A healthy meal plan that’s kid friendly should fit seamlessly into the lifestyle of all family members. Parents can serve up nutritious foods that kids might like at every meal, and try role modelling healthy eating habits themselves.
As children have smaller tummies than adults do, it’s essential to schedule meals and snacks at 2-to-3 hour intervals throughout the day.
Meal planning can help your family avoid making unhealthy food choices on impulse, which is often an issue in families. Take some time over the weekend to review recipes and create a meal plan for the week, saving money at the grocery store while giving kids an understanding of what meals and snacks will be on offer each day.
Plan meals that cover all three major food groups, with proteins (like seafood, lean meats or poultry, eggs, beans or nuts), vegetables and fruit being available daily as well as whole grains and dairy. Make sure to offer snacks alongside meals; kids often consume more when offered one!
Opt for recipes that employ healthy cooking techniques like broiling, grilling and roasting; limit fat consumption with leaner cuts of meat such as skinless chicken; include fruit, vegetables and low-fat milk at each meal; keep healthy snack options like carrot sticks, apples slices and yogurt parfaits on hand to enjoy while on-the-go.
By cooking at home more and limiting eating out or ordering takeout, it can help control fat and sugar intakes that tend to be higher with such foods.
Sit down as a family to plan out the meals for the week ahead. Doing this together will give your children more input into how meals will be prepared in the future, and may help teach them how to prepare simple dishes on their own when older. Get your kids involved with shopping too – they’ll learn to read labels more easily while discovering healthier alternatives to chips and sugary beverages at stores!
Kids’ appetites vary daily, and selecting nutritious and delicious food options will help them remain full and satisfied for longer. Incorporating balanced eating strategies such as including foods rich in nutrients containing minimal or no amounts of sugar, saturated fat or salt into their daily meals is key.
Control the Supply Lines
Most kids will eat what’s available, so make it easy for them to select healthy options by always having vegetables and fruit on hand. Also provide lean meats, poultry, fish, low-fat cheese and eggs as protein sources; serve milk and fortified soy, rice or almond beverages; offer 100% juice daily while making sure to balance its intake with water; offer whole fruit snacks in between juice consumptions for snacks!
At meals and snacks, it’s essential that children have healthy options available to them. Reducing high-fat food sources like fried or fatty meats; serving lean meats (broiled, baked or grilled instead of fried); selecting low-fat dairy products with nonfat milk as opposed to full-fat versions; using less butter; selecting nonfat or low-calorie beverages such as water;
Try to include foods from all five major food groups each week, to ensure your child receives all of the vital nutrients for proper growth and development.
Fruit: Provide a range of fresh, canned, frozen and dried fruit as well as juice with minimal added sugar content. Dairy products (low-fat/nonfat milk/yogurt/cheese products/fortified soy beverages). Vegetables: Choose fresh or canned/frozen/dried vegetables such as peas and beans as well as colourful varieties like vegetables for serving alongside whole grain accompaniments.
Make dinnertime exciting for children by serving food they will appreciate. If a recipe calls for chicken fingers with spaghetti and carrot sticks, spice up their dinnertime by topping each chicken finger with crunchy coconut breading and serving it alongside their favorite dipping sauce.
Limit Junk Food
Many packaged, processed foods contain excessive sugars and fats while being devoid of essential vitamins and nutrients. By eliminating such items from mealtimes, your children will learn to make healthier decisions that will benefit their body, emotional well-being, and their future as adults.
Be patient when working with picky eaters and encourage them to try new foods by allowing them to choose their own produce from the grocery store and prepare it at home. Introduce one new food at a time, making each new taste intriguing by cutting fruits and veggies into fun shapes or creating collages using them (broccoli florets for trees, cauliflower clouds and yellow squash suns are perfect examples of collaged veggies!). Furthermore, consider pairing their favorite food such as cheese or meat with their newly selected vegetable to increase acceptance of new tastes!
When it comes to snacking, have your children prepare nutritious snacks for the family and set limits on how often they can fill their plates between meals. Instead of chips and cookies, opt for whole grain crackers, banana chips or plantain chips with hummus or guacamole instead; limit juice consumption instead opt for water or fortified milk as beverages of choice.
First and foremost, make an effort to eat healthily yourself. Children learn by watching what their parents eat; your food choices have an enormous effect on what theirs might become. Model making wise food decisions in front of your kids so that they are more likely to adopt the same ones; encourage family dining at the table together so your children see that nutritious food can still be enjoyable and satisfying; this will promote socialization at mealtimes – essential for mental and emotional health and possible protection against overeating and obesity among young people.