Real food and pure water are what our bodies are designed to consume. These simple but powerful basics improve energy and mood, and allow your child’s body to grow optimally as it was designed.
Good hydration is essential for health. Sipping water between meals, not with meals, assists with good digestion
Meal structure can be simple when we eat real foods.
1 serve of protein approx. the size of the child’s fist or palm e.g. meat, fish, eggs, cheese
+ 1 serve of fat e.g. avocado, olive oil, coconut oil/cream, cream, butter, meat fat
+1-3 vegetables, aim to eat the colours of a rainbow, not just greens!
+ carbohydrate like rice or pasta for variety, but not essential (a receptacle for the fat!)
Fats and animal proteins are nutrient-dense, and a great source of many valuable vitamins and minerals as well as essential fats and essential protein. On the other hand, feeding a high-carbohydrate diet means you are eating a lot more bulk, and can lead to a lack of essential nutrients and/or sugar dysregulation (think Hangry).
Always think protein and fat first, even for snacks*! These sustain a child (or adult) like big logs on a camp fire. Carbohydrate is like kindling and you need to refuel frequently to keep going.
For those who are ‘fussy’, grate veggies into bolognaise sauce. A blender is wonderful to conceal them in soups and sauces. Remember to keep offering veggies at intervals, without making a big deal of it
Eating real, non-processed food allows food intuition to be trusted and the body will reset if given a chance. Sugar, processed foods and processed vegetable oils all interfere with the body’s innate intelligence. Healthy eating is not about limiting food or deprivation, but it is also respecting your child’s appetite if they are not hungry or very hungry!
Encourage your child to try new foods, without being limited by advance judgements about what your child will like or dislike. Children’s palates change, and you can explain this to them, even using examples of what you have grown to love as an adult – perhaps mushrooms or olives? It is okay to accept what they don’t like, but give encouragement to try that food again in the future, and remind them that ‘you may like it as you grow up’.
Please don’t turn food into a religion. As soon as children are old enough, offer them choices. If you don’t eat meat for example, allow them to try meat when they are out or visiting others.
Whether a child or an adult, we are all bio-individual.
Put small platters on the table and allow children to choose what they eat, to encourage variety especially when eating with others. Sitting and snacking or eating a meal together creates the opportunity for you and others to lead by example, whilst also remembering we are individuals with different preferences. Don’t underestimate the power of ‘what they see is what they do’.