Healthy eating is essential for early childhood development. It will give your child the much-needed energy for daily activities both at home and in school. To underscore the importance of childhood nutrition, studies have linked a well-balanced diet to good academic performance.
Whether you’re preparing dinner at home or a packed lunch for school, it pays to pay attention to the ingredients you use. Help your child excel in their studies and pave the way for healthy eating habits later in life by feeding them nutritious meals and snacks while they’re still young.
Here’s a list of some nutrient-rich recipes you can prepare:
Yogurt is one of those foods that’s good for you in general, but it’s an especially great choice for kids. Yogurt is rich in protein and calcium, which children need to grow strong and healthy bones. Yogurt contains live bacteria, which helps the digestive system. Most yogurts marketed for kids are rich in sugar, so stick to plain, full-fat yogurt. Add fresh fruits and honey to sweeten it and up the nutrient value.
Cookies are another food option that may not sound healthy on the get-go. However, with the right ingredients, you can make it so.
One way is to use bananas instead of sugar to make banana cookies. These cookies are an enjoyable treat, even without the excess sugar. To up the nutrition value, you can also swap out the butter for applesauce, which reduces the amount of saturated fat. Add some rolled oats to give your kids more fibre in their diets. Like other cookies, these healthy choices also go well with milk. Serve them with low-fat milk to give your kids a more balanced snack.
At first glance, popcorn may not be most people’s idea of a healthy food choice for kids. The truth is that popcorn is a nutritious whole grain, so it’s a healthy pick as long as you lay off on the unhealthy toppings.
Popcorn contains 4 grams of fibre per 3-cup serving, making it a filling snack as well. Air-pop the corn kernels yourself and drizzle them with just a little butter for a more wholesome eating experience. Popcorn is a versatile food and goes well with other toppings, like grated cheese, cinnamon, and nutritional yeast.
Children go nuts for popsicles, especially when it’s hot and they need a cool treat to beat the heat. Most store-bought popsicles are saturated in artificial flavours, refined sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup, but you can make healthier substitutes easily.
Puree frozen berries, and a little fruit juice in a blender. Pour the mixture into popsicle moulds or small plastic cups. Cover the moulds with foil and insert a popsicle stick through it foil. Freeze the popsicles overnight and enjoy the next day. Citrus fruits like oranges are an especially great pick. They’re rich in vitamin C, which is great for boosting the immune systems. For an extra helping of calcium, add nonfat yogurt.
Dairy products, like cheese, are rich in protein and calcium, just what a growing body needs. Full-fat dairy foods contribute a large part to a child’s normal nutritional requirements, so add a little more dairy to your kid’s diet.
The protein in dairy products also helps your kids feel full between meals, making cheese a great pick for snack time. Children need plenty of energy for any after-school activities, and cheese can give them the kick they need to get into extracurriculars with gusto. Pair cheese snacks with other nutritious picks like apple slices and carrot sticks for added nutrients. Cottage cheese, in particular, is a child-friendly option. Known for being extremely soft and creamy, it’s an excellent option for kids still learning how to eat solid food.
6.Veggie pita pockets
We understand that it can be a struggle to get kids to eat vegetables. However, it’s not impossible. In fact, kids’ healthy eating habits can be spurred on with a little effort to make eating vegetables fun.
For starters, give your child some control over their choice of vegetables the next time you have dinner. The dish for the job? Pita pockets. It’s a versatile recipe you can fill with whatever ingredients you like and complements whatever vegetable your child picks. To make pita pockets, spread some hummus on a piece of pita bread. Then add sliced or diced pieces of the chosen vegetable.
Eggs are a staple for breakfast. Rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins (like B12), they are an essential source of nutrients for proper growth. They’re also a great source of choline, a vitamin necessary for proper brain development.
While you can prepare eggs any way you want, hard-boiled eggs are a more versatile option. Unpeeled, it’s easier to store them in the fridge compared to scrambled or fried eggs. Stock a few pieces, and you have the perfect on-the-go snacks to fill your kids up when they’re feeling peckish.
Homemade pizzas are much like sandwiches; they’re both versatile foods you can load with whatever ingredients you like. Pizzas are an excellent vehicle for a number of nutritious foods like olives, sliced peppers, pineapples, and ham. With these options, you can come up with healthy pizza recipes the whole family can enjoy.
You don’t have to start from scratch to create this beloved dish. English muffins can pull double duty as tiny pizzas, or you can find pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough. Let your kids pick their favourite toppings to make meals more interactive while demonstrating that healthy eating can be fun.
9.Oven-baked almond fish sticks
Fish is not only an excellent source of protein but also of omega-3 fatty acids. These are good fats that do wonders for the heart, brain, and lungs.
While there are a variety of methods for preparing fish, you can take it to the next level — nutrient-wise — by mixing it up with other healthy foods like almonds and bran flakes, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To prepare, use crushed almonds and bran flakes as a substitute for breadcrumbs when making homemade fish sticks. Instead of frying this dish in oil, bake it instead for a much healthier meal.
Beyond providing your child with healthier meal and snack options, these recipes will give you and your family the opportunity to bond. If your child is culinarily-inclined, try making these snacks together. Cooking teaches great life skills and helps build healthy eating habits for kids to take with them as they grow older, boosting their development along the way.
Parents are the main caregivers for their children. Sunrise Montessori complements the attention and care you give them at home with the education they receive in our school. We work closely with you to teach your child essential life skills at an early age and help them become well-rounded adults.
Whether your child is going back to school or just about to start, call us now at (905) 477-2833 for inquiries or to discuss how we can meet all your child’s needs.