Getting kids to eat a balanced meal is not an easy task. When it comes to vegetables and protein, that’s where the struggle can ensue. There are, however, several ways to ensure you’re supporting your little ones with eating a varied and balanced diet.
Here are some hacks to get your children to include all the food groups in their diet and create a balanced meal:
Protein comes in various forms and from different sources. No matter what your diet, there is always a way to incorporate it in. The most common sources of protein come from meat and fish, however, lentils, tofu, quinoa, and even broccoli are fantastic sources. If you find yourself struggling with protein intake, it is also a good idea to look into protein shakes for kids as an alternative. The main thing is to do your research and ensure the dietary supplements are safe and healthy for children to consume.
Usually, the greens are where the kids say no. The key to encouraging children to eat their vegetables is to find the ones they like. This process of trial and error is something every parent goes through and though it can be draining, it is worth it in the long run. Start off with vegetables such as corn, carrots, and peas – these tend to be winners. If you’re still struggling, potatoes (both white and sweet) tend to be versatile and you can cook them as you please. The most important thing to remember is that they’re getting 5 portions of their fruit and vegetables every day.
Fruit tends to be one of the easier things to get kids to eat. From bananas to apples, pears to pineapple and everything in between, variety is the main thing to keep in mind. If your child does not enjoy eating fruit, it is a good idea to combine this with something else. Combine fruit with yoghurt, blend it as a smoothie, or even try a dried fruit snack. The main thing to remember is to make sure there aren’t too many added sugars or extra ingredients.
When we think of grains, it is often in their raw form. Grains, however, can be incorporated in several ways. Breakfast cereal is a fantastic way to add some healthy grains to your children’s diets. There are also established ways which include incorporating pasta, bread, and even oats. The recommended amount for children is around 3 to 5 ounces of grains per day.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a balanced meal is ensuring children have enough water. This is not only restricted to their meals but also, throughout the day. Incorporating enough water can be tough but there are lots of tricks to include it in a child’s diet. If your child likes fruit juice, it’s a great way to include both fruit and water. Watering juice down, not only limits the amount of sugar they take in but helps achieve their water goals.
When cooking a meal, make sure you try to incorporate as many food groups as possible. Any that you miss out, you can then account for in following meals throughout the day. The most important thing to remember is to find out the foods they like and use these as much as possible. We hope these hacks helped!