Want to Serve Healthy Food for Children
Want to Serve Healthy Food for Children : Providing healthy food for children from childhood is very good for their growth and development. Not only makes optimal growth and development, the risk of children developing chronic diseases as adults can also be reduced.
As the beginning of instilling this child’s habit, of course you have to be smart in choosing a variety of healthy foods. If you want nutritional needs to be met properly, understand about nutritious food for children that must be served in the daily menu.
Why is it important to provide healthy food for children?
Without realizing it, busy working or doing activities every day sometimes makes parents pay less attention to choosing healthy food sources for their children.
On that basis, most children like to buy unhealthy snacks because they do not understand the side effects.
Take for example fried foods, sweets with high sugar content, and snacks that contain lots of coloring.
It is feared that this habit can be carried over into adulthood which then causes various adverse effects on health.
Therefore, not only can prevent disease attacks, providing nutritious food for children also offers a myriad of benefits such as:
- Stabilizes the energy supply in the body.
- Improve mood (mood).
- Helps maintain ideal body weight.
- Helps prevent mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
Meanwhile, if you are not used to eating nutritious foods from an early age, your child’s risk of developing chronic diseases is even higher.
Starting from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, to obesity in later life. Of course you don’t want this to happen to your baby, right?
So from now on, you must instill healthy eating habits to help support your child’s growth and development.
What are the sources of healthy food for children?
In order to meet the nutritional needs of school children, including in the developmental period of children 6-9 years, not only the portion of food that must be considered.
Providing healthy food for children helps support cognitive development and physical development of children.
However, the diversity of food sources should not be ignored.
Before you give healthy foods to children, you should know the various choices of the best sources.
Here is a series of nutritious foods for children every day:
1. Food sources of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the main energy sources for the brain which are needed in various metabolic processes.
This is because when it enters the body, carbohydrates will be directly converted into glucose or blood sugar.
Furthermore, glucose serves as an energy producer for all the work of organs, cells, and body tissues.
There are two types of carbohydrates as a source of healthy food for children, namely simple and complex carbohydrates.
Both have different food sources. Brown sugar, white sugar, honey, candy, soda, and cakes are some foods that contain simple carbohydrates.
While food sources of complex carbohydrates include wheat, pasta, beans, potatoes, bread, rice, and several types of vegetables and fruits.
2. Food sources of fiber
If you want to serve a plate of nutritious food for your child, don’t forget to include a source of fiber in it.
Because fiber is good for smoothing the work of the digestive system, normalizing blood sugar, preventing various heart diseases, while maintaining an ideal body weight.
Not only that, this healthy food source for children can also make them feel full longer.
Just like carbohydrates, there are also two different types of fiber. Includes soluble and insoluble fiber.
Various choices of fiber sources are as follows:
- Legumes, such as soybeans
- Whole grain cereal
- Pasta with whole grain mix
- Wheat bread
Try to choose fresh foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruit, rather than canned or dried foods.
Because most packaged foods contain high amounts of sodium, so it is not good for your little one’s health.
3. Healthy food sources of protein for children
Apart from being the most important constituent of the body, protein also functions to replace damaged tissue.
Children need protein as a source of healthy food to support the process of growth and development.
There are two types of protein that you can give to help meet the daily nutritional needs of children, namely animal and vegetable protein.
Food sources with animal protein content include red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.
Sometimes, parents can give milk to their children to help meet their nutritional needs.
While foods with vegetable protein sources include nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, oncom, wheat, and oats.
4. Healthy food sources of fat for children
Nearly 60 percent of the human brain is made up of fat. That’s why fat is one of the important molecules that must be present in a healthy food source for children.
Omega 3 fatty acids, for example, can help brain development in infants and children.
Although needed in sufficient quantities, but that does not mean you can give too much fatty food.
It is important to know that fats are divided into two major groups, namely good fats and bad fats.
Food sources with good fats include nuts, avocados, olive oil, canola oil, whole grains, fish, and eggs.
These various types of good fat sources contain high levels of unsaturated fat so that they are useful as nutritious food for children.
This is different from foods that are sources of bad fats, which consist of trans fats and saturated fats, including fried foods, coconut milk, fast food, and packaged foods.
5. Food sources of vitamins and minerals
In addition to providing a source of nutritious food containing macronutrients for children, the provision of micronutrients is no less important.
Children’s minerals and vitamins are a source of micronutrients that must also be included in the daily diet.
Obviously, because vitamins and minerals help support brain function, organ development, central nervous system, to muscles.
Various choices of food sources that you can give your little one include vegetables, fruits, animal foods, tempeh, tofu, and nuts.
Indeed, there are many sources of vitamins and minerals that can meet the daily nutritional needs of children.
Coupled with the many types of vitamins and minerals, thus increasing the variety of food choices.
Here are some types of food sources of vitamins and minerals that can be processed as a child’s diet:
- Leafy greens (such as broccoli)
- Orange juice
- Peanuts and nuts
- Potato with skin
- Fish, shellfish and oysters
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
- Nuts (including almonds, kidney beans, peas, peanuts, and soybeans)
In fact, in some cases, giving a child’s appetite-enhancing vitamins can help increase the appetite of children who have difficulty eating.
Important principles in providing healthy food for children
At first glance it looks easy and trivial. However, do not be careless when providing nutritious food for children.
Here are important rules that parents should understand:
1. The more diverse the food, the more nutrients it gets
If you’re shopping for healthy food for kids, don’t buy the same ingredients.
The more variety of foods a child eats, the more nutrients he gets.
The reason is, there is no perfect food that can meet their nutritional needs.
In addition to meeting their daily nutritional needs, combining various food menus also prevents your little one from feeling bored.
Because if you are already bored, it could be that your child even goes on a hunger strike or is lazy to eat.
So, try to buy and prepare different foodstuffs every week so that the child’s food menu is always different.
2. Get your child used to breakfast every day
Breakfast is very important because it contributes energy to support children’s activities since the morning.
Moreover, because starting in the morning, children already need a lot of energy to be active and study at school.
So, what happens when a child goes to school with an empty stomach and rumbling?
Instead of being more focused while studying, children may find it difficult to concentrate and absorb lessons because of their weak body.
In addition, breakfast also helps provide a little energy reserves before being fully charged during the child’s lunch hour.
If necessary, you can also give your child school supplies to fill his tummy while preventing him from snacking on a whim when he’s hungry.
3. Make mealtime a priority
Since childhood, do not get used to eating while doing other activities. Whether it’s playing, fiddling with gadgets, or watching TV.
This can make him less focused when eating, even become a bad habit into adulthood.
Make mealtime an important routine to build healthier habits.
In addition to serving a variety of healthy food sources for children, make it a habit to eat with other family members at the dinner table.
Spending time eating with children like this can be a good opportunity to monitor their daily eating habits.
You can ask about what foods and snacks your child ate today, and remind them of the pros and cons of consuming these foods.
In fact, this method can build stronger interactions between family members.
Don’t forget to set a good example when eating, if you want your little one to adopt good eating habits from an early age.
4. Involve children more often when choosing their food intake
At first, the child may be more interested in choosing the type of food that is less healthy but tasty for him.
Your job here is to help children sort out the types of food that are good and bad for consumption.
Also teach children to read food labels before buying them.
The goal is for them to know what the nutritional content is in the food they choose.
5. Limit the consumption of sugar, salt, and fat in a day according to the rules
Although needed by the body, but the daily intake of sugar, salt, and fat should not be too much or even lack.
Ideally, a maximum of 50 grams of sugar a day, or about 4 tablespoons.
While salt should be no more than 5 grams or the equivalent of 1 teaspoon per day.
Likewise fat should not be more than 67 grams per day or the equivalent of 5 tablespoons.
This amount includes those contained in food and beverages.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the labels on food for children
Don’t just look at prices when shopping. Many mothers tend to look at the price and brand of a food product.
In fact, another important thing that must also be considered is reading food labels.
Yes, there will be times when you will buy processed foods. To find out the nutritional value of these food products, you can look at their nutritional values.
Choose products that contain low levels of sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.
A food is “good” if each serving contains 5 percent or less of the daily capacity of sugar, saturated fat, or sodium.
A food item is said to be “less good” if each serving contains more than 20 percent or more of any sugar, saturated fat, or sodium.
How to teach healthy eating habits to children
Here are smart tips to teach children to get used to eating healthy foods from an early age:
1. Increase mealtime with family
Eating with family can be the first step in teaching children to eat healthy foods.
Because in this way, children can pay attention to their eating habits and the types of food eaten by other family members.
This can also encourage their curiosity to try new types of food that they may not have tried before.
You can also accompany and reprimand your child if there is an inappropriate way of eating. For example, the wrong position when using a fork, or drinking too much while eating.
But remember, giving warnings to children must still be done in the right way so that they are more easily accepted by children.
2. Give healthy snacks
Instead of giving children the main food in portions that are too much, it is better to give snacks in between meals.
However, do not be careless when providing a source of healthy snacks for children. Ensure healthy snacks that are not high in salt, sugar and fat.
No less important, the provision of snack portions must also be calculated properly.
Do not let the child have trouble eating the main meal because it is too full with the snacks you provide.
3. Avoid eating while dealing with gadgets
Consciously or not, maybe once in a while you let your child eat while watching TV while holding his favorite game device.
The goal is indeed good, namely to make the child calm and stay in place while eating without having to pull an artery.
In fact, this method actually makes it difficult for you to control your child’s portions.
Your little one may suddenly feel full, eat too much, or even eat for a very long time.
This is of course because the child feels too engrossed in the gadget in front of him.
So, it is important to consider that this is not the way to teach children to eat healthy and well.
The solution, let the child eat at the dining table, or at least he can eat without “distraction” from electronic devices.
4. Don’t use certain foods as gifts
Although more powerful, but you should avoid the lure of gifts of candy, chocolate, or certain other foods to children.
This method is not the right step to teach healthy eating habits to children.
The reason, the child may think that the food is much more valuable than the food you usually give.
In fact, the daily food you give is actually healthier than a bar of sweet chocolate full of sugar.
5. Set a good example
Children are great imitators. Therefore, try to always set a good example when teaching healthy eating habits to children.
For example, by eating more fruit after meals, reducing processed snacks, or trying new types of vegetables.
That way, the child will not feel “forced” to do this and that while eating.
On the other hand, because you and those closest to you are doing the same, your child will feel as if he has a “friend.”
6. Take the kids shopping and cooking together
If all this time your child is always waiting until the food is cooked and served perfectly on the table, now try to change his routine. Every now and then, get the kids involved in shopping and cooking together.
There are good benefits when you teach children to have healthy eating habits this way.
Besides children understand more about various types of side dishes, vegetables, and fruits, children’s minds can also become more open.
Children become more aware of the importance of consuming various types of food to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Here, children can learn more about everyday food source choices.
You can also provide further insight if these various food sources can help support its development.
That way, children can better understand and not be afraid to try new types of food.
Example of a healthy food menu for children in a day
So that the daily nutritional needs of children are always met properly, here is an example of a nutritious food menu for children that you can copy:
Meet the energy needs of children in the morning through food sources that are rich in carbohydrates, protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
In addition to helping you feel full longer, eating breakfast every day also helps prevent excess weight gain.
Examples of breakfast menus such as:
- white bread
- Tomato and lettuce slices
The portion of snack food is not as much as the main meal menu.
However, giving is no less important to help meet daily nutritional needs that may not be met optimally from main meals.
Examples of snacks such as:
Yogurt with mixed fruit
Lunch is in charge of restoring the child’s lost energy after activities since the morning, while keeping it up until dinner time arrives.
Try the lunch menu to meet about a third of the amount of energy, vitamins, and minerals for children. Examples of lunch menus such as:
- White rice
- Goldfish Pepes
- Sauteed Spinach
After the child’s energy is used up for activities in the afternoon and evening, replenish it through the intake of dinner.
Meet the energy needs of children by providing various sources of macro and micro nutrients.
Examples of menus such as:
- White rice
- Fried beef with paprika
- Sauteed Long Beans
You can actually adjust the daily food portion with your child’s favorite type of food.
However, make sure you provide a variety of different foods each day to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Are there foods that children should avoid?
It is important to pay attention to when teaching healthy eating habits to children. It is best to limit your child to eating foods that are high in salt, saturated fat, and sugar.
Examples of unhealthy foods for children include potato chips, biscuits, chocolate, cakes, ice cream, sweets, and fried foods.
Fast food and junk food such as spicy chips, potato chips, dim sum, pies, burgers, and pizza are also high in sugar, salt, and fat.
That’s why these foods are actually low in fiber and nutrients in them.
In fact, not infrequently these foods actually contain “bad” fats that can increase the risk of children experiencing various diseases later in life.
Starting from obesity from an early age, diabetes, to heart disease. Sweet drinks that are high in sugar are also not good for children because they can damage their dental health.
Sugary drinks, such as sports drinks, soda, and other soft drinks.
In addition, caffeinated foods and drinks are also not recommended for children to drink. This is because caffeine can inhibit the absorption of calcium in the body.
Caffeine is also a stimulant, which means it gives a child artificial energy. Take coffee, tea, and energy drinks for example.