Healthy Eating for Preschoolers: Helping Your Kid Eat Better

Like most other parents, you too find it challenging to make healthy eating a habit for kids, right? Well, there are multiple factors that control the eating habits of children.  However, when you are determined, it is not an impossible task to inculcate good habits and ensure healthy eating for preschoolers.

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers

The easy availability of fast foods and ready-to-eat fixes add to kids’ unhealthy eating habits. They love to feast on chips, cupcakes, and French fries, which are nutrient deficient and calorie rich and provide no health benefits either. But by exposing your child to nutrient-rich meals, you can set them on a path of healthy eating. This includes introducing colorful fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains.

What Constitute Healthy Eating for Preschoolers

According to the Choose My Plate nutrition guide of the Department of Agriculture, you can help your preschooler grow up into a healthy adult by introducing him to a healthy lifestyle. It recommends dividing the plate into four equal quarters – each of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

The nutritional needs and food choice of one child differ from another. Your preschooler’s food intake depends on a number of factors, including age, growth, and appetite.

  • Toddlers need little more fat compared to older children and adults. Their healthy diet should emphasize more on fat and less on fiber. Eating the right fats can provide your toddler’s body with many benefits, such as for the brain, eye, and nerve development. Nuts, avocado, seeds, olive oil, salmon, and non-hydrogenated margarine are some of the key sources of unsaturated or healthy fats. Fat should provide 25-35% of daily calories for teens. Ideally, the percentage of calories from fat required by a child depends on their age. Kids aged 1-3 years need 30-40% of calories from fat and those between 4 and 18 years should get 25-35% from fat.
  • When cooking for a preschooler, you may want to add some amount of butter or oil. Read the label of products and try to choose those that are trans fat-free.
  • Include unsaturated fats into your family’s meals. A dash of flax seeds on cereals, nut butter on toast, avocado on sandwiches are great ideas to introduce healthy fats in your family’s diet.
  • A diet comprising carbs, protein, fat, omega 3 and 6, vitamins, minerals, and fiber will provide toddlers with adequate amounts of nutrients and energy.
ALSO READ:  How to Raise A Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers: The Regimen Starts With Breakfast

Your toddler’s healthy eating menu should also emphasize on eating at the same time every day. This will help make eating a regular ritual at home. When it becomes a ritual, your toddler will feel hungry at the same time. When they are hungry, it is the right time to feed them healthy food.

It is a good idea to start your child’s day with a balanced breakfast. Unlike with older kids and adults, a toddler’s breakfast doesn’t need to be the biggest meal. Their stomachs are still small, and they need small portions. However, preschoolers need snacks as a power booster at regular intervals throughout the day.

Whole grain foods can be too filling for a preschooler. So you may want to give them a mix of white and wholegrain bread and cereals.

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers Should Include a Midmorning Snack

A nutritious snack is all that a child needs to get his constant supply of nutrients. Serve snacks at least 2 hours before lunch. Avoid processed foods and sweets, including sweetened beverages. Make sure the snack represents at least two food groups. This means you may want to combine proteins with fiber-rich carbs or dairy with fruits and vegetables. Options are galore when it comes to combining food groups. The idea is to serve a nutritious snack, which could be in the form of a pineapple paired with cottage cheese or whole grain cereal with milk. Or you may try mixing yogurt with banana, milk, and strawberry for a nutritious snack for preschoolers.

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers: Importance of Afternoon Mealtime

For lunch, your toddler needs a different serving. Choose the ingredients from other food groups that remain untouched thus far. If he had a serving of proteins and fruit for breakfast, you might want to choose carbs and fats for lunch. It is a good idea to serve whole-grain bread with mashed avocado along with cooked peas.

Too much juice between meals is not recommended, as it can easily create a feeling of fullness. As a result, they may try to skip meals altogether.

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers: Afternoon Snack A Must

As the day goes on, your toddler needs a dose of his afternoon snack to keep his energy level high. Serve him a snack two to three hours after the meal. Make sure the snack time is the same every day. This will help him prevent snacking mindlessly. You may want to serve a few cubes of cheddar cheese with thin apple slices. Even a hard-boiled egg makes a great afternoon snack after lunch.

Healthy Eating for Preschoolers: Make Dinner Mealtime Family Time

Often the last meal of the day, a dinner is that time when the whole family sits at the dining table for a family meal. However, since toddlers are usually tired after a long day full of activities, they tend to eat least. You do not need to push them to eat when they say they are full because often children regulate their intake when provided with a nutritious and structured meal plan each day. Trust your toddler’s appetite.

ALSO READ:  How To Help Kids With Homework: Tips for Parents

Evening Snack Optional for Preschoolers Healthy Eating Regimen

Since most kids usually hit the bed after dinner, an evening snack may not have much importance in the healthy eating regimen of toddlers. However, some kids may need a snack before bedtime. This is the time he needs a snack that is easy on his tiny tummy. A small cup of milk may be a good evening snack idea. Your toddler may not need an evening snack if there are fewer than two hours between dinner and bedtime.

Preschoolers Healthy Eating Regimen and Physical Activity Go Together

While a good diet is quintessential to a child’s healthy regimen, you cannot ignore the importance of physical activity for a child’s health. A child who enjoys a combination of healthy eating and exercising regimen is more likely to be healthy. Follow these tips on healthy eating for preschoolers, and you can help them pick good food habits.

Ravneet Kaur
Follow Us

Ravneet Kaur

Ravneet is a proficient author on mindful parenting, child psychology, and pregnancy-related issues. Her practical writing focuses on helping parents develop a compassionate understanding of child behavior and build strong family bonds. She also researches and writes on women’s health, pregnancy problems, relationship issues, teens, and child development and education.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com
Ravneet Kaur
Follow Us

Latest posts by Ravneet Kaur (see all)

Comments

Leave a comment below:

Dealing With Infertility Genetics Maximizing Your Fertility Ovulation Pre-Pregnancy Health Trying to Conceive
Go for Preconception Screening Tests Before Getting Pregnant
Must-Do Preconception Screening Tests Before Getting Pregnant
track ovulation to know your fertility window
The Fertility Window: Understanding and Tracking Ovulation
Pre-pregnancy health
12 Things To Do To Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
Baby names Baby Showers Complications Labor & Delivery Miscarriage and loss Postpartum Pregnancy Week by week Prenatal Care Signs of Pregnancy Your Developing Baby Your Pregnant Body
Tips To Cope With Postpartum Depression
How To Cope With Postpartum Depression
Gestational diabetes test
What Is Gestational Diabetes? – Signs, Risk Factors, Prevention
Organize A Memorable Baby Shower
How To Organize A Memorable Baby Shower
Childcare Diapering Gear Growth & Development Health & Safety Newborn Care Nurseries Nutrition & Eating Premature Babies Sleep Solutions Twins
Infant Feeding Tips for Mothers
Infant Feeding Tips for Mothers
Know About Premature Birth Complications
Premature Birth Complications for Babies
First Month Newborn Growth, Development Details
First Month Newborn Growth And Development
Activities & Entertainment Behavior & Discipline Childcare Feeding & Nutrition Growth & Development Health & Safety Potty Training Sleep Solutions Toddler Gear
Follow these parenting tips to become a better and more effective parent.
The Top 6 Tips to Become a Better and More Effective Parent
Which of the four types of parenting do you use?
How Does Your Parenting Style Affect Your Children?
Know Essential Toddler Gears
Essential Toddler Gears
Activities & Entertainment Behavior & Discipline Growth & Development Health & Safety Nutrition & Eating School & Education Sleep Solutions
It is important to get kids to drink water
10 Tricks To Get Kids To Drink Water
Celiac disease in kids
Celiac Disease in Kids: Tips for Gluten-Free Diet
Act to Bully-Proof Your Child
Tips To Bully-Proof Your Child
Behavior & Discipline Health & Safety Puberty & Sex School & Education Social & Emotional Issues Values & Responsibilities
Teen parenting focuses on conflict resolution
Teen Parenting: Parents’ Guide To Surviving Teen Years
Follow these parenting tips to become a better and more effective parent.
The Top 6 Tips to Become a Better and More Effective Parent
Which of the four types of parenting do you use?
How Does Your Parenting Style Affect Your Children?
Adoption Divorce Finances Food Grandparents Health & Lifestyle Holidays Home Safety Just for Dad Just for Mom Pets Sex & Relationships Technology Vacations Work
Menstrual Period After Pregnancy
Menstrual Period After Pregnancy: What To Expect
Healthy Family Lifestyle
Healthy Family Lifestyle Tips: How To Stay Healthy Together
Ensure pet safety at home
Pet Safety at Home: Tips To Pet Proof Your Home