There are many different types of healthy food for kids. Most people think young children will only accept the classic toddler diet of macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, french fries and hot dogs. In reality though, it is important to offer a wide variety of foods including all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, dairy and meat. This will ensure the foods kids love will be nutritious, healthy food.
Although many children will go through food jags or be picky eaters, by offering a wide variety of healthy food for kids you can be sure your child will eventually have a well balanced diet. Just remember you need to be persistent. A child needs to be exposed to a food 15 to 20 times to decide if they like a food or not. Therefore, if a child complains about those Brussels sprouts the first time they eat them, they still need to try them 14 more times!
In general it is the parent’s responsibility to decide what and when to offer food and the child decides if and how much they want to eat. Therefore, if you do not want your child eating the stereotypical junk food diet, don’t offer it to them! Instead offer healthy, wholesome foods you want them to eat. If they get hungry enough, healthy kids will eat what they are given. (Please note this article is geared towards healthy children. The same rules do not apply to a child with reflux or one who is often sick or doesn’t feel hunger). Foods kids love include baby carrots and hummus as well as cookies and chips, so don't be afraid to offer them good food.
When following these rules you as the parent need to be able to relax and trust your child. It means if she decides not to eat the broccoli on her plate, its ok. That’s up to her. If she doesn’t eat anything on her plate there’s no reason to panic, just don’t be a short order cook. Instead calmly tell her she can eat what’s for dinner, or she doesn’t need to eat at all. If the kids understand that they don’t have any other choices for dinner, they will eat what they are given once they are hungry enough.
Some healthy food for kids includes lentils, tofu, whole wheat pasta, chick peas and brown rice. More exotic grains such as barley, quinoa, and spelt may be tried for variety. Different types of vegetables such as Swiss chard, spaghetti squash and okra are great ones to prepare creatively and offer to your child. Types of fruit that kids love are kiwi, figs and mangos.
If you have a favorite recipe but don’t think your child will like it, try it! You may be surprised, and if she doesn’t like it remember to offer it 15-20 times.