Oil used for frying usually contains hydrogenated fats. Frying food all the time will increase the fat being stored in your body and may contribute to a variety of diseases as your kids age. It is far healthier to bake your food and enjoy the occasional fried dish.
No matter how good your intentions, snacking will happen. Both you and your children will benefit from healthy snacks. Try to avoid crisps and cakes. Instead, have available fruit or small amounts of rich dark chocolate. Nuts and seeds in moderation can also be good for a nutritious balanced diet.
Image Credit: Flickr
Achieving a Balanced Diet for your Kid
The key is to have everything in moderation. You should attempt to introduce all these different foods into your child’s diet (and yours). If they have a balanced diet at a young age, it is very likely that they will continue this trend as an adult.
Keep an eye on what your kids are eating daily, but don’t force them to avoid certain types of food or snack. Have patience and talk with them about the negative aspects of fast-food and sweets on the body. This will help your little ones understand why it is so important to eat healthy.
Contributed by Denny Averill who writes healthcare articles for Nuique.com!