All over the world today, many children are missing out on a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, there are some children whose families are unable to provide healthy foods.
In too many instances, however, there are MANY other families who don’t realize that the foods they are providing to their kids are unhealthy...
It is quite often a challenge for some families to even want to create a healthy diet for their children as their children may be fussy eaters or parents may feel they are TOO BUSY to prepare a home-cooked meal.
Besides, there are so many READILY AVAILABLE PROCESSED FOODS in the marketplace that pacifies their fussy eaters and EVEN save them time.
It is not uncommon too to find picky kids who happily show their DISLIKE for some foods, which often includes vegetables.
Hence, due to poor food choices, children are MISSING OUT on important nutrients that their bodies need for proper growth and body functioning.
Eating a lot and feeling full, DOESN’T MEAN the child has eaten the right foods to satisfy their nutritional needs.
If a healthy diet is NOT followed, vitamin and mineral may be COMPROMISED and supplementation may be necessary.
Many parents don’t even know their children are lacking in important vitamins and minerals.
A lack of knowledge on what foods do what for the body is one of the main reasons many children’s diets are inadequate.
For example, if your child ‘eats a lot’ but is always hungry, you should review the type of food they are eating.
PROTEIN and DIETARY FAT will make them feel full for longer and the energy will be released at a steady, useable rate.
If the child consumed foods that are largely sugar-based carbs, i.e. cookies or sweet artificial juices, they will continually be looking for more.
They will also display more behavioral problems as a result of blood sugar swings affecting their emotions.
Before your child becomes addicted to a high-carb, processed food, and soft drink diet, you will have to device a WEANING PROCESS to steadily incorporate healthier foods into their plate.
Otherwise, sudden deprivation may cause resistance and even tantrums that will weaken your resolve to make wise choices for your child.
So what food choices for a healthy diet are RECOMMENDED for children and what can you do as parents to tempt your fussy eaters to eat healthy foods?
Kids love sweets. But where possible, offer NATURALLY SWEET HEALTHY FOODS such as FRUITS, rather than cookies or packet treats.
You can for example also add a little bit of honey to sweeten some dishes, which will make them more appealing to kids – yes, there’s sweetness added, but if they eat their honey carrots rather than no vegetables at all, that’s already a WIN.
CARBOHYDRATES do not have to be eliminated from the diet as they are a SOURCE OF ENERGY.
However, LIMIT the amount of foods that are REFINED CARBOHYDRATE-RICH, such as found in bread, cereals, biscuits, cookies, and instant noodles.
These are full of processed flour which is NOT GOOD FOR HEALTH.
There are plenty of healthy carbs out there, so choose the foods that will give your child vital energy and not contribute to excessive weight gain.
PROTEINS are very important.
Make sure your children eat plenty of protein-rich foods, such as MEATS, EGGS, and CHEESE. They fill them up and taste great!
MILK and another all-time favorite for kids is YOGURT (best to choose the original and unsweetened version).
These protein foods are rich in CALCIUM and other nutrients that are important for growth and development.
If you must provide desserts, make them with REAL FRUITS and NOT from canned fruits laden with sugary syrup.
Examples are strawberries or oranges. These are healthy carb foods that will provide them energy, essential nutrients and vitamins and boost up their immune system.
Remember: Bad habits are hard to break and eating sweets every day is not a healthy choice.
So minimize exposing your children to too much artificial sweets.
As parents, it is our responsibility to make wise food choices on behalf of our children.
It is unfair to allow them to take easy, tasty choices all the time as they will suffer for it later – and we only want THE BEST for them even when we are long gone.
At the end of the day, we can always take control and feed their mind positively, while feeding them a healthy diet.
Alex Saroca is the founder of Tabachoy Academy. He is a general physician by profession, an author, a blogger, and an entrepreneur. He is on a mission to educate and make Filipinos realize - especially those with overweight, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes - that lifestyle modification is still more powerful than any drug in preventing heart disease, treating heart disease, and improving one's physical state and longevity.