Nutrients for Kids: How to make sure your kids are getting enough
The first phase of parenthood can without a doubt be classified as the most exhausting. Learning to navigate the world with a newborn baby who cannot vocalize their needs and have no concept of time is a stressful period of time. But generally speaking, one aspect that you know you can depend on is their nutrition. Whether it be breastfed or formula-fed, parents know that these are the only options your baby thankfully has at this juncture. They have yet to voice their opinions about the night’s dinner selections and create masterful floor art with their veggies. Or defiantly throwback the delicious meal you so meticulously made in your face. As sleep-deprived yet rewarding that stage of parenthood is, it will all change. Those babies become toddlers who find their voices, who then become full-fledged children. Which then comes with a new set of stresses that most parents struggle with, proper nutrition.
Making the Right Choices
Life would be a walk in the park if our children came out of the womb knowing all the same information we do about health and what is proper nutrients for kids. There would never be whining for candy, or tantrums in the chip aisle at the supermarket. It sounds like one amazing dream this fantasy world, but alas it is not reality. As much as we guide them and start them off on the right path with making healthy choices, the temptation is out there. When they first begin to start solids, it is usually advised to start with the vegetables first as fruit is sweet and will be a palate pleaser right off the bat. But as they grow and their tastes begin to be exposed to new flavors, making the proper nutritious choices can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to encourage your little ones to eat their fruits and veggies:
- Use Spices and Herbs – No need for the salt and hot sauce to add flavor. Using spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or garlic and mint can enhance the flavor of fruits and veggies.
- Utilize a Portion Plate – Toddlers will find the portion plate fun to use and even easier for parents to know the appropriate amount for the food groups.
- Eat Veggies and Fruit First – There’s no right or wrong way to eat a meal, and let’s face it kids do not tend to follow any conventional table etiquette rules well. Try to have your kiddos finish their veggies first and end with the entree.
- Rewards – Look for ways to reward your child for making the right choices like using a sticker chart or even sticker and nonfood related rewards.
Leading by Example
No matter how much we beg and plead with them, children are a product of their environment. Even the most stubborn of kids can eventually turn a corner when they realize how much they are missing out when the rest of the family is enjoying a delicious meal. As parents, we tend to live by the old “Do as I say, not as a do” motto, but in the case of consuming the right types of foods, leading by example is the best motto to promote. Not only will our kids live healthier, but so will we, and you can’t go wrong with that.
Besides creating healthier eating habits, a sure-fire way to ensure your child is receiving the proper nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong is through daily vitamin supplements. Despite our best efforts, there are going to be gaps in their nutrient intake. Unless you happen to be completely versed in the nutrition facts for every food item consumed, the incorporation of vitamins will help fill in the gaps for those nutrients you may not be able to provide to them. Keep in mind that not all vitamins are created equal. Many of them contain sugar or glucose listed as a primary ingredient that can do more harm than good. Take a few minutes to research which ones have little or no sugar and contain the most amount of vitamins essential to child growth and development such as calcium and B2.
Parenthood is quite the ride with so many hurdles to navigate and making sure they are developing healthily with the right nutrients is definitely one of them. It doesn’t have to be if you find ways to help you along the process. Thankfully, there are so many nutritional products available where someone else has done the heavy lifting and researched what is right for our kids. Use them to your advantage and start making life easier for you and your growing kids.