Read these 27 Nutrition Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.
Peanut butter and jelly or PB&J are a great food for kids. Problem is peanut butter and jelly are loaded with sugar. Although peanut butter is a great way of getting protein, many parents are trying to curb the sugar content in their children’s' diets.
So how does a parent improve the nutritious value of a PB&J? By following three simple steps.
First, look into natural peanut butter made with only peanuts (some will have salt). Some of the brands out there will also include Omega-3 Fatty Acids (the fatty acid that is heart healthy). These are usually located along with the standard peanut butter.
Second, have the child choose a favorite fruit such as apples, cherries, blueberries, bananas, mangos, kiwi, or strawberries. Use this in lieu of jelly or jam. Not only does the child get no processed sugar, but also gets a bit more fiber than they would if jelly or jam was used.
Third, visit the bread aisle and find bread with a fiber content of 3 grams or more. If the child has a whole sandwich, along with the fruit, the meal could include as much as ten grams of fiber per sandwich.
If your child is not a milk drinker, and you are concerned about her meeting her calcium needs, there are many other food choices to help her get adequate amounts of calcium. Try serving yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified soy milk, broccoli, tofu, dark, leafy greens, and calcium-fortified orange juice.
The Food and Drug Administration tells parents to get kids to eat 5 veggies a day.
Sometimes, vegetables are the hardest thing to get kids to eat, but there is hope.
Understand, kids' tastebuds are far more sensitive than ours. What's slightly bitter to us is horribly bitter to kids. No wonder they avoid vegetables. They aren't sweet or salty.
To help them get used to these foods, it can take up to 10 exposures before they can tolerate the taste. So, start small. Give them or tell them to take one bite at first. If they like it, give them more. If they cringe, don't quit, try again later, but have them take at least ONE bite.
Pick a few vegetables each week and keep introducing them. Don't worry if your child likes broccoli and not carrots. Build on what they like and work on what they don't.
Keep starchy veggies to a minimum (corn, potatoes, yams, beans), but they are full of fiber so having them as part of a healthy diet is great.
Of course, if you don't eat any veggies, they won't either. The best example is to set a good one.
Parents of vegetarian children or kids who do not consume much red meat often worry about their kids getting enough iron in their diets. However, kids can easily meet their mineral needs by eating fortified cereals and breads, dried fruits such as raisins, spinach, molasses, beans, lentils, and eggs.
It is not easy for a child to obtain the recommended daily amount of iron. Since iron is found in varying quantities in many foods, it is important for your child to eat a variety of foods every day. Some important sources of iron include: meat, legumes, breakfast cereals, whole grain bread, dark green vegetables, and pastas.
It is very important to limit the amount of juice your child drinks in a day. Juice is very high in sugar, can harm teeth and decrease appetite for other healthy food choices throughout the day. Toddlers should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces a day, and older children should not drink more than 12 ounces. Juice should be considered more of a treat than a thirst quencher. Be sure to offer your child plenty of water.
If your child does not eat vegetables despite your greatest efforts, he can still meet all his nutritional needs by eating fruit. For example, apricots supply as much Vitamin A as carrots, and strawberries meet folic acid needs as well as spinach does. However, do continue offering vegetables, as one day his taste will mature enough to accept them.
To make a healthy version of this kids favorite, prepare a box of brownies according to the package directions. Then, stir in one box of frozen chopped spinach (thawed, squeezed dry, and finely chopped) and 1 jar butternut squash baby food. Bake according to package directions, and surprise your kids with this healthy treat!
Since the human body is approximately two-thirds water, it is very important for kids (and adults) to replace what is used in a day. Young kids who don't drink enough water may suffer from fatigue or constipation. To combat dehydration, have your child drink 8 ounces of water for every 250 calories consumed. If your child takes in 1500 calories a day, that means at least 6 cups.
If your older infant suddenly experiences a loss of appetite, more than likely, she is simply experiencing a growth slow down, and does not need to eat any more than she is. Babies have built in appetite controls, and do a far better job at regulating their diet than most adults do. To ensure that she is getting adequate nutrition when she does eat, be sure to offer a variety of foods, and try to sneak in fruits and vegetables without her realizing. She may enjoy pumpkin muffins, carrot cake, sweet potatoes, a noodle casserole, or yogurt. You may also want to check for teething, as this would also explain a lack of appetite. If her appetite doesn't return after a few days, consult your doctor.
A recent study by the USDA found that preschoolers eat an average of 15 tsp. of added sweeteners a day. That is 6 tsp. too much! This can lead to cavities, obesity, and heart disease. It can also cut a child's appetite for healthier foods. To cut down on sugar intake, limit juice intake, and replace sugary treats with fruits or homemade less-sugary treats.
If your child suddenly refuses to eat meat, it may be because he finds the meat fibres difficult to chew. To encourage meat eating, offer small, tender pieces or serve meat in pasta or as a meat loaf. Also, remember that it is not essential for your child to eat meat in order to have a healthy diet. Offer plenty of other foods that are high in protein - eggs, cheese, peanut butter, legumes, and dairy products.
To encourage kids to try new foods, try turning tasting foods into a fun game. Blindfold kids and let them taste a variety of foods. Be sure to include some old favorites, and have them try to guess what they are without looking. They may enjoy a new food before they even realize it is new.
Several studies have shown that as kids get older, they tend to eat the portion size that is placed in front of them ignoring internal cues telling them they are full. This is considered one of the reasons why one in five kids in the US is overweight. It is much healthier to offer small portions and allow second servings if your child is still hungry.
If your child is constantly asking for sugary cereals, yet you would like a healthier start in the morning, try a compromise. If he eats healthy breakfasts every other day of the morning, you allow a favorite sweet cereal on Sunday mornings. This should lead to complaint-free mornings the rest of the week.
We all know that we should eat bread made from whole wheat flour, but if all your kids will eat is white bread, the only thing they are really missing out on is the fibre. White bread is usually enriched with iron and other essential vitamins. So, let them eat their white bread, but try to up their fibre intake elsewhere, perhaps with an extra serving of fruit.