Healthier food for kids

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Our kids are getting bigger. Between junk food, fizzy drinks and lower activity levels, the rates of overweight children are reaching frightening proportions. So, the time has definitely come to get kids into the habit of healthy eating.

Here are our top 10 foods for kids:

Oats make the perfect breakfast food — they are full of iron, zinc and thiamin and oat cereals and porridge will provide plenty of slow-release energy.

Eggs are a great source of protein and a host of other nutrients, including vitamin B12, folate and vitamin D to name but a few. Eggs can be eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet but remember that young children should not be given raw eggs or eggs with runny yolks.

Nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter provide healthy fat and protein. Why not try making your own by simply crushing or grinding up nuts of your choice.

Yogurt is a great source of calcium and can be easier to digest than milk. Bacterial cultures are very beneficial to colon health, especially if your child has been on antibiotics. If you are looking for an active culture look for the word live on the pack. Watch the sugar content though — a good idea is to buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fresh fruit.

Melons are packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, B vitamins and many minerals and the sweet and juicy fruit are a favourite with children.

Broccoli is one of the best vegetables for anyone, especially growing kids, due to its calcium content and a whole host of other nutrients, such as potassium, beta-carotene and B vitamins. If your child isn't too keen on green veggies, they might just be tempted to eat these mini-trees.

Sweet potatoes contain 30mg beta-carotene per 130g serving (2 medium sweet potatoes) — it would take 23 servings of broccoli (80g a serving) to get that same amount. And with 3g of fibre per serving, sweet potatoes deserve a place at the table.

Protein is essential for growing kids and there are lots of different sources. Good choices include meat, fish and poultry, legumes, beans (combined with a grain to make a complete protein) and soya products like tofu.

Wholegrains offer a lot more nutrition than refined carbohydrates, providing fibre as well as a range of vitamins and minerals. But remember that a high fibre diet can fill kids up so much that they cant actually eat enough food to get the calories they need so serve a mix of wholegrain and white bread, breakfast cereal, rice and pasta.

Fruit juice provides vitamin C and many juices are available fortified with vitamins A, C, E and calcium. Fruit juice can be a great way to help your child meet their 5-a-day but offer it in moderation and with meals as some are high in natural sugars.

Go to the Tesco Healthy Living website

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