Top 10 foods to boost your child’s health and happiness

Many children in the UK eat far too much processed, sugary and salty foods. Although it seems to make them happy the moment these foods enter their mouths (because it tastes so good) as soon as it actually gets into their bodies it makes them sluggish, restless and unhappy. So now we turn our attention to top 10 foods to boost your child’s health and happiness!

Feeding them more nutrient dense food will lead to energetic, fulfilled and healthy children who can throw themselves into everything with a new vitality (not to mention keeping doctor visits to a minimum). 

1. Salmon

This oily fish contains high doses of omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for bone, joint, brain health and more. It’s especially important for children because it helps with their cognitive ability and brain development. Aim to get at least two portions of oily fish into their diet per week and they’ll even be able to concentrate better at school!

2. Fresh fruit and fresh veg

I know this might sound obvious but it’s a common problem in this day and age that kids eat too much sugar and not enough fresh healthy food.

Getting five portions of fruit and veg a day will supply them with as many nutrients as possible to help them function properly and as a result it will keep them happy. Try vegetable spaghetti as a sneaky way to get some more veg into their system, put some bolognese sauce on it and they won’t know the difference!

3. Lean red meat

Many kids these days who eat unhealthily are lacking in energy, vitality and a love for life. By having lean red meat for dinner a couple of times a week this will help to supply them with enough iron and Vitamin B to keep them energetic, healthy and happy. There’s nothing worse than a tired unhappy child, right?

4. Chicken

Similarly, chicken has high amounts of the essential iron and B vitamins to keep your kids going all day. Chicken is so versatile it’s great to put into wraps for lunch boxes, fun fajitas or grill with veg for dinner. The possibilities really are endless!

5. Nuts

If you’re worried about the choking hazard here don’t be. Rather than give your child a handful of nuts you could either ground them up yourself or bake ground almonds into some sweet healthy treats to put in their lunchboxes. Nuts are amazing as they are full of a host of vitamins and taste great in savoury as well as sweet dishes!

6. Green veg

Green veg, more so than other veg, tend to have higher amounts of iron which is vital for kids’ energy levels. A lack of iron and the other key ingredient of green veggies, Vitamin B, will normally lead to fatigue and as a result probably tantrums too! Opt for spinach, broccoli and kale for the most nutrients.

7. Sweet potato

Try sweet potato wedges or fries as an alternative to chips because their high Vitamin A content is fantastic for skin and nourishing the little ones from the inside out. Plus, they’re naturally sweet so they always go down a treat and you can even get them in lots of restaurants now as a side dish.

8. Yogurt

I’m not talking about Muller or Ski brands here. Most fruity yogurts are full of sugar and will just leave your child pining for more of the same sweet stuff. The best you can buy is authentic Greek yogurt, which most supermarkets sell, as it’s high in protein which means it will keep those little tums fuller for much longer and it’s also one of the best sources of calcium to keep those bones strong!

9. Avocado

It’s probably not the first thing you think to give your kid for lunch but it’s packed with healthy fats and Vitamin E which helps to protect the cells in our bodies from damage. As you know, children can be especially susceptible to getting sick so it’s vitally important to get as much avocado into their diet as possible (as well as other Vitamin E rich foods) to help their bodies fight and better still, prevent illnesses.

10. Porridge

Oats are known to help lower cholesterol which is great, but more importantly for children they are full of fibre which many tend to lack because of their highly processed diets. Aside from the fibre in fruit and veg, fibre in porridge at breakfast not only keeps you full for hours because it releases energy slowly into the body it also helps to keep hearts healthy. Porridge is a fun, versatile food because kids can choose which fruit and toppings they want to add (as long as it’s not chocolate sprinkles!).

As you can see, by getting a variety of foods into your child’s diet you can rest in the knowledge that you’re filling their bodies with adequate amounts of nutrients and helping them to be fit and happy. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it one day and will likely pass it on to their own kids later down the line too, what a great investment!

Safia Yallaoui

Safia is a lifestyle blogger and coach at the fitness membership company MoveGB. She also has an MA in journalism and has done a variety of freelance work in print, radio and online. After losing 14lbs a few years ago Safia got into health and fitness realising the most important thing about clean eating is nourishing your body. She loves to keep in shape with weight training and going to fitness classes. Whilst training to be a Nutritional Therapist she is learning how to alleviate health problems by including or omitting certain foods and has a keen interest in the affects of sugar on a person's physical and mental health.

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