28 Jun Feeding Kids
All My Child Wants is Cheetos and Mac N Cheese!
“Chicken nuggets or pizza please!”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard that response when my children were younger I would be a millionaire.
I certainly am not perfect. My children have had hot dogs, pizza, birthday cake, chips and have occasionally eaten something off the floor that has been there longer than five seconds. But as I studied nutrition and became more aware of what was in our food, I started paying attention to what I was feeding them as well.
I speak to many holistic health care providers that see children day in and day out with chronic ear infections, colds, sinus infections and sore throats. What I’ve heard from those practitioners is that many of these ailments flare up because of a child’s diet, and that tweaking the diet can help bolster the child’s immune system and ward off some of these illnesses.
I can already hear what you’re saying. “But my kids REFUSE to eat vegetables. It’s hard enough to get protein in them!” I know, I hear you.
Once again, consistency is key. Our children’s plates shouldn’t look different from ours. Half vegetables and fruits, a quarter protein, and the other quarter whole grains, along with healthy oils and fats and a lot of water throughout the day!
As much as possible, choose ingredients that are organic, local and unrefined. Stay away from items that have a long list of ingredients as that probably means there are chemicals in the food.
While I don’t generally advocate deceiving our children, I don’t think it hurts to mix certain vegetables that aren’t identifiable into a child’s favorite dish (even if in pureed form when they are young). Brownies made with chickpeas? Try out the recipe below.
Watch out for extra sugar added to so much of our food, including yogurt, applesauce, tomato sauce, and child-friendly protein bars. Fruit juice often contains unbelievable amounts of sugar that our children don’t need, so if they’re set on having it, limit to one serving per day, make it the highest quality juice you can find, and even consider cutting it with water.
I always like to have fun with child clients when discussing food or a healthy lifestyle. I let them be the health coach for a bit, or I’ll have our meeting in a treehouse, or I’ve even been known to try sprinting faster than a dog to demonstrate how much fun exercise can be. Involving children in the process produces the best results and it’s easy to do this at home too. Let your child be your sous chef for the evening (of course, age appropriate tasks only!). Not only will this pique their interest in food and flavors, it will give them an added sense of independence.
Still struggling for recipe ideas? Here’s a few kid-friendly recipes to get you started: