Thursday, October 16, 2008

Good Food For Kids Keeps Them Healthy and Happy

As a parent with a young child I am constantly concerned with her well being. Chief amongst those concerns is what she eats during the day. I can't always control what she does and mistakes will be made but hopefully I can instil in her some good eating habits that she can take with her throughout her life.In my journey to discover those foods which would comprise a healthy diet for my child, I was able to discover a bounty of great choices. Some of those choices she might even enjoy. Here are a few of them.

American cheese. Apparently one slice contains something in the neighbourhood of 125 milligrams of calcium which are great for building bones. Up to the age of three, children regularly require approximately five hundred milligrams of calcium a day and this requirement rises to eight hundred between the ages of four to eight. My little one has always enjoyed it in the classic grilled cheese sandwich. At one point it was the only thing she would eat. I later discovered that by melting it over other foods I could get her to eat things she otherwise wouldn't be too enthusiastic about.

Breakfast cereal. It remains the most important meal of the day and that goes double for the kids. Whole grain cereals are great. Fortified cereals remain a great source of vitamins and minerals including the B-vitamin Folate which helps in the building of blood cells. If your kids are hooked on sugary brand cereals, typically not the greatest, try mixing them with a whole grain variety or better yet, top it off with their favourite fruits. That will help to start weeding out the sugar brands that they can definitely do without.

Cantaloupe. Speaking of fruits, this is a great one. It is delicious and when in season there is nothing like it. Serve it in chunks, quartered or even show them how much fun it can be to scoop it out. This fruit is the great saviour for parents of kids that don't eat vegetables. It happens to contain both beta carotene and vitamin C and as such is a great vegetable supplement. It is also great on cereal and in yogurt.

Chocolate Milk. I am quite certain I am not alone when I say that my kid practically lives on chocolate milk. I used to think it wasn't the greatest and preferred her to drink white milk. However, turns out it is pretty good stuff. Besides being tastier than ordinary milk, I happen to still love the stuff myself, chocolate milk is still great for building strong bones and teeth and despite reports to the contrary, the chocolate does not hinder the calcium absorption. Drink up! It happens to go great with those grilled cheese sandwiches.

Eggs. You will discover in a hurry that kids don't care about the classic which came first the chicken or the egg. What you may discover is that your child may not be crazy about eggs at first. The good news is that there aren't many foods that can be prepared in nearly as many ways as an egg. There is usually at least one variation of this staple favoured by each child. If you haven't found your kid's variation yet, keep trying. One scrambled egg is packed with protein which builds and repairs muscles, as well as vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium.

Frozen mixed vegetables. I know. I didn't like them either. They are however great stuff. Peas supply protein and folate, green beans provide potassium and carrots are loaded with beta carotene. If your kids won't eat them straight, try mixing them into a soup or stew. The best trick I discovered was grinding them up into tiny pieces and mixing them into a blended yogurt drink made from your child's favourite fruits. Sound crazy? Try it and watch what happens. Go ahead, do it right now I'll wait.

Ketchup. It goes with everything. Well, according to your kids it will. This is great news because it contains a cancer fighting agent called lycopene which is great news for the kid in all of us. Seriously, who doesn't like ketchup. Now that's good stuff.

There are many other great foods for your kids like blueberries and yogurt and some are great substitutes for others as I demonstrated above. You should check them all out and find out which ones your children really enjoy. Remember, good eating habits can last a lifetime and make for a healthy lifestyle.

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