I am starting two new books for school – Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health, by Susan B. Roberts and Melvin B. Heyman, and Superimmunity for Kids, by Leo Galland. So, over the next week or so I may be sharing some of the information I learn. I know a lot of PWN readers have kids or plan on having kids, so hopefully you will find the information valuable.
I am just getting started, but one of the things I read this morning is something that I think is important to share. While it may seem obvious, many parents may forget that children have very different nutritional needs than adults. Many adults try to eat a diet that is very high in fiber, low in fats, and doesn’t include things like oils, butter or red meat. While this may be the proper diet for mom or dad, it is not the proper diet for a child. If your toddler or child is not getting enough fats, calories and other nutrients, they can develop developmental problems and even start to crave the foods their body needs. Kids should be eating full fat dairy products (if you decide to give them dairy and they do not have an allergy), and they have no business using things like fat-free salad dressings or avoiding butter.
Many times I have mentioned the importance of feeding your family ONE meal at night. Kids and parents can enjoy the same foods, with some adjustments as necessary (certain spices, for example, can be too strong for young kids). However, if the parents are on a restricted diet, they need to make sure their children are obtaining enough fats and calories from their meals.
According to Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health, there are 8 key nutrients that parents should focus on when it comes to giving their children the best start in life. These nutrients have the biggest impact on metabolic programming, which includes brain development, motor development and even personality. The 8 key nutrients are as follows:
- Folate and other B-vitamins
- Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C and E
I would add water to this list as well. Kids drink so much sugary juice and not enough water, in my opinion. All of the above nutrients are abundant in fresh, whole foods. Therefore, a whole foods diet is just as important for your kids as it is for you! Don’t waste their appetites on junky prepackaged foods that may fill them up, but will only provide them with trace amounts of the above key nutrients. Start them out on the right track, and that way they will develop a palate for healthy, fresh foods. This will benefit them throughout their entire life! And if you’re trying to change some bad habits at a young age, that’s okay too – better to start now than just avoid it altogether. Make adjustments slowly and include them in the process to make it more fun.
Have a great weekend!