Planning Nutritional Meals for Your Children Family
We grow up; meet someone special, get married and the bigger changes begin. We decide that we would like to have a family, start having children. Of course we all want to do the very best in raising our children and a big part of that commitment is in keeping them healthy, feeding them properly for optimum health. Even if we ourselves may be junk food junkies, we always want better for our children.
We first have to know what the best healthy foods that children will love are. After all, we all know that if children “think” something is healthy for them, they will not want to even try it. Providing the best healthy menu for them may sometimes involve a little “camouflage” to make those healthy foods more appealing to them. Some of the best choices you can offer your children are fruits & vegetables (such as carrot sticks, oranges, melons, and strawberries), lean meats such as chicken, low fat hamburger and hot dogs, whole grain cereals with little sugar such as cheerios and Wheaties, low fat chips, air popped pop corn, whole grain crackers . . . and more. There are so many healthy choices that we can make, and the children do not have to know anything more than how “tasty” they are.
The optimum way to provide the best, nutritionally, for your children, is to incorporate a healthy eating plan for the whole family. Up to the age of 2, infants are provided the necessary nutrients through their infant foods and/or formula, graduating to whole milk. Into their toddler stage is when we can change them to low-fat and skim milk, along with some small finger foods such as the whole grain low sugar cheerios, small bits of cut up chicken breast, skinless low fat hot dogs, cooked carrot pieces, small cut up pieces of soft fruits and other cooked veggies. Their eating habits are totally in our hands at this point until they become of school age and are introduced to other choices through their friends who are used to more unhealthy choices themselves . . . in their homes.
As children get older, how can we still provide them the best food choices when they seem to turn up their noses at the dinner table? Never give up offering the right fruits and vegetables, low fat meat choices, and whole grain products that contain little sugar. Also be sure they get their ample servings of milk, at least 2 – 3 cups per day for optimal calcium they need for strong bones and teeth. A Chewable vitamin is always a good idea to be sure they are getting all the necessary supplements needed as they grow. In preparing the foods for the family, include all the proper food groups at a meal and your child will learn to eat what the whole family eats. Sometimes we have to add some imagination to our meals to make a particular food a little more appetizing to our little people. For instance, steamed broccoli with butter may not be as appetizing to them as sprucing it up with a sauce made up of a creamy low fat soup, topped with a low fat cheese. The possibilities are endless, they never have to know their meat choices are low fat or their grains are whole grains. Experiment to find some of the best healthy recipe’s to serve the entire family which can definitely include low sugar, low fat desserts, and no one but you will ever know the true facts except how delicious and “healthy” your meals are. It, of course, does not mean you cannot treat yourselves to an occasional meal out, just keep it healthy at home to compensate for that infrequent fast food rendezvous.
Now that we have covered the extent of a nutritional menu plan for the lives of our children . . . and the whole family, what else can we do to provide the best healthy family environment? In this day and age, our children are used to the old “remote” control, computer and its games, and various types of video games. We need to get them to be a little more active than just in their fingers with those remotes. Physical fitness is important, such as sports outside with friends, riding bikes, swimming and other outdoor activities. We as responsible parents should require at least a couple hours of this type of activity each and every day. Besides those natural choices, they do provide some better videos games these days that incorporate some required physical activities, such as the various WII games and if the children need to be indoors, this is the next best choice . . . or in addition to their outdoor play. We are responsible for the health and well being of our kids, especially during their young and impressionable years, so let us provide what is of utmost important, and it is certainly to our benefit to be a healthy family . . . together.