Getting your little ones to eat right isn't easy. There are ways to get your youngest to down a serving of healthy greens and to make your rebellious teenager consume all the calcium he needs. But it isn't easy, and it may involve a bit of trickery on your part. Find out how much you know about getting your kids to eat what they need by taking this quiz!
The skins of fruits and veggies are a good source of fiber, potatoes included. So while mashed potatoes sans skins may be tasty and filling, it's not a fiber-rich dish.
Adding vegetables to your pizza will make it a bit more healthy. Of course, the veggies won't negate the fat and extra calories found in most pies, but there's no harm tricking your kids into consuming some of the nutritious foods they might not normally eat. So pile on the spinach, onions, peppers and any other veggies you can think of!
Yep, blueberries are a superfood, and your kid probably won't have any issues with munching on them. But if your child would rather eat chips than berries, you can always incorporate these sweet fruits into his breakfast by making blueberry pancakes, waffles or muffins.
As anyone who grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can tell you, peanut butter is great for kids. It's packed with protein and fiber and provides all the energy a growing child needs.
A cup-sized serving of a fruit smoothie houses 130 calories or less if it's made with 100 percent fruit or fruit juice only. Add yogurt or milk, and it jumps to almost 200 calories. Smoothies are a great way to hide important veggies in your kid's dinner.
Leafy greens are packed with calcium and can be easily incorporated into your family's nightly dinners. Throw some kale into a smoothie, or put spinach on a pizza -- your kids might actually start liking greens!
Smoothies seem like a healthy option, and they are, but you have to be careful when ordering from fast food chains or specialty smoothie stores. A large smoothie from McDonald's, for example, has 330 calories (compared to a standard cheeseburger's 250) and 70 grams of sugar. The best way to consume a healthy smoothie is to make your own at home using fresh fruits and veggies.
Like pasta, couscous is made from durum wheat semolina.
In moderation, cheese can be good for kids. It's packed with protein and calcium. However, it's easy to have too much of a good thing. Cheese is also loaded with fat and calories, and because we put it on everything nowadays, many kids are getting too much of it. Forgo the extra cheese the next time you order a pizza, and try to add just a sprinkling over your family's macaroni.
When in doubt, add veggies. Like pizza, mac and cheese is a dish that begs for a few extra ingredients, but many of us don't experiment with pasta like we do with pies. Onions, corn, bell peppers, kale and spinach all make great additions to any mac and cheese recipe.
Pizza, quesadillas and smoothies are all dinners your kids will love to create. Give them lots of ingredient choices (including many fruit and vegetable options like tomatoes, pineapple and spinach), and let the fun begin. They'll love making their own masterpieces, and you'll enjoy watching them get excited about eating fruits and greens!
Remember what we said about the fat and calories in cheese? There are approximately 490 calories in a regular cheese quesadilla, but perhaps even more surprisingly, this tasty dish also contains almost 29 grams of fat.
In comparing 1-cup servings of each of these foods, white beans contain the most calcium. A single cup of white beans contain 226 milligrams of calcium, while instant oatmeal contains 100 milligrams, and broccoli contains 35 milligrams.
Oatmeal has been associated with improved memory and auditory tests in schools. It's high in fiber and protein, which is good for brain development. You can dress it up in lots of different ways -- top it with cinnamon, cocoa powder, honey, fresh fruit or even throw in some nuts or raisins.
Kids between the ages of 1 and 3 should get around 19 grams of fiber per day. There are tons of foods that are packed with fiber, most of which are easy to add to your weekly dinner menu. Choose whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta; add beans to soups and salads, and serve fruit with the skins intact.
Fiber has long been the secret weapon of dedicated dieters because it helps you feel full for longer periods of time. A diet with plenty of beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables will allow your kid to make it from lunch to dinner without breaking into multiple bags of chips.
Preschool and younger school-aged children should take in around 800 milligrams of calcium per day. This is equivalent to about three glasses of milk. As children get older, they need more calcium for healthy bone growth. By the time they're teenagers, they should be getting around 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day.
The food pyramid has been taught in schools for years, but the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has switched to the MyPlate to represent the food groups. It's essentially a dinner plate divided into four sections (vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins), with a side of dairy. Just like the sections of the food pyramid are different widths, each section of the plate contains the proper amount of food recommended by the USDA.
OK, we admit that even under optimal conditions, baked goods usually aren't the healthiest option for a snack for your kids. But if your child refuses celery sticks, there's no reason he can't munch on a slice of zucchini or banana bread. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better (and healthier) than other alternatives.
Fruits and veggies full of color are almost always extremely good for you. For example, blueberries, sweet potatoes, apples and bananas are all super healthy. Better still, they're also foods kids generally enjoy, so they're easy to incorporate into various recipes or can even be given out as snacks.