Tips for preschoolers: Healthy snacks and meals

Tips for preschoolers: Healthy snacks and meals

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Teach your preschooler to savor delicious and nutritious food by serving a variety of healthy meals and snacks. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Get your preschooler to help

Tap into your child's curiosity and enlist his help to come up with creative recipes. Take your preschooler shopping with you and let him pick out whatever fresh fruit or vegetable catches his fancy. Kids are more likely to eat and enjoy what they choose to make.

Keep servings small

How much your preschooler needs to eat daily depends on her age, weight, and activity level. Most 2- to 4-year-olds eat between 1,000 and 1,600 calories a day.

A healthy portion size for a preschooler is a quarter to a half of an adult portion. There's no need to count calories – just remember to adjust portions accordingly.

Go for low-fat or no fat

Introduce fat-free and low-fat versions of favorite foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk. Gradually decrease the amount of fat your preschooler consumes until it's about a third of his total calories by the age of 4 or 5. Avoid foods with lots of saturated fat and instead offer your child a variety of foods with good fats, like avocados and peanut butter.

Cut it up

Until children reach the age of 4, they can't chew food very well. Cut your preschooler's snack into bite-size pieces. If you're serving vegetables, cook them first so they're soft, then chop them so they're easy to eat. Foods that may cause young children to choke include peanuts, whole grapes, whole cherry tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, chunks of peanut butter, celery, and cherries with pits.

Be flexible

It's not unusual for kids this age to do an about face when it comes to their favorite food. Your child may want the same lunch several days in a row, then suddenly decide he doesn't like it anymore. It can be frustrating, but try not to make a big deal about it.

Have other healthy choices on hand. If you're offering something he hasn't tried before, just give him a tiny bit and serve it alongside a familiar food. And don't insist that he eat a full portion of something he's not used to.

Cook together

If your preschooler helps make a meal, she's more likely to want to eat it. Give her age-appropriate jobs in the kitchen, like washing vegetables, measuring and adding ingredients, and cutting soft fruits and vegetables. Cooking together – and sharing in the cleanup afterward – is an excellent way to foster good feelings about food.

Keep it simple

Even if you love to cook, it's hard to find the time when you have young children. Luckily, you can prepare nutritious food your child will love in just minutes.

Check out our fresh ideas for quick and healthy breakfasts, snacks, and lunches – including packed lunches for preschool and day trips.

For more inspiration, browse our Meal Planning & Recipes area.

Watch the video: Balanced Diet. Best food for health (August 2022).

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