Children’s meals should have half a plate of fruit and vegetables, and the other half should include a grain and protein. For example, bananas, green beans, chicken breast, brown rice, and 1 or 2% milk. Please do not prevent children from drinking water – it should be available for them at any time. The fruit in the children’s meal contains vitamin C and fiber, which help with the digestive system. Vegetables contain antioxidants, which helps prevent diseases. The protein in each meal provides aid in the growth development in kids’ muscles and bones. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B, and minerals. Lastly, dairy gives children calcium and vitamin D, which are good nutrients for children’s bones.
Children should not be forced to finish meals if they are not hungry. Toddlers have little tummies, so you always want to serve foods that are full of nutrients for strength and growth. Please limit sweets and empty foods. Personally, I do not serve sweets at daycare. They get enough sugar from fruit, which is served during meals and snack time. Avoid serving processed foods because they are very unhealthy and high in sugar. If you actually compare the price of chicken nuggets and fish sticks, they cost more than eggs, chicken, or burgers.
Try to avoid giving your children junk food as much as possible, because it has no nutritional value. Chips, for example, are very addicting, and they are intentionally so to make the customer continue to buy the product. Doritos have dye in them, which is very bad to put in your body, and children can suffer from health problems as a result of it. Takis are chips that can burn children’s throats and has the potential of causing inflammation in their stomach lining because they are very spicy. Regular potato chips can cause arthritis for who are blood type O (www.dadamo.com). As an alternative, I would recommend sweet potato or rice chips. There are 3-4 different types and flavors and you can dip it in homemade salsa. The children at daycare really enjoy this snack. For more healthy food ideas you can check out www.choosemyplate.com.
I also would discourage serving your children pork, because it contains a lot of sodium, and can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. Not to mention, swine have many parasites that live inside their bodies, which can easily be passed on to humans (A few good reasons to avoid eating pork www.naturalnews.com). Here are some other protein alternatives that children can eat: eggs, fish, beef, beans, peanut butter, smoothies, chicken and turkey breast (check for peanut allergies before serving nuts).
Unfortunately, there are many families who cannot afford to buy healthy foods such as organic or gluten-free. Therefore, here are some suggestions on what to buy at the grocery store. Focus on buying more foods in the fruits and vegetables section vs. the cookies and chips aisles. Try to avoid processed and canned foods because of the added sugar and sodium. Buy your meats frozen and only grill and bake them. Here is a recipe that can be used to clean fruits and vegetables vs. buying them organic.
1. Combine the ingredients below in a large bowl. The concoction will bubble and fizz a lot after mixing, so the bowl needs to be big.
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon
2. Stir the mixture and then transfer it to a spray bottle.
3. Spray on fruits and vegetables.
4. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes.
5. Rinse it off with water.
6. Give items a final visual inspection.