Overview Of The Best Food Groups For Kids

food groupsAlmost everyone has heard about the different food groups that should be used when creating meals every day. There are actually six different food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, oils, dairy and protein foods. Oils are the only food group that is not absolutely necessary for the development of children. Therefore, when looking at the five food groups that remain, by creating meals that use an assortment of these ingredients on a regular basis, you can provide your body with the nutrition that it needs, allowing you, and your children, to stay healthy. The best food groups for kids will be presented in this article, specifically targeting which food groups are the most important to ensure a child’s healthy development.

Proteins And Kids

One of the most important food groups, especially for children that are growing and developing so quickly, is the protein food group. As your child grows, they will need amino acids, the very building blocks of the cells of the body, in continual supply. Proteins are important for not only building the cells in your body, but also renewing your tissues and cells on a regular basis. With their metabolism running so high, cell division is at its highest, requiring large amounts of protein every day. Therefore, it’s important to include chicken, beef, fish and eggs on a regular basis, as well as vegetables such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans.

Milk And Dairy

This is another very important food groups for children as they are growing up. Milk not only contains calcium which is necessary for proper bone growth, but it also has protein that your child’s body will need. Health experts have stated for decades the importance of providing your child with milk as they grow and develop from an early age. There are some children that are lactose intolerant, which means you may want to substitute milk for almond milk, or soy milk, both of which provide protein, as well as other important ingredients including omega-3 fatty acids, an essential part to your child’s development.

Why Grains Are So Important

Finally, grains are extremely important for your child’s development, specifically in regard to the fiber that they provide. Fiber is important for not only the processing of food, but also the dispersal of glucose into the bloodstream. The more fiber that is eaten with each meal, the slower the food will digest. This will help in the prevention of diseases such as type II diabetes which is the result of too much glucose all at once. The combination of these factors makes fiber a top contender for being one of the most important food groups for kids today.

The remaining food groups, which include vegetables and fruits, are also extremely important. Vegetables provide fiber and nutrients that the body needs, and fruits can give your child the natural sugar that is necessary for functioning and proper development. The combination of using all five of these food groups in their meals throughout the week will ensure that your little boy or girl will have the nutrients necessary to grow and develop everyday.

Fun And Interactive Nutrition Games For Kids

gamesWhen you have a small family, it’s always good to spend time together, doing fun filled activities that gets everyone involved. You might do hikes out in the wilderness, going to new and beautiful locations that will create fantastic memories, and keep everyone healthy. In regard to your family’s health, it is also important to plan meals together that will be both nutritious and delicious to eat. One way that you can interact with your family, especially if you have younger children, is to play fun and interactive nutrition games for kids. Let’s look at a few of the best games out there that will not only bring the family together, but educate your children on how important it is to eat healthy food every day.

Food Group Games At Home

The foundation from which all meals are planned is to understand the different food groups. There are actually six different food groups which include proteins, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, fats and carbohydrates. By creating different meals with each of the food groups, your children can learn what each different part of the food groups represents. For instance, you can add fruit, fats, and carbohydrates for one meal, explaining that they provide fiber, natural sugar, and non-saturated fats that we need to eat to stay healthy. Your kids can choose the food groups that they want for each meal, and then find recipes that reflect their decisions.

Recipe Matching Games

If you have a couple hundred recipes printed out, you can have your kids play a matching game. Create multiple cards for each food group, color coding each one. Take each recipe, read off the ingredients, and have your kids raise the food group card that represents each part of the recipe. For example, if you are preparing a lunch that has French dip and applesauce, your kids would raise their protein and carbohydrate cards to show that they understand what that meal represents. By doing this on a regular basis, your kids will start to associate the food groups with the different recipes that you prepare. This is a great way to get them to become more health-conscious about the foods that they eat everyday.

Nutrition Games For Kids Online

Finally, in this digital age that we live in, where our children are constantly participating with online games, you can find websites that are dedicated to teaching kids about the importance of nutrition. There are websites that have interactive games where they can play with other kids at the same time. They even have sudoku matching games that will help them remember what different types of food will do for your body. Using the Internet, and your computer, to your advantage with these special healthy websites for kids, you can educate your children about the benefits of eating healthy using games that are nutritious from the internet.

Whether you decide to help your kids understand more about the value of eating nutritious food from your home by cooking together, playing games together, or letting them interact on websites and games online, this will help your kids understand how important it is to eat healthy foods every day, a habit that will stay with them the rest of their life.

Healthy Kids Snacks To Keep On Hand

snacksKids are notoriously hard to please when it comes to food, especially when it comes to healthy food. Show them a plate of healthy veggies and they tend to scream and run the other way. Healthy kids snacks are important at this age because this is the time that your child’s body is growing and developing. Filling it up with junk food can harm their growth. While your child may be begging for junk food, read on to discover some snacks they will love and are good for them too.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is not only super healthy, but it tastes amazing. Your child will be begging for more at the first bite. You can either buy trail mix at the store or make it yourself. Look for a mix that is high in nuts and dried fruit. It’s fine to buy trail mix that has chocolate in it as well, but make sure it isn’t a major component of the mix.

Cheese

Cheese is one of the best snacks that are healthy because it is high in protein and calcium, two things growing bodies need. The protein will give them energy so they don’t crash in the afternoon and the calcium builds their bones. Go beyond the basic cheese cubes and use cookie cutters to cut the cheese into fun shapes.

Peanut Butter

The sweet, nutty taste of peanut butter is a taste most kids just can’t resist. Thankfully it is healthy too. Peanut butter is full of fiber and protein. It is filling too, which is a big plus when you have kids. Spread it on healthy crackers or make it into a sandwich. You can even pair it with cheese or carrots. Any way you serve it, peanut butter is always a hit.

Fruit

Always keep fruit on hand if you have kids. Fruit is sweet, appealing to kids, and one of the healthiest things you can eat. Fruit is full of vitamins and other nutrients, and you can feel good letting them eat as much of it as they want. If you want to make fruit even healthier, dip it in yogurt or pair it with cheese or peanut butter. You can even freeze slices of watermelon or grapes and eat them like popsicles when the weather is hot. Dried fruit makes a great snack as well.

Applesauce

Applesauce is not only portable, but it is healthy and it tastes good. Applesauce is an easy way to get your child to eat fruit. Stick to low-sugar varieties if you can. Applesauce is full of fiber and vitamins and you can mix other healthy ingredients in it like raisins and nuts. Add some cinnamon to it for extra flavor. It also freezes well and makes a tasty frozen snack.

Healthy kids snacks are good for your child and good for your wallet. Healthy foods tend to cost less than their overly processed counterparts. Do something good for your child and stock your kitchen with these healthy snacks.