While you can use nearly any food to fill your kid’s belly, some foods provide greater nutritional value than others, and as a result are commonly referred to as “super foods.” By filling your child’s mealtime plate with there offerings, you can likely increase his overall health and ensure that he has all the nutrients he needs to grow big and strong.
Balancing Food Intake
The most important factor to consider when planning your child’s food intake is balance. Don’t focus all your attention on one or two super-healthy foods and forget to provide your child with an assortment of other edible options. While you can make your child’s diet super food rich, you should not do so to the detriment of a balanced diet.
Hearty Whole Grain Benefits
Whole grains are a sizable class of super foods that can keep your child full and provide him with the energy he needs to perform well in school. Foods rich in whole grains, such as unrefined breads and whole grain cereals, take longer for the body to digest and, as a result, stick with your child longer. Foods in this group are also commonly fiber-rich, making them good for your growing child’s digestive tract.
Vegetables are a plate-filling food. Along with being generally nutritious and low in calories, many vegetables have added health values. Sweet potatoes, for example, are rich in an assortment of nutrients, including vitamin C, carotenoids, fiber, folate, carbohydrates and vitamin A. Broccoli is another vegetable that packs a powerful nutrition punch and is rich in nutrients, such as potassium, carotenoids, folate and fiber. Carrots have long been touted as beneficial to the eyes, as they too are rich in the eyesight-enhancing beta carotene, a member of the carotenoid family.
While you likely don’t want your child to eat a diet rich in fat, remember that some fats can be helpful. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, promote brain growth. Feed your kids foods rich in these fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and shrimp. These foods are much more nutritious than cheeseburgers or hot dogs and just as delicious.
Introducing a Picky Eater
Don’t let your child’s picky eating habits prevent you from filling your table with super foods. Instead, make introducing new foods into a game by rewarding your child with stickers for each new food he eats, or selecting a food to feature each week and fixing it in different ways to increase the likelihood that you find a preparation method that she will eat.