Childhood Nutrition and Its Importance
I know from experience that good health stems directly from proper nutrition. In our household, food is medicine. My daughter is nearing 4 years old and I must pat myself on the back for starting her off right with a diet of whole foods and minimal processed foods. She has never set foot in a McDonald’s and she has a strong opinion on killing animals.
Of course, there have been times when I slip and let her have some dark chocolate chips at breakfast…but it is alongside a bowl of oatmeal and bag of carrots. I am not too worried about her. My daughter has always eaten what I eat. I do not make a separate meal for her.
She eats curry.
She eats kale.
She eats raw salmon if she is feeling a little omnivorey.
What drives me crazy is something I've noticed in the past few weeks when we went to a few dinner parties is the split meal. The split meal is an adult preparing a delicious dinner, only to throw down a bag of fast food in front of the child…what the hell is that about? That is not the way to teach your child about nutrition or what is real food.
Yes, I may sound a little preachy right now, but it kills me to see that happen. Children can be total jerks, but giving them shitty food isn’t going to help with their behavior. It will negatively impact it.
I strongly believe in feeding children the food that you eat.
Children deserve wholesome food in the right portions…it isn’t that hard. It can be hard for parents who have already started their children on an “I eat differently from my family” diet.
Here is an easy checklist for the foods your child should consume everyday:
A minimum of 1 cup fresh or frozen (never canned) fruit that is low in sugar. This includes blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, green apples, lemon, cranberries, blueberries, papaya, nectarines, peaches, honeydew melon, and apricots.
A minimum of 1 cup, but aim for 3 cups fresh or frozen vegetables that include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, lettuces, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, green beans, carrots, and peppers. Keep potatoes to a minimum and never in the form of a French fry (which isn't a food by the way...it's junk).
No more than 1–2 serving of 1/4 cup cooked grain. The best choices include quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, and millet. Grains are not a dietary requirement, however.
Protein should be half of your body weight or roughly 1 gram of protein for every kilogram. For example, a 40 pound child needs around 20 grams of protein, but you don’t need to keep count.
Serving suggestions would be around 2 ounces or a 1/4 cup of the protein source. Solid protein sources include tofu, tempeh, beans, fish, etc…chicken nuggets aren't protein but chicken breast/thighs/legs can be.
Please let your child drink 6, 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Keep water bottles loaded and ready. Avoid milk, soda, and juice. It is all garbage and your child doesn’t need it for a healthy life.
No more than 3 teaspoons of oil per day. Use olive oil sesame oil, and coconut oil, among others.
I suggest 1/4 cup of seeds for kids each day. This includes pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seed, and other seeds.
Sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, kombucha. 1 serving daily.
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