Nutrition: Healthy Eating for Kids

Escape The Fast Food Trap: Nourishing Kids The Easy Way

When busy parents come home to a house full of finicky, hungry children, the local drive-through window may offer a tempting way to get dinner on the table. Yet soothing the restless natives with junk food comes with a hefty price tag. Convenience foods have inflated levels of processed sugars, carbohydrates, preservatives, and sodium – all of which are a recipe for nutritional disaster. A diet high in fast foods has been linked to childhood obesity, learning difficulties, behavioral issues, and worse. Health conscious parents can avoid these pitfalls by learning handy strategies that add up to delicious, nourishing meals that are ready in a flash. With a few of these tricks up your sleeve, every dinner can become a truly “happy meal.”

Swap Fast Food For Portable Pleasures

Kids love finger food, but that’s no reason to limit them to pizza and burgers. Pita pockets, rice paper rolls, and tortillas offer much lighter ways to transform any meal into a hand held feast. Pitas and tortillas are great blank canvases. Set out an assembly line of healthy options like greens, cucumbers, beets, corn, and salsa- and let your kids get creative. These ingredients are loaded with flavor, low in calories and packed with nutrition like B vitamins, lycopene, and iron. Add a protein like grilled chicken or tofu, and supply favor infusing condiments like salad dressings. These nutrition-packed power pockets will become a weeknight staple and kid favorite. For lightning fast dinners, pre-cook a large batch of chicken at the beginning of the week and cut it into strips. Your nightly meal preparation will consist of merely opening the refrigerator and chopping some veggies. Now that’s the ultimate fast food for kids and busy parents!

Make Breakfast A Priority

The nutrition your kids get from their morning meal can set the tone for the whole day. You simply cannot rely on school lunches to be healthy, or trust your children to actually consume what’s in a bagged lunch. Therefore, it is twice as important to feed kids well before they embark on a busy day of learning and play. Rather than sugar-laden toaster pastries or cereal, offer simple, nutrition packed options. A morning meal of apple and banana slices topped with almond butter is quick, and overflowing with antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and protein. Keeping a bowl of hard boiled eggs handy provides instant access to more lean protein that kids can grab on the go. When an extra energy boost is called for, make a smoothie with creamy almond or coconut milk, hemp protein powder, berries, a banana, a handful of greens (your kids won’t even taste them) and fruit juice. As far as children are concerned, it’s as decadently delicious as a milkshake. Yet nutrition experts would agree that this concoction packs a seriously nourishing punch.

Making nutritious food fast and delicious is simply a matter of good planning and good taste. What’s more, showing love via healthy cooking is good food for both body and soul. Escape the fast food trap and live deliciously.