June 15, 2018 — By Wendy Sachs
We are always concerned with kids and nutrition. Whether it’s first foods, picky eaters or just what to give hungry little ones- there is lots of information out there. Here are a few tips we love.
Most experts agree that forcing kids to try certain foods only increases the emotional battle, exactly what you don’t want to happen. So try serving dinners buffet style but only offering healthy choices. You can use a measuring cup as a serving spoon to teach kids about correct serving sizes.
New research shows that infancy is the time that children are most open to accepting new flavors. That seems to slow down around the first birthday. So while considering kids and nutrition, try feeding little ones bitter green veggies, fish and plenty of ethnic favorites. Don’t shy from garlic which has great benefits. They may abandon these as they learn to self feed, but it may be that they will more easily return to them as kids mature. If you are breastfeeding, make sure you expose baby to these flavors through your breast milk, unless there is a known allergen. What a great excuse to order Indian or Thai takeout instead of cooking!
Early Foods Considering Kids and Nutrition
Also important early foods to consider are eggs, red meat, salmon and peanut butter. Red meat offers loads of zinc and iron. Eggs provide lutein for eye health, lots of protein and some healthy fats. Salmon is packed with DHA which is one of those all important omega-3 fats that promote brain health. And while we have stayed away from peanuts before age 2 for years, new studies show that small amounts of this before age 1 can actually prevent allergies. Always consult with your doctor and try foods in small amounts and after they have tolerated other foods.
Nutrients and a Child’s Diet
As you search for foods to feed your kids, and think about kids and nutrition, remember the to look for the nutrients. Protein is a building block for muscle and fights infections. Carbs, which we may avoid, are necessary for kids because not only are they a source of energy, but they also help to repair tissue and other important jobs. Carbs are not just sugars, which we should limit, but also starches and fiber which children need. Fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids are the stars of brain growth and development. Folate is important for the growth and development of cells and can ward off anemia. And vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy.