Contrary to popular belief, children aren’t born picky eaters. In fact, they’re born to ‘accept the foods made available to them’. Toddler eating habits vary around the world, depending upon the types of foods that are available; Japanese children may eat more broiled fish or seafood, for example, while children in Brazil may eat more tropical fruits like papaya. What this tells us is that, as parents, we can influence our children’s eating habits, encouraging them to eat healthy meals that can help them to grow and develop.
Nutrients for Kids
As children are growing and developing, it’s important that they get the nutrition they need. Calcium and vitamin D are essential at this stage for bone health, while omega-3, which is often found in oily fish, is great for the brain, and for keeping those joints moving smoothly. Nutrients are so important at this time of life that the NHS also recommends that children aged between 6 months and 5 years are given a daily children’s supplement containing vitamins A, C, and D, alongside healthy and nutritious meals.
It’s very important to take the time to instil healthy eating habits in children while they are still young. Research shows that poor eating habits as children can increase the risk of obesity in later life, and that childhood overeating could potentially increase the risk of binge eating and other eating disorders.
Whipping up healthy meals for growing kids doesn’t have to be an unhappy parental experience. In fact, some slight modifications to classic kids' favourites will often do the trick. While we may think of pizza as being unhealthy, for example, cheese is an excellent source of calcium and can be included as part of a healthy diet. Simply swap out high fat meat toppings for veggies.
Chicken nuggets are another great example. Rather than buying battered and fried nuggets, why not make your own? It’s easy. Chop some fresh chicken into bite size chunks, dip into egg, and then lightly coat with breadcrumbs, crushed cereal, or even shredded coconut. Bake until thoroughly cooked – and watch them disappear!