Healthy Meal Ideas for Children

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Obese children are more likely to encounter adult medical issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and sleep apnea are among the ailments most commonly associated with childhood obesity. Healthy eating is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Providing healthy meals for your child can help teach him to make healthy choices as a teen and adult.

Breakfast

Skipping breakfast can have a negative impact on a child’s academic performance as well as her memory, reports the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” in a May 2005 edition. Choosing healthy foods at breakfast will give your child the mental boost needed to get through the day.

A bagel split in half and spread with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of raisins or a layer of banana is a nutritious, on-the-go breakfast idea. Add a small glass or carton of milk and you have a well-rounded meal.

You can make a healthy breakfast shake is by combining 1/2 cup fruit yogurt, a small bit of vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of milk. You can add fresh fruit to give it some texture. Toss in some ice cubes for chilling and blend until you get the desired consistency. This meal provides protein as well as valuable vitamins and minerals. Serve it with a slice of whole grain toast or bread to make a well-balanced meal.

Lunch

A fun and colorful lunch idea is a baggie filled with cut-up colored peppers, carrots and cucumbers. Accompany it with some low-fat dipping sauce, such as ranch, and watch the children munch their way through it. Add a glass of milk and a fresh apple and the meal is complete.

Another meal that is healthy is a wrap lunch. Incorporate turkey, cheese, lettuce and sauce. A variation on the adult wrap is to make it more kid friendly by spreading peanut butter and layered bananas on the wrap and then rolling it up. Add some sliced carrots on the side and a cup of milk, and your child has a healthy lunch.

Dinner

Getting enough vegetables into your child’s daily diet can be tricky, but there are ways to get the job done. Finely shred zucchini and carrots together, and hide them in tomato sauce that goes over homemade pizza on a whole wheat pizza crust. Top the crust with low-fat cheese and some sliced meat.

Making a fun cheese and vegetable plate for dinner can create an eating game. Incorporate your child’s favorite dipping sauce, and put the entire tray on the table. Your child will enjoy eating, dipping and acting like a grown-up without realizing how many nutrients she is consuming. Couple it with milk, a small dish of applesauce and a slice of whole grain bread, and your dinner is complete. Vegetables can also be hidden in meatloaf if you shred them before adding them.

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