Taking care of kids in this day and age can be tough, especially when it comes to healthy eating! If we didn’t grow up eating wholesome food, we may not know where to start. However, it is possible to learn the basics of holistic nutrition, even if you were raised on processed food (as I was). In this article, I offer you some practical dietary advice for healthy kids.
Kids Eat Real Food!
Kids need REAL food to grow and thrive. The biggest pet peeve of mine is the assumption that kid & adult food is different and that they will only eat processed food. Of course mac n’cheese, chicken nuggets, and pizza are acceptable to most kids if you buy into that logic and that’s all you feed them. These manufactured meals offer tons of calories, but very little nutritional value. A child raised on this diet is likely to become overweight but at the same time be severely malnourished.
The increase in chronic disease and health challenges of children in this country are largely do to nutrient deficiencies, poor digestion, and toxic overload (also lack of exercise, sleep, and play).
It takes more time and persistence, but continually offering your child real homemade food is the most loving thing you can do for them. I understand the challenge. Some kids are very picky and their tastes continually change. But it’s still wise to be persistent in offering them a variety of whole food, knowing that they will one day make better choices.
My son still doesn’t eat kale and spinach (unless they’re in smoothies), but he will eat broccoli, peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes. And now that he’s a reasonable 8 year old, we’re able to get him to eat even more veggies in an Asian stir fry or noodle dish. You need to be persistent and continue to model what a healthy diet looks like and your kids will come around eventually!
Dietary Advice For Healthy Kids
Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates are the basic macrobiotics for balanced nutrition.
If you are under the impression that fat is bad, I’m sorry, but you have been greatly misled by our government and the American Heart Association. Read The One Surprising Thing You Need To Add To Your Diet to learn about why good quality fat is essential for our health and why you should reconsider it’s worth.
Basic dietary guidelines/macrobiotics by age:
~ Complex carbohydrates should consist of mostly organic vegetables and fruits in a 2:1 ratio with no more than 3 servings of whole grains per day. Try seasonal vegetables & fruits, oatmeal, rice, polenta, and buckwheat.
~ Protein should be organic and sourced naturally. Animal sources contain the highest amount of protein per serving. Make sure the animals were fed organic food diets without hormones or processed feeds. Try organic grass fed beef, organic chicken, wild caught salmon, organic whole fat yogurt, organic eggs, nuts and nut butter, and beans/lentils.
~ Fat is the main source of energy for infants from breastmilk. It continues to be important for a child’s brain to develop as they start to explore different foods. Try avocados and their oil, coconut and it’s oil or milk, flax oil, olives and their oil, egg yolk, organic butter, organic nuts & butters, and deep sea fish.
You don’t need to be super strict about the percentages of each macrobiotic, but just be sure that each group is represented and that your child is eating lots of vegetables, protein, and plenty of natural fat.
Dietary Supplements for Kids
Vitamins and minerals are the micronutrients that we all need for our cells to function at their optimum. Unfortunately, farming practices in this country have severely depleted the soil. Even organic fruits and vegetables do not have the nutrients they once did decades ago. Either we need to grow 100% of our food, making sure to feed the soil continuously through organic fertilizers & composting, or we need to supplement.
Choosing supplements can be challenging. A good place to start is visiting your local health food store and speaking to a clerk who has experience using the supplements. My son currently takes dōTERRA’s A2Z chewable multivitamin and IQ Mega Omega-3 oil (he actually asks to have his fish oil everyday!)
Gut Health Basics
I’ve already written about gut health extensively, so revisit these articles to understand what damages gut health (more than most people realize!) and how you can get it back on track. It’s the basis of strong immunity, so an aspect of nutrition you don’t want to ignore!
Ideally, try to add fermented vegetables to your child’s meals 1-2 times per day. Pickled cucumbers and carrots, yogurt with no added sugar (add in bananas for the sweetness), and kombucha are usually well accepted. I also suggest supplementing with a probiotic. My son loves dōTERRA’s PB Assist Jr.
I hope these suggestions are clear and get you off to a good start! If you need more help, please post in the comments or reach out to me personally with questions.
You can also revisit these blog posts:
A Simple Guide To An Organic Lifestyle
3 Quick, Healthy Breakfasts That Will Set You Up For Success
And here’s my favorite websites for kids’ nutrition that will give you even more guidance:
Children’s Health Technique Seminar, Annette Schippel, DC & Doris Kutz-Compton, DC, July 22-23, 2017
Do you have any dietary advice for healthy kids that would benefit other parents? Please let us know in the comments!
Well wishes to you all…