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Back in 2015, an alarming study revealed that more than 30 percent of kids eat fast food at least once every day. Many of these kids are, therefore, not getting the nutrients their bodies need since their parents aren’t preparing healthy meals for children.
Do your kids fall into this category?
As a parent, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeding your kids things that aren’t necessarily good for them. Between baseball practices and piano lessons, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for most parents to prepare and serve healthy food options for their kids.
But it’s extremely important for you to make healthy meals for children as often as you possibly can. Check out some of the reasons this will benefit your kids both now and well into the future.
Healthy Meals Will Provide Your Kids With Nutrients They Need
All people, no matter what age, need to eat foods that contain certain nutrients. A well-balanced diet will provide a person with the right blend of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and more.
But while all people need these nutrients, it’s especially important for kids to get them. Their bodies are still developing, and if they don’t get the right mix of nutrients, they could fall behind in the development stage.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a full breakdown of the types of foods that children should be eating. They recommend kids eat at least five fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. They also suggest limiting the intake of fruit juices and recommend eating and drinking natural products whenever possible.
It can take some extra effort on the part of parents to prepare healthy meals for children. But when parents take the time to do it, they will ensure their kids get all the proper nutrients without any of additives that find their way into so many of today’s unhealthy foods.
They Will Promote Brain Development in Your Kids
Outside of providing the proper nutrition for kids’ growing bodies, healthy meals for children can also benefit their brains in a big way.
As kids begin to grow and start attending school, their brains will start to change and develop at a rapid pace. Kids need to get certain nutrients into their diets to make sure their brains are changing for the better.
You might not spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not your children are getting enough iodine and iron in their diets. But those are two key nutrients that kids need to further brain development.
If they don’t get them through healthy meals for children, they could face serious repercussions. Iodine and iron deficiencies can lead to issues with cognitive and motor development delays.
Your pediatrician can likely recommend foods that you can incorporate into your healthy meals for children to ensure they are getting all the iodine and iron their brains need.
They Will Help Your Kids Avoid Serious Health Issues
Kids who don’t eat right are more likely to face health issues than those who are served healthy meals for children regularly.
For starters, there are many children who will experience cavities in their teeth more often when they don’t partake in a healthy diet. Sugar and other additives in junk food can increase the likelihood of your kids facing cavities.
While cavities might seem like a minor nuisance to some parents, they can lead to other health issues if they aren’t tended to in a timely fashion. It’s why it’s so important for parents to schedule their kids for routine trips to the dentist.
There are also other health issues outside of oral problems that kids can face down the line due to not getting enough nutrients in their meals. There are many chronic diseases that people face that stem from unhealthy eating habits in their younger days.
These diseases include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Kids who don’t eat a well-balanced diet are also more likely to deal with obesity from a young age. About one out of every three kids in America is currently considered obese.
Obesity is something that could develop into a lifelong battle for many kids if their parents aren’t careful.
They Will Allow Your Kids to Develop Healthy Eating Habits
As a parent, it’s your job to help your kids develop good habits when they’re young. As it stands now, you teach them:
- To treat others with respect
- To show up for school, birthday parties, and other events on time
- To do their best on all their assignments in school
- To practice good sportsmanship when they play sports
- To bathe daily and brush their teeth twice a day
Why aren’t you teaching them to eat healthy, too?
Just like anything else, eating healthy is something that kids need to learn from the time they’re a young age. They’re not going to grow up eating junk food every day and then suddenly wake up one day and realize they need to start eating fruits and vegetables.
You should make it a priority to serve healthy meals for children early and often. It will broaden their horizons as far as food is concerned and get their bodies used to eating healthy as often as possible.
They Will Introduce Your Kids to New Types of Food
One of the reasons many parents don’t feed their kids as many fruits and vegetables as they should is because kids can be picky eaters. Little Johnny or Annie won’t always agree to eat an apple in the afternoon or a serving of broccoli at the dinner table.
The key to getting your kids to eat these types of healthy foods is serving them to them from a young age and teaching them to appreciate fruits and vegetables. It’s much easier to take that approach than to wait until they’re much older and then try to incorporate more healthy options into their diets.
You don’t have to go completely overboard and force your kids to eat nothing but healthy foods all the time. But you should make it a point to start working fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods into their diets sooner rather than later.
You will get a much better response from kids when you take this approach. They will learn to love certain types of healthy foods and be more open to eating them later.
They Will Prevent Your Kids From Getting Addicted to Sugar
It seems crazy to think of young kids being addicted to something. After all, how can they be addicted to anything when most of the choices in their lives are made by their parents?
But unfortunately, sugar addiction is a very real thing among kids between the ages of 2 and 18. It’s so real that the American Heart Association recently released an infographic showing how much added sugar kids can eat every day without suffering consequences.
The AHA recommends kids eat no more than 25 grams of added sugar as part of their daily diet. If they go above that, there is a chance it could have an adverse effect on their heart.
There is also a chance kids could develop an addiction to sugar that their parents will eventually have to help them kick. That can be a difficult process for both parties, and it can also make it harder for parents to get their kids to eat healthy meals for children.
They Will Bring Your Family Closer
How often does your family sit down at the dinner table together and enjoy a meal?
Chances are, not enough. As technology has grown and kids and their parents have gotten more and more used to watching TV or playing on their cell phones during dinner, the idea of families getting together to eat a meal has gone away.
This is a shame because there are so many benefits that come along with eating dinner with your family. A few of the benefits of family dinners are:
- Kids are more likely to perform better in school
- Kids are less likely to deal with substance abuse or teen pregnancy
- Kids are more likely to have high self-esteem
- Kids are less likely to show signs of depression
- Kids are more likely to avoid obesity
And just think: You’ll make family dinners even more beneficial for everyone when you serve healthy meals for children.
At the end of the day, it’s not always going to be easy to prepare healthy meals for your kids and the rest of your family. But it will be well worth it as it will put your kids on the right path and show them the value in eating better.
Start Making More Healthy Meals for Children Now
Do you want to learn more about preparing healthier meals for your children? Whether you want to start serving healthier snacks or potentially even consider serving a vegan menu in your home, there are so many ways to make your kids’ health more of a focus in your home.
Check out our blog for fun recipes and other tips for serving healthy meals for children.