10 Healthy Foods for Your Picky Child
In today’s world of fast food and microwave meals, it can be difficult to make sure your child is eating healthy. This can prove especially daunting when your child is a picky eater; here is a list (in no particular order) of healthy kid friendly foods with tips on how to get your child to eat them:
1. Bananas—high in potassium, B6 and antioxidants. Potassium strengthens muscles and nerves and also prevents muscle spasms. A yummy summer treat is frozen banana popsicles that have been dipped in yogurt and crushed pecans.
2. Greens—dark leafy green vegetables are the richest in nutrients. Spinach and broccoli are full of fiber as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals that help with eye sight. If you can get your child to eat them raw, they will get all the nutrition they need for the day in just a few bites. Serve it to them raw with their favorite dipping sauce. If your child is hesitant of this, let them play with the ‘trees’ and their army men with the battle ending as the giant monster gobbles up the trees.
3. Nuts—walnuts, almonds and flaxseed are all high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed can be grounded up and added to batters. You can also purchase nut oils and sneak them into a smoothie.
4. Eggs—high in protein and enriched with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, eggs are known as brain food. A fun thing to do with younger kids is to read Dr. Seuss’ book Green Eggs and Ham then prepare Green Eggs and Ham for a balanced meal.
5. Milk—full of calcium which aides in healthy bone development. If your child can’t drink cow’s milk, a healthy alternative is Soy Milk. Soy Milk provides a lot of nutrients for your child as well – including Vitamin E, a great antioxidant. Blend with a variety of fruits and berries to make a healthy milkshake for your little one.
6. Berries—strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries all contain potassium, vitamin C, fibers, and anti-oxidants. Mix with yogurt, granola, or even a little powdered sugar for the stubborn child.
7. Yogurt—contains lots of protein, calcium, carbohydrates, vitamin B, and zinc. Yogurt with acidophilus has also been shown to clear up yeast infections in children and adults. Eaten alongside fresh fruit or granola, it’s even better and more nutritious.
8. Granola—loaded with fiber, folic acid, iron, and vitamin B, these whole grain oats are a good energy source that promote healthy digestion. This is a great breakfast food that is a nice accompaniment to yogurt or by itself in a bowl with raisins and a little milk.
9. Meat—full of protein that nourishes bones and muscles. Meat also has cholesterol and fat (not great for adults) but good for children’s bodies and brains. Another way to get protein into your child is chicken (lower in fat than meat). Bring your family together for outside barbequing and/or grilling of meat, chicken, and vegetables in the summer to get your children eating high protein meals.
10. Fish—especially good for your heart is fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (herring, trout, and salmon) If your child is the adventurous type, involve them in the process by taking them to a farmers market to select the fish. A child friendly way to serve it is coating the fish in mashed up crackers, let them do the mashing.
For feeding options for younger children, please see Ability Path’s article on finger foods: Toolkit: Finger Food Options