Of all the modern-day stresses of parenting, one of the most problematic and common is the difficulty of your child’s health. Never before has childhood obesity been at such a high. Never before has indoor technology kept children inside for longer and longer hours, keeping them from the outdoor activity and sunlight their bodies and minds need. Your child’s basic nutrition is where that struggle begins.
Feed Them a Variety of Food
While this is the most obvious solution, it is also the easiest for parents to miss. The routine of life creates the temptation for parents to feed their kids the fastest, easiest food, which tends to be more processed and loaded with fats and carbs. The foundation of a well-rounded diet is fruits, vegetables, and robust grains. Don’t simply stick to what your kid willingly eats; although they are notoriously picky, children who develop a habit of eating only what they like are vastly more prone to health problems and even eating disorders later in life. Try and find external motivators to help your child expand their culinary horizons.
Watch Out for Sugar
Sugar is the lurking, oft-overlooked problem for parents. Many “kid-friendly” foods and treats are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners – even those that are marketed as being healthy alternatives. There may even be sugar loaded heavily into food that you had always assumed was healthy. Juice isn’t as healthy as you think it is because of all the added sugars. Cranberries are another example, since the naturally tart berries are heavily sweetened in order to make them palatable. There’s nothing wrong with sugar in moderation, of course, but kids tend to gravitate towards and develop emotional dependency upon sugary foods. Just be sure to check the label and understand how much sugar is in a gram!
Multivitamins are a great alternative to consider! Especially if you’re not sure that your picky kid is getting 100% of the basic nutrients, store-bought gummy vitamins or crunchy vitamins have all the minerals, antioxidants, and (of course) vitamins you could need. This includes, but is not limited to, calcium, iron, vitamins C and D, fish oils, dietary fiber, and more. Also, kids are sure to love them, since they are made to come in various flavors of fruit and often are created in small shapes of characters or animals.
Parenting can be devilishly hard at times. The very least that you can do for your child is provide a safe, healthy environment for them to grow within. And if you put in the effort required to get them well-rounded meals, with all of the nutrition they need, then you’ll have given them the foundation they need for a happy life.
Check out this article on how to get better at food prep!