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Kids Food: Dinner Ideas for Kids to Ensure Nutrients

Dinner ideas for kids can help you to know what strategies you need to follow to ensure your kid’s healthy dinner. A healthy diet can ensure your kid’s healthy future.

At this stage, your child may become a picky eater. You need to help him to learn to enjoy all types of foods as he can fulfill the nutritional requirement. 

You have the opportunity to get the idea from baby foods how to make him habituated to all types of foods.

You can follow various ideas for your kid’s dinner to assure your kid’s health and mental development proportionately with their age.

Being a mother of two kids I know sometimes it becomes difficult to provide a balanced diet when kids develop their own choices about food and other things. Sometimes it becomes too troublesome to provide them a nutritional diet at dinner time.

To make our effort easy we need to have ideas about essential nutrients for kids. Our effort does not end with providing them essential food elements at dinner time. 

We have to make sure that they are properly having dinner. So, how can we be confident that we are going through the right way for providing them nutritional dinner?

Dinner Ideas for kids Ensuring Proper Nutrients

Before the Implementation of the ideas, we should know first what nutrients are essential for our kids. We need to have some ideas about essential food elements at dinner time.

It is also important to know how we can provide our kids the proper nutrition and above all how we can help our kids as they feel better to eat their dinner without being bound to eat dinner. So, let’s see the necessary steps to serve our kids a healthy dinner.

Essential Nutrients for Kids

We know nutritional foods are a must for our good health. The requirements of nutrients may vary depending on the age range.

Kids need some essential nutrients for their healthy life long development. Here is the list of the nutrients.

1. Protein

Every kid needs the right balance of protein. Protein helps to break down food into energy, fights against infection, and builds cells of the body.

So you can’t skip protein from your kid’s dinner. You can provide him protein by giving him meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and dairy products.

2. Carbohydrate

This element helps your kid’s body to use fat and protein for building and repairing tissues. Carbohydrates come in several different forms (sugar, starches, and fiber), but kids should eat more of the starches and fibers and less of the sugar.[1]

Bread, Cereals, rice, crackers, pasta, and potatoes are the source of high levels of carbohydrates. 

3. Calcium

It is essential for your kid’s healthy bones and teeth. Calcium helps for blood clotting, nerve, muscles, and heart function. Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, egg yolks, broccoli, spinach, and tofu are the source of calcium.

4. Iron

Iron helps to build healthy blood in a kid’s body. That blood carries oxygen to cells and all over the body.

You can provide iron for your kids from red meats, liver, poultry, shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, and iron-fortified cereals.

5. Folate

Folate helps to improve healthy growth and cell development. Whole grain cereals, lentils, chickpeas, asparagus, spinach, black or kidney beans, and Brussels sprouts are a good source of folate.

6. Vitamin

Vitamin A and Vitamin C are the most essential nutrients for kids. Vitamin A is essential for the eyes, skin. It also works to prevent infection.

Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apricots, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, fish oils, and egg yolks provide Vitamin A. So try to provide any of these at his dinner time for the fulfillment of the necessary vitamin A.

7. Vitamin C

Vitamin C holds the body’s cell together, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, helps the body heat wounds, and is important for building strong bones and teeth.[2]

Strawberries, melons, broccoli, tomato, potato, spinach, papaya, cauliflower are the source of vitamin C.

8. Fiber

Fiber helps to move food through the digestive system. Fiber helps to prevent constipation. It also reduces the chance of diabetes and heart diseases later in life.[3]

The source of fiber is whole-grain bread and cereals, orange, bananas, berries, pears, green peas, almonds. You need to make sure of 25 grams of fiber regularly for your kid.

9. Fats

kids get proper and sufficient energy from fat. Healthy fat helps kids to fill up, better concentration. It also helps to improve their mood.[4]

You have to be smart and be aware of healthy and unhealthy fats before adding them to your kid’s dinner. 

The good fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts, vegetable oils, peanut butter, almond butter, and avocado are the source of monounsaturated fats. 

Salmon, herring, sardines, and trout are the source of polyunsaturated fats. These fats decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.[5] If your kid is habituated with these your kids will be benefited in later.

The suggested nutrients are helpful for your kid’s healthy growth. As the foods containing these nutrients, you can ensure his healthy diet and dinner as well. 

Few Words about Sugar

Sugar is an important source of energy. We need to keep in mind that our kid gets the sugar from the natural source of foods such as fruit and yogurt.

Foods with added sugar like biscuits, cakes, cold drinks may cause excess calories. It is not the way to get proper nutrients. 

American Health Association recommends less than 25gm of sugar per day for children ages 2 to 18 years.[6]

So, you should serve him the foods with natural sugar. It is better to limit avoid foods with added sugar. 

Now we have a clear conception of what food elements are important for our kid’s dinner.

Some Tricks to Follow

We should follow some tricks if they are not in a mood to take dinner and refusing healthy diets. Here are some tricks you need to follow. I am sure you will be benefited.

1. Try To Be Ideal

We know, kids tend to follow their parents’ habits. If you are taking vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods at dinner time your kids will like to follow you. You do not need to give an effort to build up healthy eating habits.

2. Variety of Foods

Kids like to feel they have the opportunity to choose their foods. Don’t stick on one item at dinner time. Try to provide several healthy options as he can choose at least one of them to eat.

3. Try To Innovative

Try to make something new with healthy ingredients. Your kids do not like vegetables it doesn’t matter. Try to prepare a dish with vegetables mixing with other ingredients that he likes.

4. Pay Attention to Serving

How you serve foods also matters. “A recent study showed that school-aged kids (7-10 years old) ate more carrots when they were served whole carrots versus when they were served diced carrots. One of the possible reasons may be that once kids started eating the whole carrot, they were likely to finish it, and so consumed more as a result.”[7]

So try to serve him dinner in the way he likes.

Following these ideas, you can help him to have his meal with his own will. As soon as he starts to eat with his desire he may start to finish his dinner without any trouble.

Family Dinner and Kid’s Participation

As a parent, we all need to make our kid’s dinner time enjoyable. But how can we do this? Family dinner is the key to make your kid’s dinner time enjoyable. 

Benefits of Family Dinner for Kids

Your kid’s participation at family dinner does not only give enjoyment it plays a vital role in your kid’s upbringing. Let us see the benefits of family dinner for your kid.

1. Family Dinner Develops Kid’s Confidence

Kids can express their views, their thinking with their parents at the dinner table. They come to know various topics from their parents’ discussion.

The dinner table is the best place to exchange views. By exchanging views kids will become confident to express their opinion, liking, and disliking.

2. Kids Become Good Reader

A study was published in 2006 conducted by Dr. Catherine Snow at Harvard University. She found that family dinner conversations have a more significant effect on a child’s language skills than reading to him.[8]

3. Kids Are Less Likely To Abuse Substances

 “A study conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that children who eat dinner regularly with their families are less likely to take drugs or suffer from depression than kids who don’t”.[9]

4. Family Dinner Develops Kids’ Eating Habit

Kids who eat their dinner with family develop their healthy eating habits. They see how their parents are eating healthy foods at dinner time. As the kids tend to follow the parents they develop the habits of healthy eating even unknowingly.

Let your kid feel he is a member of the family. His importance as a younger member is not less than others. Following these ideas, you can teach him how to show respect to other’s views and thoughts.

Things to Avoid 

Any negative attitude may have an impact on your kid’s mental health. You need to keep in mind not to do a few things and pass a few comments which may make trouble. 

  • “See, your (sister, brother, cousin) is eating it, why don’t you? “ Don’t comment such way. It can be interpreted that you are comparing them as his brother or sister who is eating better than him.[10] Never tell him “picky eater”. It may affect negatively.
  • Never force him to eat a few more when he is not eating enough and you are not allowing to leave the table before finishing his meal. 

You can convince by saying that if he is not getting enough meal he will have to wait until morning for breakfast with an empty stomach.

You have to think before passing such comments. You need to be the best friend of your kids, not a teacher. Your friendly behavior helps your kid to eat his dinner with pleasure.

Conclusion

Following dinner ideas for kids, you can follow to ensure his healthy dinner. I can assure you if you follow the ideas, you can get better results to feed your kids a healthy dinner.

As a parent or mom of kids, you need to be responsible for their healthy building. Your kid’s future both physical and health depend on your hand. So, you do not have an option to ignore your responsibility.

References:

  1. http://www.parents.com
  2. http://www.parents.com
  3. https://kidshealth.org
  4. https://helpguide.org
  5. https://healthline.com
  6. https://clevelandclinic.org
  7. http://eatingwell.com
  8. http://momtastic.com
  9. http://momtastic.com
  10. https://huffingtonpost.com


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