Coaching

How to Fuel Your Kids the Healthy Way

By Nike Training

How to Fuel Your Kids the Healthy Way

Transform the treats your kids love into something more nutritious.

By making home-made versions of the packaged foods your kids crave, you can help them discover how real foods found at home can be fun and delicious. We've brought together four recipe suggestions to help supercharge snack time and reinvent the classics.

You probably have your breakfast and post-workout smoothie down to a science. But when it comes to fuelling your kids on the days they're super active, you might feel a little lost in your kitchen.

The great thing is you don't need to overthink it. Children typically have boundless energy in the tank, and they're likely not doing crazy-high-intensity activities for sustained periods. So their diet should function to support their growth and development overall, says Adam Feit, Performance Nutrition Coordinator at Precision Nutrition. Regardless of how active they are on any given day, that means prioritising lean proteins, minimally processed carbs, healthy fats, vegetables and lots of water—just like you should be doing for yourself.

Recreate their favourites using ingredients you can control.

Many foods designed to appeal to kids have loads of refined sugar and chemicals added to preserve freshness, says Feit. While a bag of crisps or a cookie is completely fine now and then (that goes for you, too, mum and dad), you want your children to fill up on whole, nutritious foods as often as possible. One way to do that, instead of labelling things as good or bad (which could provoke the start of disordered thinking around food), is to recreate their favourites using ingredients you can control. "Not only can this help them think about food as a bigger concept than the packaged stuff they see on TV, but they'll also have fun in the kitchen with you, which can encourage a positive relationship with food itself", Feit adds.

Try these home-made eats, which are rich in healthy carbs to nourish their growing bodies. The point isn't to deprive them of treats they love. It's for your kids to see that you can build equally delicious, feel-good snacks and meals with real foods at home.

How to Fuel Your Kids the Healthy Way

Porridge with fresh fruit

Flavoured instant porridge might be convenient and tasty, but it almost always has a heavy dose of added sugar. Replace it with plain oats, then throw a serving of fresh berries or apple slices on top and a dash of cinnamon, suggests Feit. You can always mix in nut butter and oat milk for some more protein and flavour, or even a little honey or brown sugar if your kids find it bland without, but try to let the fruit do the sweet-talking, he says.

Protein waffles or pancakes

Okay, maybe don't market them to your kids this way. But skip the boxed mix and whip up a batter made from oats, cottage cheese, eggs and cinnamon, says Feit, for a breakfast that'll power them up with more than just simple carbs. Chocolate chips or blueberries optional.

Trail mix

Granola bars typically have a huge list of ingredients and sugar sources. Instead, have your kids choose their favourite snacks, such as pretzels, to add to a blend of nuts and dried fruit, like cranberries. The more choice they have in it, the more fun they'll likely have with it, says Feit.

Fruit "pizza"

Kids are more likely to try new fruits if they're enjoying the experience. Skip the sugary fruit juice and help them get their daily dose by building a fruit pizza. Start with a wide base (think a big slice of watermelon or honeydew) then layer on several toppings, such as blueberries, sliced banana or pomegranate seeds.

As you and your kids experiment with more foods, make sure you ask them one question: "Do you feel good when you eat this?" "Children are remarkably in tune with how food makes them feel, like if their stomach hurts, they're full or they're tired", says Feit. By encouraging your kids to reflect on how the foods they eat affect them, they're more likely to choose ones that make them feel, think and perform best on their own. And you're more likely to get a handy sous chef—so it's a win-win for all.

Fruit "pizza"

Kids are more likely to try new fruits if they're enjoying the experience. Skip the sugary fruit juice and help them get their daily dose by building a fruit pizza. Start with a wide base (think a big slice of watermelon or honeydew) then layer on several toppings, such as blueberries, sliced banana or pomegranate seeds.

As you and your kids experiment with more foods, make sure you ask them one question: "Do you feel good when you eat this?" "Children are remarkably in tune with how food makes them feel, like if their stomach hurts, they're full or they're tired", says Feit. By encouraging your kids to reflect on how the foods they eat affect them, they're more likely to choose ones that make them feel, think and perform best on their own. And you're more likely to get a handy sous chef—so it's a win-win for all.

How to Fuel Your Kids the Healthy Way

Join Nike Training Club

Access our world-class experts and trainers for help staying active and healthy.

How to Fuel Your Kids the Healthy Way

Join Nike Training Club

Access our world-class experts and trainers for help staying active and healthy.

Related Stories

Super-Human Strength

Coaching

Super-Human Strength

Family Freeze

Coaching

Family Freeze

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

Coaching

Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Movement

Strength Remix: Family Edition

Coaching

Strength Remix: Family Edition

How to Run a Better Marathon

Coaching

How to Run a Better Marathon