- Why is healthy eating important for kids?
- What should a child eat to be healthy?
- Ways to encourage healthy eating?
Most parents know very well just how important it is for kids to eat healthy food that gives them all the important nutrients their growing bodies need. But actually getting your kids to eat healthy can be a bit of a struggle!
Battling with your little ones every time you sit down for a meal together to get them to eat that dreaded piece of broccoli is something no parent wants, but it’s the reality we often find ourselves in. Luckily, GoStudent is here to save the day – we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to get your kids eating healthy and provide you with strategies to encourage healthy eating without all the stress.
Why is healthy eating important for kids?
If a child doesn’t get all the nutrients they need, this is harmful to their bodies and their general wellbeing. Let’s start with the basics. Healthy eating habits for kids. Essentially, eating healthy is the most important way to ensure your child’s health and wellbeing. It’s no secret that as human beings, there’s a wide range of vitamins and nutrients we need to give our body through the food and drinks we ingest.
For kids and teenagers who are growing and usually very active, having a healthy diet that includes all key vitamins, minerals and fibre is essential. Without enough healthy food to eat, it’ll be much harder for them to focus in school.
In order for a child to be well-developed and healthy, they need to eat a good and balanced diet which can include healthy and unhealthy foods for kids – it’s up to the child’s parents to ensure they get everything they need.
What should a child eat to be healthy?
Healthy foods for children include all vegetables and fruits which provide vitamins, minerals and fibre, wholegrain foods like bread, pasta and brown rice which give us energy and fibre, and beans, pulses, eggs, fish, meat or other sources of protein. 🥦 🍓 The average child needs to eat a varied diet that provides nutrients and energy for their day.
Some foods are what we call brain foods. Brain foods help our brain stay healthy and can also improve our concentration, memory and focus. There are also certain types of food that promote energy, which is especially important for busy kids who need to keep their energy up the whole day. Making sure your child’s diet contains brain foods and energy-boosting food is key. 🧠 ⚡
Unhealthy foods for kids include sugary foods, snacks and drinks (watch out for very sugary baked goods and high-calorie juices), junk food and highly processed food items. Unfortunately, there are many food products aimed at children that are actually quite bad for them – so it’s important to read the label to see what’s actually in the food you’re buying for your child. ❌
Ways to encourage healthy eating?
There are several steps you can take to teach healthy eating habits to your child, and your best option is to tailor your approach to the individual kids you’re trying to help. There are several different strategies to encourage healthy eating for kids, and you should find what works for you and your child.
In general, involving kids in the food preparation process is a fantastic way to teach them about different types of food and what they bring to our bodies. Cooking with kids can be a lot of fun and a bonding experience in addition to being a great opportunity for teaching your child about healthy eating and why it’s important. While your child helps you to peel potatoes, you can talk to them about the different ways we can prepare potatoes and other vegies, and how they give our bodies vitamin C and potassium among other things. 🥔
A good tip is to try different types of fruits and veggies with your child (normal foods and more exotic ones) to see what they prefer. If they love red peppers, use red peppers more in your cooking and try out new things. If they can’t stand spinach, maybe leave that aside for now rather than force the issue. Forcing your child to eat foods they really don’t like will likely lead to friction between the two of you, and your child may start to associate trying new foods with negative feelings or stress. 😟
It can feel impossible, but there are actually a lot of healthy foods out there that kids will love. It’s all about finding what works for your children – and it’s also about being a good example. Try to make healthy eating an enjoyable, pleasurable thing.
Keep in mind that kids are constantly looking at what the adults in their lives are doing and emulating the behaviour they see. If you send out signals that eating a healthy, home cooked meal is boring and the occasional dinner from McDonalds is more enjoyable, your child will pick up on that!
It’s best to adapt your approach to the child you’re dealing with. For example, you could have one child who’s very picky and struggles with new foods and a child who’s happy to try out anything. In this case, the first child might need more support and help when it comes to establishing a healthy diet that works for them, while the second child offers you a great opportunity to try out many different types of food so that they can find what healthy foods they like the most. 🙌