FAMILY MEAL PLANNING PART TWO: NUTRITION FOR TODAY’S CHILDREN
Nutrition for Today’s Children
To promote good nutrition, we need to set a good example for our kids.
As parents, our focus should be to reduce processed foods, eliminate unwanted additives, and increase the nutritional value of daily meals. These few basic rules will go a long way to ensuring that our kids are well nourished with less exposure to harmful toxins.
Children who are overweight or obese are suffering with truly preventable health problems. Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Increased consumption of fast food and junk food, combined with decreased levels of activity are undoubtedly the primary factors behind obesity, type 2 diabetes, hormone imbalances in teens, and a variety of other health problems.
Healthy Kids are Happy Kids!
Avoid processed foods – White bread, white pasta, white rice, store-bought cookies, chips… Food processing reduces overall nutritional value, particularly vitamin and mineral content and leaves us with foods relatively high in calories and low in nutrients. In addition, processed foods often contain hydrogenated fats, which have been found to damage cellular membranes – a very important consideration for growing children. Refined sugar and flour stress the metabolism, disrupt digestion and slow brain function.
Avoid additives – Read labels carefully and avoid ingredients with a “chemical” name. A number of additives are used to increase shelf life, enhance flavour, and improve appearance and texture. Many of these additives contribute to digestive problems, allergies, brain fog, acne, early sexual maturation, hyperactive behaviour, among other problems. A good “rule of thumb” is: if you can’t pronounce it, you most likely don’t want to consume it.
Fresh is best – Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grain products, and on freshness and quality. Food in its natural, unrefined state contains valuable nutrients, including live enzymes and fibre, necessary for childhood development. Purchase local and in season and choose organic as much as possible. Visit EWG.org to view there Clean 15/Dirty Dozen Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Shop selectively – Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store, the perimeter of the store is where you will find more of the fresh, whole food items. Health food stores are particularly good sources of healthy snacks, pure juices and healthy lunch ideas.
FOOD FOR KIDS
When making baked goods increase nutrients by adding flax meal, wheat germ, blackstrap molasses, seeds (ground or whole), grated carrots or zucchini to your recipes. Choose alternatives to white flour; bake with whole wheat flour, nut flour or buckwheat flour. Try some of the following: whole grain cinnamon raisin bread, buckwheat waffles with yogurt and berries, whole wheat pita, whole grain breads.
Serve raw vegetables with healthy dips or celery sticks with peanut butter or other nut butters. Add a variety of vegetables to your homemade pizza, add grated carrots to your homemade spaghetti sauce or finely chop a variety of vegetables to add to your favourite homemade soup. Get creative and incorporate more in your favourite recipes!
Don’t over do it on the fruit, as it is high in natural sugar. Fruit should be limited to a maximum of 2-3 servings a day. Applesauce and dried fruit make good healthy snack choices.
Homemade chicken fingers, tuna melts, homemade fresh fish sticks, vegetable burgers, homemade pizza (with whole wheat crust), fresh turkey burgers, chilli with ground chicken or turkey and beans, homemade soups with beans and or chicken are all good protein sources.
The Kid’s will love these and they are easy enough that they can help you make them!!
½ cup peanut butter (peanuts only) or other nut butter (almond, hazelnut, cashew)
½ cup honey
Melt together in pot on stove
Add any of the following until very thick:
Unsweetened coconut Dried cranberries
Puffed cereal (works very well in this recipe) Raisins
Dried fruit (chopped) Oatmeal
Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin) Nuts
Spread into buttered 9”x9” glass pan and slice into bars.
Refridgerate for a couple of hours to set Enjoy!
CLICK HERE for PART ONE
Sending A Wish Your Way For A Well BALANCED Day