Top 10 Healthiest Foods for Kids
You know it’s better to feed your kids vegetables instead of ice cream. But, how do you get them to actually eat them?
Anyone who’s ever tried to feed a child (something other than cereal or ice cream) knows they don’t always eat what you want. Trying to figure out what to make to nourish their tiny bodies is stressful. Plus, just because it gets served doesn’t mean your kids will eat it. But kids need nutritious food—healthy fats for their brains, calcium for their bones, and all the vitamins and minerals vegetables offer—and more. These are the best weight loss pills.
To take out some of the stress and make sure you’re offering your child nutrient-dense foods, we compiled expert tips for mealtimes and a list of the top 10 healthy foods for kids. These 10 foods are not only healthy for your kids (and for you!) but are also versatile and easy to prepare.
“Yogurt is a wonderful option for breakfast, a snack, or even a dessert but you have to watch the added sugar content,” says Katie Andrews, M.S., R.D., a childhood nutrition coach and owner of Wellness by Katie. “It’s a healthy, filling snack that checks the boxes on protein and vitamin D, a nutrient many kids lack in their diet.”
Yogurt also delivers probiotics, good bacteria that are important for maintaining a healthy gut. An easy way to pick out a healthy yogurt? Buy plain Greek yogurt, which has zero added sugars plus twice the protein of regular yogurt. Most yogurt that’s flavored has added sugar; some new products are flavored with just fruit, but plain is always a safe bet. It’s easy to add flavor yourself by adding berries and sprinkling whole-grain cereal on top or creating a fun parfait with fruit. Dress up yogurt even more for kids by turning it into frozen yogurt pops or frozen yogurt bark. Learn more about the Best weight loss pills for women.
Pictured Recipe: Toaster-Oven Tostadas
Beans are a very nutritious food. They’re loaded with protein and fiber, plus they’re cheap and take little time to prepare. Buy low-sodium canned beans such as black beans, chickpeas or kidney beans. Simply open the can, rinse them to remove extra sodium and add to any dish.
“Replacing ground beef with beans in a quesadilla or tossing beans with pasta helps maintain high-quality, lean protein while adding a key nutrient: fiber,” says Andrews.
There are pastas made from beans too. “Kids ages 4 to 8 need around 25 grams of fiber a day, and most products marketed directly to kids, like fruit snacks and cheese crackers, contain little if any. Fiber helps promote healthy digestion and helps your kids feel fuller, longer, so they aren’t asking you for a snack 5 minutes after dinner ends,” says Andrews.
Pictured Recipe: Spinach & Egg Scramble with Raspberries
One large egg has 6 grams of protein and delivers vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron, per the USDA. Some eggs are also fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in kids’ brain development. Don’t worry about the cholesterol—saturated and trans fats have a bigger impact on raising bad cholesterol than eggs.
At breakfast, skip the pastries, fried foods and processed meats and scramble some eggs for your kids instead. If your kids aren’t fans of scrambled, try different presentations like egg salad or egg casseroles.
Eggs also make a great starter food for babies. Doctors used to recommend not giving eggs until babies were 12 months old. However, as of 2020, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology states that allergenic foods like eggs can be introduced when babies are ready for solid foods, and in fact, might help prevent food allergies.
Pictured Recipe: Avocado-Bun Turkey Sliders
Avocados are full of healthy benefits and are an easy way to get healthy fats into your child’s diet. They are high in monounsaturated fats, which decrease inflammation and keep cholesterol levels healthy. Fat moves through the digestive tract slowly, so it keeps kids full longer. But the best part of avocados? Their versatility. You can eat them with a spoon, mash them on toast, throw them into a smoothie, mix them into chicken or tuna salad or make a pasta sauce like avocado pesto.
5. Sweet Potato
Pictured Recipe: Oven Sweet Potato Fries
Short on time and need something nutritious? Wash a sweet potato, poke some holes in it and microwave it for 3-5 minutes (depending on its size). Slice it lengthwise, let it cool, then scoop it onto your child’s plate.
Whether your kid is 6 months, 6 years old or 16 years old, sweet potatoes are appealing across the board (because they’re sweet!). They’re packed with vitamin A (over 250% daily value for an adult), fiber and potassium, per the USDA. Increasing potassium keeps blood pressure and hearts healthy.