Healthy Food Swaps for Kids so they don’t miss out on nourishment

As a parent, you find yourself holding back frustrations more and more against your child’s picky eating habits. Your frustrations are valid, but so are your child’s taste preferences because they are still developing. If you are worried about them not getting all the important nutrients because of their pickiness, there are plenty of swaps so they do not miss out on nourishment. Nourishment is the slice of life and through food manipulation, creative swaps and a little help from nutritional supplements (eg. Pediasure) in the meantime, help put your child’s diet on track so that they grow up happy.1, 7

Veggie Dislikes: Tomatoes, cucumbers, green capsicum, cabbage

Alternatives: Usually children have an aversion to these classic items due to their texture and the strong ‘green’ smell. They have plenty of water, rich in antioxidant vitamin C, bone strength supporting vitamin K, eye health & immunity supporting vitamin A. To not miss out on these important nutrients, swap with a variety of colorful sweet potatoes, sweet oranges, strawberries, watermelons, or pumpkins or their seeds.1, 4

Meat Dislikes: Most fish and boiled eggs

Alternatives: Aside from any allergies, fish and eggs are disliked due to their, for lack of better description, fishy and sulfur like smell. To get cell preserving selenium, brain & eye development supporting fatty acids, and all-important protein for muscles, swap with free range chicken, Brazil nuts, any cheese, and nut oils or butters.1, 4

Grain Dislikes: Oates, corn, brown rice

Alternatives: Children do not like these fibrous and healthy carbohydrates rich foods because of their hard and flavorless taste on their own. Fiber is important for satiation and bulking stool to help with bowls. It is also important for feeding the good bacteria in the gut to fight off the bad ones to support your child’s immune system. To make up for it, swap fruit purees, fruit juices with pulp, homemade jams, natural sun-dried fruits, or fortified cereals or oatmeals.1, 2, 3

Can supplements replace a few of the swaps?

The easiest way to get children used to the common dislikes is to start them early and feed them often. When shopping, learn to read labels because it is not that your child cannot have ‘junk food’, they can if you make it at home where you can control and swap with healthier ingredients. If you still need a little help filling in some nutritional gaps, supplements can help. Choose versatile supplements in powder or liquid form that contain the essential growth nutrients like vitamin C, K, A, selenium, high quality proteins, and prebiotic fibers. For example, Pediasure, recommended by experts nationwide,5, 6 contains the right proportion of 37 key nutrients, including the ones mentioned, to promote the development of strong bones and build muscle tissue. Speak with a registered pediatrician to see if PediaSure is right for your child.7

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  5. Alarcon P et al. Pediatr.2003; 42: 209-217
  6. Huynh DTT. et al. J Hum Diet: doi 10-1111/jhn. 12306