As most of you know, children are notoriously fussy eaters. However, there are ways to insure that your child is consuming a healthy diet despite what they might think. Many of the foods that your child already loves are healthful and nutrient-dense. All it takes is a little knowledge to make some informed choices and your child will be flourishing. Here are some examples of typical kids' foods that actually pack quite the nutritional punch_
1. American cheese: Kids love the color and the feel of this food, but there's a lot for you to love about it too. American cheese provides both calcium and protein, which is vital to their bone and muscle growth, as well as skin and tissue repair.
2. Chocolate milk:Milk is another excellent example of a good source of calcium and protein, as well as many other vital nutrients. Children need at least 2 cups of milk each day to meet their needs. While that may be hard to do with plain, white milk, studies show that by flavoring their milk, not only is consumption increased, but the tendency for kids to drink sugar-laden soft drinks and juices is reduced.
3. Breakfast cereals: While there are many breakfast cereals on the market that have little-to-no nutritional value and tons of sugar, there are brands that are quite healthy. Kids love cereal because it's bite-sized and crunchy, and if you choose the brands with the most amount of fiber and whole grains, they'll be getting a lot more nutrition than they'll ever realize. A high-fiber cereal means that a lot of nutrients are still intact and have not been stripped away during processing. Most cereals are also fortified with B-vitamins, important for a healthy immune system.
4. Yogurt: Another calcium and protein source, yogurt also contains natural, beneficial bacteria that are important for normal gut functioning and integrity. This helps to keep away the tummy aches. You can find yogurts in a wide array of kid-friendly colors and flavors.
5. Hamburgers: Most of us equate hamburgers with fat and an unhealthy diet. However, hamburgers happen to have a lot of nutrition in them. Especially when purchased and prepared at home, look for the leanest ground beef and make them yourself. Beef contains nutrients such as iron and zinc, and is an excellent source of high-quality protein.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.