With the range of articles and misleading titles available, it’s hard to find the right nutritional advice for your kids. We also want them to enjoy food! To guide your child’s nutrition, we have some great advice from Dr. Sears, including allergies and using food to improve your child’s emotional responses.
Guiding Your Child’s Nutrition
DON’T HIDE THE VEGGIES
Google “how to get my kids to eat veggies” and there will be many articles on hiding veggies in their favorite foods. We think differently. Instead of hiding them, guide your child on how delicious veggies can be, and reinforce their habits when you see them eating their veggies.
Kids are often more excited about eating a meal when they help prepare it. So it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get ready for a little mess! While preparing a meal, give them kid-safe tasks like stirring and pouring dry or cold ingredients, and talk about each ingredient.
If we help our kids understand how delicious and nutritious veggies can be, they’ll benefit in the long term.
MONITOR YOUR KIDS FOR FOOD ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES
As the spread of food allergies and food intolerances grows, it’s becoming increasingly important to monitor your kids’ reactions to food. If you catch it early, you can help them maintain a healthy gut and prevent long term damage. (And possibly reintroduce them later.)
Look for stomach pain, unwillingness to eat certain foods, and well, bathroom troubles, too. Following an elimination protocol can help determine which foods your kids need to avoid for roughly six months, then you can try reintroducing them.
A food diary is a helpful tool in these situations, so you can more easily track which foods your child is reacting to.
For more information on prioritizing your children’s gut health and food allergies, head to Dr. Sears’ website.
SUPPORT YOUR CHILD’S MOOD
Optimal nutrition will lead to more stable moods, which is a welcome effect. When our kids are happy, healthy, and well fed, they’re more likely to succeed. Knowing how different nutrients affect kids will help you boost their nutrition — and their mood.
Complex carbs have a low glycemic index, which are more likely to provide a calming effect. This is due to how the body absorbs the food, so there are fewer blood sugar disturbances and a lower release of stress hormones.
Complex carbs include sweet potatoes, unrefined grains, and fruit.
To avoid a sugar rush (and the inevitable crash), avoid simple carbs, including refined sugar. Foods like cake frosting and soda contribute to large blood sugar disturbances, and will affect your kids’ moods.
Because no childhood should be completely devoid of the occasional treat, give your child healthy fats and/or fiber along with simple carbs. This can help slow down absorption and minimize its effects.
Every person, child or adult, reacts to food differently. A high-fat meal may make your oldest sad, but the same meal could make your youngest thrive. Watching for allergies and embracing veggies are both important, too. Knowing these key facts about nutrients can help you fuel you kids for days of learning, playing, and growing!