Five Great Foods for Kids
Presented by Herbalife - Official Nutrition Advisor to AYSO
Getting kids to eat healthy foods can be an ongoing struggle. When kids are picky about what they’ll eat – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too hard, it’s too mushy - you sometimes worry that their nutritional needs aren’t being met.
And your concerns are valid. Kids’ diets often fall short when it comes to providing enough calcium, iron and fiber, since they may not include enough dairy products, iron-rich foods like whole grains and beans, or high fiber fruits and vegetables. And, when too many processed foods make up the diet, excess fats and sugars often tag along, too.
Kids choose foods primarily by how they taste. And, many parents want to avoid power struggles with their children when it comes to food, so they simply let them have what they want.
The good news is that there are plenty of foods that kids enjoy that are also good for them. Here are some top-rated foods for kids-and grown ups-that can help fill some of those nutritional gaps.
Many kids turn their noses up at fish, but will eat tuna salad. Like all fish, tuna is a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and is rich in protein. My kids loved canned light tuna mixed with mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise. They’re all grown up and they still eat it this way on whole grain bread or crackers.
Yogurt is great for kids. But instead of the super-sweet candy-colored versions, try plain nonfat yogurt which is one of the best sources of calcium around. To make it more kid-friendly, stir in a little honey or pure maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon. You can mix in some fresh fruit or put some sliced fresh fruit on the side that they can use as ‘dippers’
Carrots Kids and vegetables often don’t mix, but sweet, crunchy raw carrots are usually an exception. Carrots are rich in beta carotene – a vitamin that helps support healthy skin and eyesight - and they’re also a good source of fiber. They’re fun to eat plain, or dipped in fat-free ranch, salsa or guacamole.
Oatmeal - It takes just a few minutes to cook up some rolled oats which are so much healthier than most ready-to-eat cereals. Oatmeal is naturally rich in fiber and B-vitamins. I like to make mine with nonfat milk instead of water – it makes the oatmeal delicious and creamy, and it boosts the calcium and protein. You can sweeten it naturally with some mashed banana or applesauce and cinnamon.
Beans - Many kids don’t get enough iron in the diet, which is where beans come in. They’re rich not only in iron but are a great fiber source, too. Kids like canned beans seasoned with a touch or ketchup or barbecue sauce, and many also like bean soups and hummus dip.
Susan Bowerman is a paid consultant to Herbalife