Healthy nutrition for children is more important than ever. Parents are usually aware of this, but it is difficult to put it into practice.
As is well known, most kids like sweets and prefer chips, burgers and co. as their main course instead of vegetable pan and salad.
Since the little ones are less and less active today due to computers and smartphones, the importance of healthy child nutrition is even greater than ever.
You are what you eat – it is now assumed that many more diseases are due to diet than was previously assumed. And as parents you are responsible for your offspring. This is why it is so important to set the course right from the start and lay the foundations for a healthy diet in childhood. But what can a good infant nutrition plan look like? And: does healthy nutrition also work in kindergarten?
Healthy nutrition for children: Parents as role models
One should not forget with this whole topic that parents are very important role models for their children. If parents feed mainly on unhealthy food, it is not surprising that their children do the same. That is why parents should set a good example when it comes to healthy child nutrition. It is a matter of course for the child to eat a healthy diet. The fact that it tries later times, when it becomes older, with its friends this and that completely unhealthy meal, cannot be prevented anyway. But at least the foundations have been laid.
What does healthy eating actually mean for children?
Exactly the same as for adults: lots of vegetables and fruit in combination with little fat and sugar, plus high-quality carbohydrates from wholemeal products, pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans), nuts, seeds and rice as well as potatoes. Healthy eating in children is often so difficult because experience has shown that children are very licky and prefer sweets. Many parents are almost desperate when their offspring simply reject everything that seems healthy. But there are also some possibilities to get the child on his vitamin ration during the day.
Meat does not necessarily have to be on the menu of children, by the way. Quite the opposite: According to today’s knowledge, it is even healthier to avoid meat and processed meat products if it is ensured that the child otherwise has a varied diet. There are no nutrients that are not also present in a plant diet. Salami, ham, schnitzel and bear sausage can therefore be safely omitted.
- If the child does not eat fish either, care should be taken to ensure that it receives the important omega-3 fatty acids from hemp or linseed oil, but this is not a problem either.
- Lentils and legumes, like some other vegetable foods, are even significantly richer in iron than meat.
- Often the prejudice prevails that everything that is healthy does not taste good. But that’s not true, because children love fruit and vegetables, you only have to serve them visually appealing.
Fat and sugar traps
The problem with today’s diet is almost always too much sugar and fat. Frighteningly many children are overweight – an important reason for healthy eating in childhood, because obesity is a risk factor for many other diseases. In addition, overweight children often have a hard time getting rid of the pounds they weigh too much as adults.
Therefore, the consumption of sugar and fat should be reduced as much as possible. This is, of course, easier said than done with children. Nevertheless, many things are just a matter of getting used to. It does not always have to be industrial sugar! Bananas are also sweet. With a little unsweetened cocoa powder you can conjure up a delicious chocolate dish. Children love fruit – you just have to offer it to them again and again. In general, everything that is sugared should be on the table as seldom as possible. A look at the list of ingredients often helps if it is a finished product.
As far as fats are concerned, hardened fats are as unfavourable as animal fats (except omega 3 in fish). Unfortunately, we take far too much of it to ourselves. Recommended fats are – if at all – only cold-pressed vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, linseed oil and olive oil and these should also be used sparingly. A lot of fat is hidden in cheese and sausage. Instead of the cream sauce you should rather serve a tomato sauce, which almost all kids like anyway.
Fast Food no thank you – better serve freshly cooked food
It goes without saying that fast food should only be on the programme of the little ones in exceptional cases. Healthy nutrition for children means freshly boiled food and not chips or chicken Mc nuggets, even if they taste good. The rule here is clear: exceptions are the rule!
The best food is always freshly boiled and that doesn’t have to take long. Even in 15 minutes, healthy children’s dishes can be on the table:
- Wholemeal noodles with various (vegetable) sauces, for example, which are puréed so well that the vegetables are no longer recognizable.
- It can also be helpful, by the way, to prepare the food together with the kids when there is enough time. Then it’s much better to eat it.
- Smoothies and homemade ice cream
Admittedly, it is often difficult to put healthy children’s dishes on the table or, if you are working, to implement a healthy diet for the children. Nevertheless, there are a few tricks and tips on how to get the little ones on their nutrient rations.
For example in the form of smoothies. If they are nice and colourful and taste sweet, they are usually enjoyed as well. A certain degree of sweetness is achieved by adding a banana. In addition, there are other high-quality ingredients such as nut muse and other fruit – a real vitamin bomb is already available to the offspring.