14 Jun Part 2 – Nourishing Superheroes
“As with other addictive substances, exposure is the key to setting up the addiction food cycle. Thus, if you want to get humans addicted to highly processed food, you need to expose them to it at the youngest possible age” – Dr Bill Wilson, US obesity specialist.
The primary goal for children’s nutrition, is to turn them into the healthiest children and ultimately the healthiest adults as we possible can. We start doing this by educating ourselves and then teaching children the importance of eating well and how to eat well.
So, I’m just going to give some practical tips on how we do this, but firstly, a brief outline of the 3 Golden Rules as outlined in this months giveaway “SUPER FOOD for SUPERCHILDREN
1 – No Added Sugar
Excess sugar in your kid’s diet will be causing spikes in blood sugar levels which changes behaviour, increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in adult life, causes teeth cavities and many more health issues.
Unfortunately sugar is also effectively a drug for children. Sugar laden food is highly addictive as it stimulates the pleasure centres of the brain resulting in binging, cyclical cravings and, when we take it out of our diets it can cause withdrawal symptoms. The less children are exposed to sugar in earlier life the more likely that they won’t develop a ‘sweet tooth’ as an adult.
It is obviously hard to completely protect children from sugar laden foods, but if you can eliminate it from everyday eating and only have it on these occasions such as a party, then the benefits in your child’s health and well being will be enormous.
Treat all of these ingredients as “added sugar” –
2 – No Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates have been processed and broken down to make food taste “better” and create efficiencies in the manufacturing process and generate a consistent product (and profit margin). White bread is a classic example where kids seem to automatically prefer this cheaper, but sweeter option.
Unfortunately, processed carbohydrates are devoid of any type of nutrition (and often nutrition has to be added back in after processing) and the body breaks these down very easily to form sugar in the body.
There is also an increasing body of evidence suggesting that gluten based grains (such as wheat, barley, rye) are having significant impact on the structure and health of the gut, causing chronic digestion difficulties and diseases such as autoimmune issues, nervous system issues and links with some cancers. The evidence is pointing to “leaky gut syndrome” which is activated when gliadin (a protein component of gluten) activates the release of zonulin which increases the permeability of the gut lining.
Better choices are non-gluten ancient grains and seeds such as quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
3 – Keep Food Real & Unprocessed
I think this speaks for itself. This is the foundation of healthy eating.
There is big money for food manufacturers to lure parents into thinking their processed packaged food is a part of everyday healthy eating, when in reality these types of foods are laden high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and packed with chemical preservatives and colorants (check out the Doritos label. Is this actually food?!?!)
So How DO I Get My Kids To Eat Real Food?
Change 1 Meal or Food Item At A Time
Start cutting back or removing 1 food item at a time. If cereals or toast are the major foods for breakfast, try eggs, which are nutritious, quick and easy to prepare. Try eggs scrambled, poached, fried or even a breakfast frittata.
Planning your meals and make sure you have the necessary ingredients on hand.
Use a Meal Planner (Download one here) and have healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, hardboiled eggs, pre cut vegetables and fruits on hand and ready to go.
Get The Kids Involved & Let Them Have Choices
Give kids a list of healthy foods and ask them to choose. This will help them feel they have some control with what they eat.
Also, letting kids leave 1 thing on their plate will also help them feel they have choices and have some control with their food.
Left Overs are you friend!
Make an effort to double up on dinner ingredients and then freeze leftovers or have them for lunch the next day.
Meatballs, cooked sausages, quiches and left over roast meat are all items that can be popped in the freezer and used for school lunches or snacks.
Don’t Give Up
Change takes time and can be a challenge, but the benefits for children’s health and well-being is priceless.
Meals don’t have to be complicated to be tasty and full of nutrition.
There are some many beautiful whole foods available and different ways to eat these foods, such as baked, raw and steamed. Experiment with new foods and ways to prepare these foods such as making zucchini noodles and cauliflower mash with butter and cheese.
Lunch Box Ideas for Kids
Lunches for kids can be the biggest challenge so here are some simple ideas to help make lunch times more nutritious.
We want to nourish and provide a constant source of energy for kids. We want to avoid foods that will cause fluctuations in energy.
- Use cold meats or lettuce to roll up sandwich fillings instead of processed breads. Just try this once or twice a week and invest in a bento style lunch box. This is a lunch box that has different compartments so a variety of different foods can be used so keeping lunchtime interesting.
- If you are using sandwich bread, trying switching to a thin wrap such as a Mountain bread wrap. Again, just try changing once or twice during the week.
- Cut up different vegetables and fruits in a variety of shapes.
- Pop in a boiled egg.
- Try some mini muffins or quiches.
- Nuts or seeds depending on what is allowed at your school.
- Cut up some cheese into cubes or sticks.
- Try some fresh coconut flesh.
- Try adding some mini meat balls or chicken drumsticks
- Try a smoothie containing healthy fats such as coconut oil, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
What do I do next?
Stop buying foods that are high in sugar, processed grains and high in refined carbohydrate. Take away temptation!
Begin stocking up on whole foods only and focus on foods that are nutrient dense such as healthy fats, grass feed meats and good sources of carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits.