We all want our kids to grow up to become happy and successful. Our kids will soon be part of the smartest generation yet! (apart from ours that is) But in order to do that, we first need to make sure that they get the right kind of nutrition so that they can give their best in everything that they do. All it takes is to prepare a well-balanced diet 3-4 times every day. As easy as that sounds, it is a Herculean task to get our kids to actually eat that stuff that’s good for them.
These days, there is so much that is expected of us as parents that it all gets stressful sometimes. Is your child getting enough calcium? Are they drinking milk every day? Does your child eat all his vegetables? How can you allow your child to eat chocolates? Sigh. We only try our best, don’t we? We all want to give the best of the best to our kids, especially when it comes to nutrition. But when most of us have picky eaters at home, how do we make sure they eat enough? Don’t worry, just feed them whatever they like to eat, but include the following in their meals:
1. Brightly Coloured Fruits and Vegetables
This includes not only your green leafy vegetables but also your bright red tomatoes, orange pumpkins, yellow, green and red bell peppers, bright yellow bananas, orange carrots, and yellow lemons. All these colourful fruits and veggies not only look appealing to the eyes but also contain a number of vital nutrients like vitamins, lycopene and potassium. They help with bone and muscle development and can improve eye health. It also helps build immunity, maintains pH balance, and helps flush out toxins. So, give them 2 bowls of salad every day, aside from their regular meals to ensure that they get their daily share of these amazing nutrients.
Pro Tip: Make the food look and smell appetizing - there is no reason for them to not want to try it then.
2. Vegetarian Protein Options
If your child does not eat meat in any form (poultry, fish or red meat), then you may have tried giving them paneer - the Indian alternative for protein. Apart from paneer, you could even try tofu (a purely vegan form of paneer) to pack up on protein. Another excellent source of protein is quinoa. Quinoa is a hit amongst kids. It has a very mild flavour and has a crunchy texture. You could boil it and add it to your salads, fried rice or any dish that they would like and they would be consuming something super healthy without knowing it!
3. Dry Fruits and Nuts
Another great way to pack up on essential nutrients like omega fatty acids is by consuming dry fruits and nuts. This includes dates, raisins, almonds, cashews, figs, pistachios, and dried apricots. Did you know that it also serves as a great way to cash in on calcium? If your child doesn’t like eating them as they are, you could try adding them in a dish they like - carrot halwa with almonds, cashews and raisins, breakfast cereal with a few dry fruits, nuts and fresh fruit or even a homemade cake infused with dry fruit.
4. Rolled Oats
A great alternative for those sweetened breakfast cereals that your kids love is oatmeal! It has no artificial flavours or sweeteners making it a safer and healthier breakfast option. You could serve it with a bit of milk or yoghurt and mix in some fruits and a drizzle of honey to make it more fun. You could even grind the rolled oats into a powder and add them to a fruit smoothie or perhaps include the powdered oats in your cake recipe.
5. Cooked Eggs
Eggs are not only a great source of protein but also a wide range of vitamins including vitamin D. This is great for kids who don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight every day. This can harm the growth of your child. So, make it a point to serve up one egg every day to your kid in any way that they like - boiled, poached, scrambled. You could mix it up a little bit every day.