Kids must eat only fresh, healthy and non-junk foods to stay fit. But much as we would want otherwise, kids hate eating such healthy and nutritious food. We, as parents, have to make sure that our children are eating right and getting all the required nutrition.
Children require adequate nutrition in order to grow and develop a healthy body. Therefore, they should be regularly offered foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Children should avoid consuming processed food and snacks. These are loaded with an excess amount of refined sugars. Consuming these can debilitate their immune system, adversely affecting their health over time.
Here is a list of healthy foods for kids to eat. Believe, they are healthiest foods!
Best Healthy Food for Kids
Nutritious foods are often associated with fruits, but there are other varieties of nutritious and healthy foods that are beneficial for the health of children.
Fish and beans, containing lean proteins, are an ideal source of nutrition.
Calcium, which is needed for healthy bones and teeth, is provided by dairy items like milk and cheese.
Whole grains, found in bread and cereals, are a rich source of beneficial fiber.
Nutritious diets offer a variety of health benefits such as reduced chances of developing osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and cavities. Children consuming a well-rounded, nutritious diet are less likely to suffer from obesity.
Following are a few nutritious foods that are a must for children:
Eggs are packed with protein and DHA that help in the proper growth of your baby’s brain.
Strawberries and blueberries are the best food for your kids. They are a rich source of many vitamins and antioxidants. You can give them plain or just sprinkle little raw sugar.
Tuna may not be a favorite of kids, but it’s filled with enough nutrients that your child needs. Give your kids tuna by mixing it with lettuce to make a sandwich. You can also try to mix it with rice or cheese to get the right amount of protein.
Legumes such as baked beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, and chick peas are the best source of protein for your kids. Cereal aids in digestion and is packed with fiber.
Cow’s milk is the best source of protein and calcium for your kid. Try to give whole milk to your baby till the age of 2 as this is great for brain development. Ensure your teen kids eat calcium dairy for stronger bones.
Yogurt contains good bacteria, which can help your kid grow healthier. You can choose from a low-fat version and low sugar version. Add plain yogurt to some fruits to make it delicious. This is a very healthy food for kids to eat.
7. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits are naturally sweet and a popular snack among children. It is suggested for kids to take 1.5 cups of fruit every day. You can also add plain yogurt to get calcium. Dried fruit also has much nutritional value and should be included in your kids’ food. Vegetables should be the first choice to feed your kids for a healthy life. Fruits and vegetables help to improve nutrition, decrease obesity risk and aids in better school performance.
- Improved Nutrition
Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, and many healthy compounds. They help in boosting the immune system, promote good eye health and prevent the risk of anemia. Give fruits and vegetables in rainbow colors to your kids for nutrients.
Fruits and vegetables contain fiber and are low in fat and calories. Encourage your kids to eat fruits and vegetables to avoid obesity. This also helps to reduce the risk of high cholesterol, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems and depression.
- Proper Digestion
Fruits and vegetables are high-fiber foods that aid proper digestive system functioning. This also helps to give relief from constipation to kids. You can add apricots, plums, peas, beans, prunes, and broccoli for regular bowel movements.
- Better School Performance
Children who eat fruits and vegetables perform better in their academic, physical as well as overall development.
8. Whole Grains
Feed your kids with white bread and whole grains by making a sandwich. You can get the best nutrition by taking “100% stone-ground wheat”.
9. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are orange-fleshed root vegetables and a rich source of beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes contain essential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To get the nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes it is important to steam or boil them. Sweet potato helps to prevent oxidative damage to your kid’s cells and promotes healing.
Include nuts in your kid’s diet. Walnuts have the healthiest benefits than all other nuts.
These seeds are reddish brown or golden yellow in color.
This nutty plant food is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for optimal brain development.
Flaxseed is sold whole and ground. Ground flaxseed is preferable in order to enable the body to absorb the maximum nutrients.
Ground flaxseeds can be sprinkled onto cereals or the batter of sweet treats.
Tofu is a great source of protein, vitamin B, calcium, and iron – all the nutrients that are required by children for their proper growth and bone health.
Although it is a non-pleaser when served whole in dishes, tofu can be effectively used to provide a creamy base for smoothies, desserts, cookies, and ice creams.
This sweet tropical fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C.
It helps in strengthening the kids’ immune system and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
It provides 3 grams of sugar for just about 100 calories.
Mangoes can be effectively used in a smoothie or dessert like a banana-mango smoothie or mango pudding.
Puree peeled cubes of mango can be processed or blended and frozen to get frozen mango pops.
Milk is a rich source of calcium.
Needless to say, it provides your child with a healthy dose of calcium which is essential for strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin D in milk helps your child to absorb the calcium.
Cow’s milk provides a complete nutritional food for kids as it is a low-fat milk.
As most children dislike plain milk, you can provide them milk in the form of chocolate milkshakes, pineapple blossoms, energy drinks, etc.
This pink fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
These are essential for brain development and a healthy heart.
Besides, it has high-quality proteins which children need for proper growth.
It is also low in mercury.
One of the plus points of salmon is that it requires little seasoning due to its natural flavor and can be baked or grilled in just a matter of minutes.
It can be served to children in the form of salmon burgers or roasted salmon with herbs.
This heart-healthy dip and spread is made from beans which contain fiber, complex carbs, and proteins.
These garbanzo beans in combination with olive oil make hummus a perfect food.
Hummus can be used as a dip with baked chips or baby carrots, or it can be used in sandwiches and wraps in place of mayonnaise.
25 to 35% of kids’ calories should be provided by fats, primarily the unsaturated ones.
Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats.
This creamy green fruit can be served best as a spread on wraps instead of mayonnaise or cream cheese.
A ripe avocado can be mashed easily and mixed with a dash of lemon juice and salt to get a tasty spread or dip.
Avocados should be given to children at an early age as fat intake is particularly vital in the early years.
18. Air-popped Popcorn
Being a source of whole grains and low in calories and fat, air-popped popcorn is considered a healthy food for children.
Since it is made without added oil, it stands out as a nutritious choice between meals.
Different toppings like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice can be tried to make it more delicious for your child.
It can be stirred in other ingredients like dried fruit or mixed nuts and made into a nutritious trail mix.
We will provide you three recommendations in this kids nutrition chart as per the age group of 2 to 3, i.e. the baby nutrition chart, 4 to 8 and 9 to 13 years.
Recommended Daily Amount
|Calories||1,000 to 1,400||1,200 to 1,800 (girls)|
1,400 to 2,000 (boys)
|1,600 to 2,200 (girls)|
1,800 to 2,600 (boys)
|Protein||5 to 20% of daily calories||10 to 30% of daily calories||10 to 30% of daily calories|
|Total Fat||30 to 40% of daily calories||”|
25 to 35% of daily calories
|25 to 35% of daily calories|
|Carbohydrate||45 to 65% of daily calories||45 to 65% of daily calories||45 to 65% of daily calories|
|Fiber||19 grams||25 grams||26 grams (girls)|
|Calcium||500 milligrams||800 milligrams||1,300 milligrams|
Calories are the units of energy which must be taken in certain amounts. The children must gain 1000-1400, 1200-2000, 1600-2600 units of energy in the above stated three different age groups.
Proteins are made up of cell building blocks called amino acids, they are used for cell and tissue repairs and act as oxygen carriers in the body. It should contribute to 5-20 and 10-30 percent of the calories for the age categories as listed above.
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Fats are the sources of energy that can be stored by the body and used when necessary. The fat content should amount to 25-40 percent of the daily calorie intake by the body.
Carbohydrates are also a source of energy. They are very important as they help the child’s body to utilize fat and proteins in the body. They are also helpful in building and repairing body’s internal mechanism. The right amount of carbohydrates is about 45-65 percent of the calories.
Fiber is responsible for assisting the bowel regularity in children. This makes digestion better and also avoids heart diseases and cancer in the future. It accounts to about 19-26 grams on a daily basis divided accordingly into the above-mentioned age groups.
This is an important nutrient required for teeth and bone strengthening. Calcium can be given in the range of 500-1300 mg to the three categories divided accordingly.
For infants, the mother’s milk is the best source of minerals such as iron. Not only milk but also green leafy vegetables, cereals, sprouts, egg, fish, chicken and fruits are good sources of all of these healthy nutrients.
Remember that you need to include essential nutrition chart for children for overall growth and development.
Most Nutritious Food Groups And Their Advantages
Children can get a balanced diet by eating a variety of foods from the four main food groups given in the table given below:
|Bread, other cereals, and potatoes||These are starchy foods, which also include pasta and rice – provide energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.|
|Fruits and vegetables||These foods provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are a source of antioxidants.|
|Milk and dairy foods||These foods provide calcium for healthy bones and teeth, protein for growth, plus vitamins and minerals.|
|Meat, fish, and alternatives||These foods, which include eggs and pulses, provide protein and vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Pulses also contain fiber.|
These are the most nutritious and healthy foods for kids that you must definitely include in your kiddo’s diet. Make sure your child is eating healthy. If you have a fussy eater at hand, include healthy ingredients in delicious dishes. Make it appetizing, make it look good and your child will soon love eating these nutritious foods. Do tell us if you tried any of the above.