A lot of the foods kids eat simply are not nutrient-rich and probably won’t sustain them throughout the day. Pizza, pasta, hot dogs, French fries, and chicken nuggets simply will not provide fuel for the entire day. If anything they give short bursts of energy and can result in a rather unpleasant “crash”. It is important for kids to have three balanced meals a day and (fairly) good snack options during the day. Here are some foods that will deliver the nutrients and energy growing kids need all day, every day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is doubly important for kids. A cornerstone of a good breakfast is the “incredible edible” egg. Eggs are a great source of lean protein plus they are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium. They are also a good source of choline, a vitamin-like substance that is vital for the creation of memory stem cells formed deep within the brain.
Speaking of breakfast, a terrific breakfast choice that will help kids feel fuller longer is oatmeal. Please use real rolled oats and avoid varieties like maple and brown sugar that have so many additives they destroy the benefits of the oats. Oatmeal is water soluble and packed with fiber, therefore it doesn’t dissolve quickly and give more of a “long release” of energy instead of a sudden burst. Pack oatmeal with fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries to add sweetness which creating a nutritional powerhouse.
When it comes to sandwiches switch over to whole grain or whole wheat bread for their health benefits and as sources of long-lasting energy. You can even consider honey wheat bread just look closely at the ingredients and nutritional information, especially the sugars! When it is dinnertime, transition over to brown and/or wild rice or even a mix of these with quinoa instead of plain white rice. These grains are full of goodness like fiber and proteins, so don’t overlook their importance. And as far as pizza goes, try making your own at home on a whole wheat/whole grain crust.
Dairy is critical for healthy development and it provides an important role in the body’s production of insulin. This insulin production can assist with long-lasting energy instead of spikes. Simply put, something like a cupcake causes insulin levels to hit a high mark that last a short while and drop just as rapidly. If insulin is released at a more “even flow”, energy levels last throughout the day. Low-fat milk is a great source of protein, vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorous. The same holds true for dairy products like cheese, which seems to be a staple for kids. Another great bonus is that a diet rich in low-fat dairy might prevent kids from obesity.
The most common nutritional deficiency in American kids is iron deficiency and one of the best sources of iron is lean beef. Even a minor iron deficiency can reduce cognitive functioning plus a lack of iron can lead to problems like anemia. As little as one ounce of lean beef per day can help the body better absorb iron from other sources plus beef is rich in zinc, which can improve memory functionality. So, steak and eggs with a glass of milk anyone?