Healthy Eating for Kids 101
“Healthy eating for kids” sounds like an oxymoron, right? We’d all choose the fast-food-and-candy diet if that was a healthy option. Unfortunately, as adults, we know better. But our kids are blissfully unaware of the potential health problems that await them if they continue down the path of processed food.
It’s our job as parents to lay the foundation for a balanced diet. Breaking your kids’ bond with junk food and processed sugar doesn’t have to be an uphill battle — it is possible to teach them how to make healthy choices.
Here’s everything you need to know about healthy eating for kids.
Let Them Be Chefs
Healthy eating for kids starts at home. Kids in the kitchen may sound like a hospital trip waiting to happen, but don’t underestimate a child’s desire to explore what goes into preparing a meal. Involving kids in their meal prep gets them excited about what’s on their plates because they helped create it.
But don’t just throw Little Jimmy in front of the stove to man the stir fry — start him off slow (and preferably NOT around a hot surface). Your child can help manage tasks such as measuring, washing fruit and vegetables, and mixing ingredients.
After a few meals, introduce your little sous-chef to cutting and slicing food, and eventually work your way to oven and stove duty.
Healthy Food Alternatives for Kids
The dinner-time power struggle is the worst, and half the time you probably just let your kid eat junk to avoid conflict altogether. Along with helping them prep their own meals, finding healthy alternatives to their favorite foods is a great way to encourage healthy eating for kids without the added drama.
— Instead of pepperoni pizza. Instead of greasy pizza, why not let your kids make their own! Lay out chopped fruit and veggies, tofu, pizza sauce, your protein of choice, and dairy-free cheese, and let your kids decorate their own pita pizzas. It’s just as good as delivery but without the added sodium and fat.
— Instead of French fries and ketchup. Swap deep-fried French fries for air-fried or baked sweet potato fries (which have SO many health benefits!), and instead of ketchup, opt for a creamy avocado dip (topped with chia seeds, black beans, or your kids’ veggie of choice). They won’t know the difference.
— Instead of chicken nuggets. Processed chicken nuggets are high in saturated fat and added fillers that don’t promote healthy eating for kids. Make your own veggie nuggets by cutting the tops off of broccoli and cauliflower. Coat them in egg (or almond milk if you want to go vegan!), whole wheat flour, and bread crumbs. Bake or air fry for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
Show Them Where Healthy Ingredients Come From
Leading our child into eating healthy could be as easy as showing them where healthy foods come from — which can then trigger a desire to try more of what they see and learn about. Get your kids involved in grocery shopping by taking them with you to the following places:
—The local supermarket. Supermarkets are a wonderful way to implement healthy eating for kids because they carry a variety of local, unprocessed healthy foods. Explore the produce section with your child and point out the distinct colors and types of produce.
—The farmers market. The farmers market is a great opportunity for your child to get some one-on-one interaction with your local farmers who grow the food you eat. Plus, most of the food at farmers markets is organic and locally grown or made, unlike much of what you find at the grocery store.
—Your own backyard. A seed-to-table approach is a terrific way to get your child to understand and enjoy their healthy options. Kids at any age will love watching the seeds they planted and cared for turn into actual food. Consider looking into a community garden if you’re tight on backyard space.
Crunchy Cravings Can Be Healthy & Tasty
Snack time might be every parent’s biggest challenge when it comes to healthy eating for kids. If your child is a ticking time bomb who needs to be fed immediately but you don’t have the time to put together a veggie tray, try Outstanding Foods snacks.
Our Puffs, dairy-free Cheese Balls, and Pig Out Crunchies come in a variety of outstanding flavors, 4-7 grams of plant-based protein per serving, and 20 essential vitamins and minerals. What’s even better is they’re free of gluten, soy, GMOs, cholesterol, and trans fat (but your kid doesn’t need to know all that)!
Not only does Outstanding Foods promote healthy eating for kids without them even knowing, but they’re also convenient, ready to eat, and full of flavor!
Find Outstanding Foods in stores near you.