When it comes to kids health and nutrition, we sometimes assume that it will be different than an adult’s. After all, kids are still growing so they must need more calcium and multivitamins, right?
A safe and logical assumption, indeed. But the truth is that they need the same kind of nutrition you do. Which makes it easy, because you can figure that a child can eat the same balanced meal that you’re eating. Same dinner, same veggies, etc.
Nutrition comes best from food, for adults and kids alike. Getting a multitude of different vitamins and minerals from food is a fairly easy task. How can that go wrong?
Here are some tips to get the most out of your food for you and your kids.
Buy Organic/Farm Fresh
No, it’s not just a silly trend. There are studies that show up to a 40% increase in nutrients for organic versus conventionally grown veggies. It isn’t magic either. This might come as a surprise, but it’s quite logical. Many conventional growing processes involve an acceleration of growth, thus cutting time short for real cultivation of all the proper nutrients a vegetable or fruit really should have.
There are many health gurus out there who claim that an organic way of life is not as expensive as people think it is. For that, I would have to disagree and say that it could go either way.
If you’re planting a garden and eating off the produce, then absolutely! The cost is cut down but monetarily but significantly increased in time. However, it is well worth it, especially considering that it may encourage your kids to eat more.
What’s that, you say?
There are studies that suggest a more open willingness for a child to eat dinner if they help to cook it. Imagine if they also planted the seed that grew the broccoli and spent a season watering it! Everyone appreciates a long term payoff, and kids are no different. From cutting the stalk off the root in the garden to cutting it up in the kitchen, a more invested child is a less picky one.
Ditch the Sugar
This truly can’t be emphasized enough. This stuff is everywhere. Due to it’s highly addictive properties, food companies often hide it under different names in some of the most obscure products.
There’s a reason sugar is often referred to as an anti-nutrient. That seemingly harmless little carb actually decreases nutrient absorption. Need some sweet in your life? You can probably guess what nature’s response to that is.
I don’t want to demonize all forms of sugar. If you must have some sweet, try to stick with the more natural versions such as honey, maple, coconut sugar, etc. These sugars at the least have some nutrients to offer. Remember, the darker the carb, the more nutrient dense it is likely to be. You’ll find that most nutrients are not stark white.
No, that is not a typo. For years, the general assumption was that ‘eating fat makes you fat’. However, even Time Magazine has recently debunked this notion, and the diet trends are catching on (before Time covered it, might I add).
Why is fat important though?
Aside the fact that good fats have their own benefits all to themselves, they actually increase nutrient absorption. The most notable of which being vitamins A,D,K, and E.
This is not a free McFried Tasty Fat Bomb ticket though, there are many different kinds of fats and you do not want to over consume the wrong ones.
Yet again, as with the veggies, quality counts. Vegetable spread is not butter, and some might argue whether or not it’s even food. Consider your source.
Good fat tastes wonderful. It truly is not hard to get a kid to eat an organic piece of toast with grass fed butter. Or to scarf down some roasted broccoli cooked in olive oil, the same broccoli she cut up herself only minutes before.
The great news about your kids dinner plate reflecting yours is that you can all eat the same dinner together. Not only is that physically satisfying, but socially. Involvement equals success, for everyone.
Combining these few tips could dramatically affect you and your kids nutritional intake. Going organic, cutting the sugar, and increasing the good fats enhances the quality and the flavor.