Every parent wants their child to maintain a balanced diet that will help them grow. Healthy eating habits are formed when your child is very young, and the process isn’t always easy. However, guiding your child toward making healthy food decisions doesn’t need to be a daunting task of forced vegetables and temper tantrums at dinner time. Avoid the outbursts over their food and instead, make snack and lunch preparation an engaging and fun activity for everyone!
What Do Growing Children Need in Their Diet?
Toddler and preschool-aged children are constantly growing and exploring the world in which they live. Matching their high level of energy with a diet that will not only boost their physical strength as they grow, but fuel their learning process is the key. These super brain foods need to be high in proteins, whole grains, vitamins, and minerals.
According to this article, published by the well-respected Mayo Clinic, these dietary guidelines are the best when selecting food for your little learner:
- Protein – This can be found in a lot of foods. Lean meats, eggs, beans and unsalted nuts and seeds are some of the best sources.
- Fruits & Vegetables – These bright and colorful treats are high in vitamins and minerals. Select a wide variety each week to ensure balance.
- Dairy – Low-fat dairy products and fortified soy products introduce key nutritional elements of calcium and vitamins.
- Grains – Whole grains are the goal! Limit the intake of processed and refined grains like white bread and pasta. Instead, use things like wild rice, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and quinoa.
Foods to Avoid:
- Added Sugars – Limit added sugars that are not naturally-occurring, like icing, sugary cereals, and foods with corn syrup.
- Saturated & Trans Fats – Substitute animal fats and oils with healthier plant-based options like olive oil or avocados.
Teaching Your Preschooler to Help in the Kitchen
Your little learner is always watching their parents to learn how to do tasks and will try to emulate your patterns. Why not just make them an active part of it from the beginning? Luckily, the options to incorporate them into your daily activities are endless! Have your child help with the preparation of their smart lunch foods, by counting grapes and berries or placing the slices of fruits and vegetables in their preparation containers.
Helping to pack their lunch teaches them to be prepared in advance for the coming day, as well as creating invested interest into the foods that they have brought with them. Talk to your child about the nutritional values of each ingredient and what it does for their bodies. You can even research this information together!
Combining healthy and tasty is easy to do. Pick ingredients that are colorful, flavorful and fun to work with.
Healthy Lunchbox Ideas Kids Will Love
- Homemade fruit dip – serve it with apples, pears or any fresh fruit of your choosing
- Roasted chickpeas – a crunchy, easy-to-make snack with endless seasoning options
- Hummus and veggies – try homemade hummus recipes with their favorite sliced veggies
- Popcorn – a movie theater-themed whole grain snack for their lunch, substitute butter for fun seasonings
- Ants on a log – classic snack tradition packed full of protein
- Healthy cookies – substitute high-sugar ingredients with things like oats, nuts, and berries
- Frozen banana pops – sliced bananas dipped in yogurt or dark chocolate and frozen with a popsicle stick makes for a great after-school snack
Power your child’s day of learning with a nutritional diet, but don’t forget about yourself! Portion yourself a snack of your tasty treats and enjoy your own dose of brain food.
Tour Our Rockville, MD Preschool Today!
At Norbeck Montessori, we strive to provide a welcoming, educational environment where children can learn and thrive. Come see our preschool and kindergarten students in action and see the difference a Montessori education makes!
Schedule a tour of our Rockville Montessori school today!