When you send your children to preschool or daycare, you want to make sure they’re getting the best care, and healthy meals are an important part of quality childcare. Eating the right foods is always important, but it’s particularly essential for the growing, developing bodies of children. When kids eat nutritious foods, they not only enjoy better health, they are better equipped to learn.
Essential Vitamins for Kids
Healthy meals for kids should focus on ensuring they get essential vitamins, including:
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is essential for brain function and healthy immune function.
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is important for a healthy immune system, growth, and development.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D is essential for bone development, so a vitamin D deficiency can result in growth problems. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, but getting kids outside in the sunlight can help ensure they get plenty of this vitamin from sunlight exposure.
- B Vitamins – B vitamins are essential for stress management, brain function, and energy.
Eating the Rainbow
The best way to make sure that toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children are getting the nutrients they need from their food is to make sure they eat the rainbow. Their meals should include plenty of colors, including natural greens, reds, purples, yellows, blues, and oranges. Kids should eat plenty of brightly colored veggies and fruits, such as dark leafy greens, beets, blueberries, mangos, citrus fruits, pumpkin, carrots, raspberries, watermelon, and eggplant. Getting kids out into the garden to learn to grow and harvest these foods is an excellent way to ensure they want to eat healthy fruits and veggies.
Avoiding Trans Fats
While healthy fats, like omega 3s, are great for children, it’s important to avoid giving children meals that include trans fats. These fats are often found in processed desserts and snacks. Trans fatty acids lower good cholesterol and raise bad cholesterol, which can raise the risk of heart disease. A heart healthy diet is important, even when children are young.
Powerful Foods for Kids
When children eat meals and snacks, it’s important to introduce foods that are packed with nutrients. Here’s a look at some powerful, healthy foods that should be a part of your child’s diet.
- Eggs – Eggs are a power food because they offer protein, iron, and vitamin A.
- Berries – Berries are packed with antioxidants and they also include plenty of fiber.
- Yogurt – Yogurt offers both probiotics and calcium, which is important for bone development.
- Nuts – Nuts provide healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, and specific nuts have their own unique nutritional advantages.
Ensuring that kids eat nutritious meals helps keep them healthy, but it also boosts learning by boosting brainpower. Make sure your children are eating healthy meals, both at home and while they are at their childcare provider.