Watching your children grow up is a priceless experience, full of milestones, discoveries, challenges and laughter. During the middle of childhood, your kids are more active and curious than ever. Ensure that your kids eat healthy, nutrition-packed meals, helping them succeed during each exciting new stage of childhood and beyond.
Serve breakfasts that send kids to school with lots of energy. Hot cereal is quick to prepare and offers important whole grains. For extra calcium and protein, top the cereal with milk and chopped pecans or almonds. Dried or fresh fruit is an easy, nutritious way to sweeten hot cereals. For kids who are picky eaters or in a hurry in the mornings, whip up a simple blend of sweet and savory. Spread a banana with peanut butter and raisins as a nutrition-packed breakfast.
Fill your kids' lunchboxes with foods that will perk up energy levels. Turn lunch into a treat with kebabs instead of sandwiches. Include a veggie kebab, with avocado slices and grape tomatoes, a protein kebab with rolled mozzarella slices and slices of deli meat and a fruit kebab with pineapple, cherries and melon balls. If your children eat cafeteria lunches, encourage them to choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and meats whenever possible and drink milk or water instead of soda.
Healthy dinners continue to balance out the proteins, grains and dairy essential for growing kids. Shrimp is a versatile way to add seafood to your children's diet. Heat up shrimp in a stir-fry, alongside water chestnuts, peas and carrots, and serve over long grain brown rice. Get creative with a traditional chicken pot pie by baking a cornmeal or polenta crust and adding a melted cheese topping. Develop a habit of serving fresh, veggie-loaded salads with creamy dressings at every meal.
Snacks and Desserts
Vegetables make a nutritious snack, but kids aren't always enthused about swapping potato chips for baked potatoes. Create instant appeal by adding a little butter and a dusting of ginger and cinnamon to half a baked sweet potato, as an after-school snack or dessert. Trail mix combines oats, whole-grain cereal, sunflower seeds, peanuts, raisins and dark chocolate chips for a surprisingly delicious and nutrient-packed snack, whether served by the handful or formed into bars with a honey base. And no one ever outgrows veggie sticks with creamy dip. Carrots, celery and bell-pepper strips are the classics, but also try jicama, kohlrabi and sweet potato.