It is during our childhood that we learn to feed ourselves properly and to get used to following a healthy and balanced diet. It is from this moment that we must appreciate the value of healthier foods and dishes without giving up the pleasure of taste. But how – as parents – to teach children to eat properly, favoring healthy food and good habits?
To eat healthy the first rule is to start from the knowledge of food pyramid – that puts food in order according to a qualitative and quantitative hierarchy – and follow good and healthy habits. This seems so easy but it is not, especially when the discourse does not interest us adults but our children. Here then that becomes fundamental, for the health, teach them to eat properly and in a healthy way from an early age, preferring foods that are really good for their growth and getting them used to following good nutrition practices that will come in handy until adulthood.
But let's take one step at a time and start discovering good habits.
5 good habits to teach children to encourage proper nutrition
Few and simple rules that do so much in terms of health. Eating well depends on many factors, including how you are at the table, how many meals you consume and which foods you prefer to consume. It is up to us parents to immediately start conveying the correct messages in terms of healthy nutrition for our children.
1.A child, like the adult, needs to feed his body in a balanced way during the day with 5 meals a day: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner.
2. Breakfast is the fundamental meal. The child can alternate between sweet and savory and vary, to tease him with more flavors and to understand his preferences.
3. It is necessary to follow a varied and never monotonous weekly menu.
4. Snacks are important meals because the body does not owe energy. Allow the child to have the right hunger and not search for "empty" foods before the main meals.
5. Fruits and vegetables must be present in at least 4 of the 5 daily meals, just propose it the right way.
Let's not forget the golden rule!
One thing, more than any other, it is good that we parents do not forget when it comes to teaching something to our children: we always give the good example.
Lunch and dinner join the family. Why not turn moments in the kitchen into family sharing? If the moment dedicated to the kitchen is presented in a playful way, paying attention and care, the children feel involved, have fun, feel useful and important for the help they give. Doing so for parents and children will be a fun time to share, the little ones will get used to preparing healthy foods with care and love and if the child chooses what to cook there are more chances that he will eat with taste what he has prepared.
But which foods are good for children and which should consume more?
We now come to the foods that it is good to include in the diet of our children from an early age thanks to the wide nutritional properties they contain and which contribute, together with what we have said so far, to guarantee them a healthy and correct diet.
There are as many as 101 and we have discovered them all thanks to the interesting volume "101 foods that are good for my baby" by Maria Paola Dall'Erta published by Red !, which combining her professional experience as a biologist and chef with that of mother, embarks on a culinary “journey” to accompany readers – and mothers above all – in the choice and preparation of dishes for to propose to the children privileging precisely those foods that more than others are good for the growth of our children.
For obvious reasons we cannot reveal all 101 of them but we have selected 5 of them that you can immediately propose to your children and be sure of doing "good and right thing" for their health. Curious to discover them?
Brussels sprout, a winter dish for your child
They are not particularly loved by our children. The chef Dall’Erta recommends offering them as chips of sprouts, peeled, seasoned with oil and lemon and baked until the leaves are crispy. Why is it good for your child? Brussels sprout is a true panacea for memory, bones and sight. One serving provides the daily quota of vitamin C, in addition to fiber and protein. They contain mineral salts, including phosphorus and iron, proteins, fibers and vitamins (A; C; B; K, which is very useful for good bone health). They are also considered real stimulators of brain activity and concentration and a mine of antioxidants. Zeaxanthin protects the retina of the eyes.
Curcuma, the spice by now also established in our western kitchen
It is a very versatile spice with exceptional properties that gives life and color to dishes and makes them appetizing even for the little ones. For example, a child-proof curry should be offered to them. Why is it good for your child? Turmeric helps the body reduce inflammatory mechanisms, plays an important purifying function by supporting the body in the process of expelling toxins and increasing the production of bile, liver and stomach. In short, a real portent for the organism. It also has positive effects against anxiety and stress and against various skin problems.
Avocado, food loved by young and old
Because of its delicate flavor it is generally appreciated by children. It has a consistency that resembles that of butter but is more similar from the nutritional point of view to olive oil. Nourishing and digestible, it is always used raw and is versatile, if combined with the right condiments and aromas. Excellent mixed with honey and cocoa for a chocolate cream or combined with protein foods such as white or red meat, fish like salmon or shrimp, or with rice and pasta. Why is it good for your child? It is rich in "good" fats, which reduce blood cholesterol. Make omega 3, oleic acid and lecithin. Combined with lemon it becomes exceptional for the immune defenses thanks to its vitamins A, D K and C.
Millet, the tiny grain with incredible wonders
It provides children with valuable nutrients. Its flavor is delicate, you can eat it for breakfast as a cereal, or instead of rice in soups, soups or salads. Why is it good for your child? It contains silicon, so it has a fundamental role for hair growth and blood circulation, it is an energy for the brain and helps fight infections: all characteristics for the growth of a healthy child. It contains twice as much iron than wheat and four times as much as rice. The same goes for magnesium which keeps migraines and asthma symptoms at bay and is important for memory and for strong bone development.
Pomegranate, an authentic concentrate of beneficial properties
With the exception of the oily one, all the fruit has excellent nutritional properties due to the high content of water, vitamins, mineral salts and the richness of dietary fiber. The juiciness and the sweet and acid taste at the same time of the pomegranate make it very versatile in the kitchen: from the smoothie to match with meat and cheese, from salad to dessert combined with yogurt. And do you know that it is a sacred fruit and lucky charm? The kids will have fun if you tell them a story. Why is it good for your child? It is a source of vitamin B, C, E, flavonoids, natural phenols, potassium, folic acid. It has anti-inflammatory properties, is good for the immune system, strengthens bones and muscles.
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