Eating Tips for Little Ones
The first 12 years of a child’s life are vital in terms of healthy growth. It’s during this period that his bones, muscles and brain all develop at high speed which, of course, requires lots of energy and nutrients.
However, more often than not, this is also the time when kids are picky about what they eat, and this makes ensuring they are getting nutritious meals, packed with vitamins and minerals, all the more challenging! Don’t you agree?
The Necessary Nutrients
By teaching your little one good eating habits now, you will be giving him the best chance of staying healthy into adulthood.
There are four main food groups your child should be eating.
These include wholemeal bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and wholegrain cereals, all of which can really boost energy levels.
- Try making mini minestrone with tiny chunks of carrot and zucchini, vegetable stock and very small pasta shapes, and finish with a generous scattering of tasty grated cheese.
- Kids love noodles or eating long pasta so you can try tossing egg noodles or spaghetti with a little cooked chicken breast, finely chopped carrot and sweetcorn.
Fruits & vegetables
It’s really important to get children interested in as many fruit and vegetables as you can at an early age and to encourage them to eat their ‘five-a-day’. Offer five small servings a day and make sure they get a good variety because different fruit and vegetables contain different vitamins and nutrients. Be adventurous!
One small apple, one small banana, a slice of melon, one kiwi or a glass of fresh fruit juice (without added sugar) all measure up to one serving.
- Roasted vegetables: Good choices are root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes. Toss in a little olive oil and runny honey for a quick sticky glaze that’s sweet and satisfying. Kids will love it!
- Homemade mini burgers/sliders: Ditch processed frozen patties. Make your own and add some finely grated carrot and zucchini into the patties. Not only does this add to their five-a-day but also keeps the burgers deliciously moist.
- Soups: Soups are a brilliant way of disguising an assortment of vegetables all in one go. Try blending pumpkin/butternut squash with red lentils for a super creamy, yummy soup.
- Add another vegetable into mashed potatoes: Potatoes do not count as a vegetable because they belong to the starchy carbohydrate group. Try adding broccoli, parsnip or carrot. Serve them with homemade sausages (kids love sausages!).
- Chunky pasta sauces: This is another way to disguise even more veggies. You can also try pasta-and-vegetable bake by using tomato-based sauce.
Milk & dairy
This group of products is a good source of protein and calcium and is essential for the development of strong bones and teeth.
- Scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs make good companions for cheesy bread sticks.
- Make French toast fingers and dip in cream cheese.
- Smoothies with yogurt are a good way of providing a calcium-enriched drink.
Lean meat, chicken & fish
These are all good sources of protein, necessary for healthy growth and the maintenance of healthy cells.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are a good source of essential Omega-3 oils.
- Make mini salmon fish cakes with mashed potatoes.
- Baked/grilled fish sticks are a great choice too.
- Homemade chicken nuggets are a favorite among the kids too.
Keep snacks healthy
Limit between-meal snacks because they fill up your toddler, making him less likely to eat well at meal times.
If he does have a small snack, try healthy options rather than sugary biscuits, cookies or chocolate. Healthier snack options include a cup of milk and a small cracker with a slice of cheese or plain yogurt with sliced bananas or any of his favorite fruits.
If you’re giving milkshakes, make your own with no added sugar. Use lots of fruits for natural flavor and sweetness.