Nutrition Tips for Li’l Ones: How to Make Every Bite Count
Just like grown-ups, li’l ones need nutrients to lead healthy and happy lives. Food plays a very important role in the growth and development of kids. Why? A healthy diet helps enhance a li’l one’s physical and mental abilities. Food gives them the energy to happily grow and learn about the world around them.
According to the American Heart Health Association, the average American kid consumes an alarming number of sugars per day—that’s 81 grams! That’s more than double the recommended amount for kids. With this in mind, parents need to take a more conscious role when it comes to their child’s everyday diet.
Not sure where to start creating a balanced diet for your li’l ones? You’ve come to the right place! Here are some helpful tips to make every meal a nutritious one.
Top Nutrition Tips
As parents, your child’s well-being is in your hands. To make a positive impact on your kid’s development, you need to consciously feed your li’l ones. Whip up meals that can help enrich li’l lives and help them unleash their full potential. Ready to make every li’l bite count? Let’s get started with these healthy tips!
Cut Down on Sugar and Refined Carbs
Sugars and refined grains aren’t all that sweet for your li’l one’s health. The simple carbs have been stripped of all important nutrients and fiber. Instead of adding nutrients, they add extra calories that can lead to weight gain—or even obesity.
Too much consumption of these food types can cause spikes in blood sugar in li’l ones. Sugar-filled meals and snacks can also affect their mood and energy throughout the day. Refined carbs include pasta, white bread, white flour, white rice, and sugary cereals.
Tip #1: Look for healthier alternatives! Swap your loaf of white bread with whole wheat or multigrain bread. Instead of sugar-filled cereals, look for high-fiber options.
Tip #2: Cut down on sweets. Added sugars don’t contribute any nutritional value to your li’l one’s diet anyway. Banning them altogether, however, can lead to cravings or overindulging. Instead, maintain the recommendation of the American Health Association of three teaspoons daily.
Fats Can Be Good Too
Not all fats are bad for you. A common misconception about fats is that you need to avoid them as much as possible. However, li’l ones need healthy fats—loads of them—to have a well-balanced diet. Most importantly, they are essential for your kid’s growth and development. Fat can actually help develop your li’l one’s brain and nervous system.
To get to know your good and bad fats, here is a li’l guide for you.
What are unhealthy fats?
Also known as trans fats, they are usually found in foods that are industrially made with vegetable oil. Common trans-fatty foods are found in salty snacks like fried chicken, cookies, potato chips, margarine, hamburgers and more.
Just like its name indicates, trans fats can be harmful to your body. There is no nutritional value in trans fats; no amount is safe. Why? Not only do they increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, but they also reduce HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
What are healthy fats?
Healthy fats can be divided into two different types, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats can be found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados.
While polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies cannot produce fatty acids so they need to be consumed from fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. You can also get these nutrients from flaxseeds and walnuts.
Looking for a way to incorporate healthy fats into your li’l one’s diet?
Here’s a tip: Add fatty nuts into their snack time. If your kid isn’t allergic, nuts are a great snack to munch on.
Introduce Different Types of Foods
Do you have a fussy li’l eater? Not being open to new types of food is part of being a kid. The trick is not to give up easily and give your kiddos time to adjust. Here’s an example, when kids are afraid of trips to the clinic, the best way to overcome this fear is to play pretend doctor.
Playing pretend introduces and familiarizes kids with medical instruments. As a result, seeing a stethoscope is no longer super scary. Once they’re familiar with something, they’ll become less frightened.
To help your li’l ones get familiar and braver with new foods, try out these few tips.
Tip #1: Introduce new food when your li’l one’s stomach starts rumbling. When they’re hungry, they will be more than willing to try it out.
Tip #2: Make trying new food a normal thing. Continuously take your li’l ones on food adventures. This will help them broaden their li’l palette!
Cook with Your Li’l Ones
Giving your kids an active role in the learning process is always a great idea! When their li’l hands are involved, they’ll be more enthusiastic and open to trying new things. Cooking with your kids helps them to learn about different food types and their nutritional value. When kiddos are involved in the meal preparation, they will more likely to taste what they’ve made.
While preparing meals with your li’l ones, here are a few tips.
Tip #1: Introduce the food pyramid to your li’l ones and have them organize each ingredient according to their food group. This will help them understand which food types are more important for their li’l bodies.
Tip #2: When cooking with your li’l ones, take them on a fun adventure. Introduce new cultures through food! Try out different recipes specific to a country and have an interactive geography class at home.
A Healthy Kid is A Happy Kid
Isn’t it such a joy to see your li’l one’s smile? When their bodies are healthy and happy you’ll get to see their pearly whites shine! That’s because when you eat well, you’ll automatically feel good. Try out these awesome nutrition tips and raise a happy li’l one.