As parents, we’re constantly pressed for time. We run from one kid’s activity to another with barely enough time to fit (and sometimes shove) in a “meal,” let alone time to provide the wholesome foods our kids’ growing bodies and minds need.
Kathryn Guylay knows a thing or two about nutritional needs for children from her work at Nurture Idaho, a local non-profit organization with a mission to empower family members of all ages with the tools and resources needed to prepare healthy and delicious meals. We asked Kathryn to pass along a few tips for feeding our kids well at every age.
From birth to three years, Kathryn said parents should aim to help kids develop “healthy” taste buds. Studies show that when children under the age of three are not exposed to added sugars, they are less likely to develop a “sweet tooth.” Kathryn recommends including a rainbow of colors, at least three, on your toddler’s plate.
Snacks are essential for the elementary group’s overall nutritional intake, as they’re always on the move. Since their tummies are small, breaking up food intake into three meals and two snacks per day is the way to go. Snack-time is also a great way to sneak in one of the five recommended servings of fruits and vegetables as well as a protein, which helps to regulate blood sugar and provides longer lasting energy.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and studies have shown that kids, especially teenagers, who eat breakfast perform better on tests and have more energy throughout the day. Teens crave independence, so Kathryn suggests arming your kids with a repertoire of five or so healthy recipes they can make on their own.
In addition to nourishment, our active kids need proper hydration as well. Encourage water and balanced meals and you’ll have happy and healthy kids!