Happy and Healthy Kids

How eating healthy foods can help kids with moods and total well-being.




Happy and healthy kids starts with healthy eating habits. Teaching our children from an early age to choose healthy foods will help them make better choices in all areas of their lives. It's fundamental for a life full of vitality.


I'm a big believer that teaching our kids balance with food will help them create a good relationship with food. In our household our motto is, "we eat to live, not live to eat." This reminds us all that healthy eating will always help us feel better, not worse.


Consuming healthy meals will benefit kids in normal development. It will allow them to obtain healthy body weight, stronger immune system, retain attention, and have better moods. Their meal plans should be based on the consumption of proper daily allowance of calcium, vitamins, minerals, fiber, proteins and healthy fats. For instance, lunch can consist of brown rice and black beans with a side of carrots. Maybe a tuna sandwich with light mayo on oatmeal toast. A fun dinner meal can be a pita or Naan bread homemade pizza with a side salad. The combination of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates will help satisfy them and feel full. Sugary snacks should be eaten in moderation to help control moods. They are often made up of empty calories (have no nutritional value) and chemicals such as corn syrup, which can cause a toxic response in the body and especially the digestive system. High consumption can negatively affect blood sugar levels which is the risk factor to diabetes. It will also promote mood swings and lethargy. Instead, offer them snacks such as non-dairy or low fat yogurts, hummus and carrots, natural fruit and veggie smoothies, or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain toast.


Kids should always start their day with a healthy breakfast which will help them with memory retention, focus and alertness. It will also set the foundation for which foods they will be more likely to choose throughout the day. If breakfast consists of an egg omelet, oatmeal toast and a bowl of berries, the balance of protein and carbohydrates will crave some of the same balanced meal for lunch and so on. But if they were to start their day with a fruit bar and/or sugar loaded cereal, their bodies will only continue to crave more of the sugary foods, which will lead to a day full of quick highs and lows in blood sugar affecting their moods and total well-being.


The occasional cupcake, ice cream, slice of cake or other treats is healthy as long as it's given occasionally and seen as just that, a treat. This will help them distinguish with what's acceptable for everyday and what can be a fun treat for a special occasion. The point is to offer a balance so kids don't feel deprived and later want to sneak food.


We must communicate with children to allow them to learn about the different types of foods and ingredients they contain so they can learn to know how to choose for themselves when parents aren't around. The earlier we introduce this practice to our children, the easier it'll be for them to understand why choosing healthy foods is most important to stay healthy and happy.


Another way to help kids stay healthy is to allow them to help you cook. Let them to choose what they'd like to cook and take them food shopping. Have them pick out the vegetables and fruits etc. Teach them what to look for in good produce. Help them read the labels and what they should look for as in good vs. bad ingredients. When you're back at home teach them how to wash the produce and allow them to assist you in the cooking process. This is a great way for them to explore and most kids are always happy to eat what they make!


Below is a sample menu:


Breakfast:

English muffin breakfast sandwich

1 egg omelet

1-2 small plant based or turkey breakfast sausages

1 English muffin toasted


OR


Berry Smoothie bowl with granola.


Mid-morning snack:

1 small apple or mixed fruit with low fat or non-dairy yogurt


Lunch:

Black Bean wraps

Whole grain or gluten free wrap with lettuce tomato and black beans (rinsed and drained). Spread a little hummus on the center of the wrap, and add other ingredients. Wrap nice and tight.

A side of mixed berries or carrot sticks or both.



Mid-afternoon snack:

Berry Smoothie

1/2 cup of blueberries and strawberries mixed

1/2 cup of pineapple

Few leaves of spinach

1/2 cup of non-dairy or skim milk

Add some ice and blend. Dilute to liking.


Dinner:

Turkey burger or Beyond Meat plant-based burger on a burger bun.

Side of sweet potato oven baked french fries.

And a small green salad with cherry tomatoes.



Thanks for stopping by! Always sending you lots of Love and Light.

xo Maritza





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