Maintaining a nourishing diet for your child is a challenging task given the overwhelming choices, information overload and misleading marketing we face daily. While it is no easy feat, it can be done!
Here are 6 of the best practices to get you started on laying a nutritional foundation for your child:
Try To Keep Food in Their Natural State and Avoid Additives
Incorporate natural, nourishing food in your child’s daily diet as much as possible. Completely forbidding processed foods may lead to behaviours of sneak-eating or going overboard later from being deprived.
• Establish whole foods as the “primary food” and processed foods as “sometime foods” or “false foods” to your children; overtime they will appreciate the quality of whole foods
Go Organic for Food and Produce Whenever Possible
Organic produce is harvested in healthy soils under safe sustainable agricultural practices that do not resort to do invasive practices (genetically modified seeds, synthetic chemicals, etc).
• If it is too expensive to purchase mostly organic for your family, prioritize even SOME organic as there are some key commercial fruits and vegetables that should be avoided purchasing non-organic due to high levels of pesticides
Incorporate Healthy Sugars
Research reveals that as little as six teaspoons of sugar a day can reduce the immunity’s efficacy by 25%. Regular sugar consumption can lead to fatigue, yeast infections, diabetes and depression. Reassess your child’s regular sugar intake and keep that amount to a bare minimum.
• Utilize alternatives such as fruit, honey, stevia, molasses, pure maple syrup
• Have a box with good quality chocolates and sweets for occasions when your child is given cheap treats. This way they know the difference between “quality” and “cheap chemical junk.”
Find Alternatives to Wheat and Flour
Grains harvested and processed (breads, crackers) often retain little nutritional value. White flour slows down your child’s digestive capacity and is often high in sugar, salt, additives and increases appetite. Use healthier alternatives or methods for wheat and flour for your child’s diet:
• Use high quality flours such as coconut flour
• Try for beneficial sources of grains such as amaranth, quinoa, brown rice and wheat-free oats
• Ditch or minimize breakfasts of wheat-based cereal and toast for more highly nutritious breakfast ideas (think porridges, protein-based breakfasts)
Focus on Good Fats and Avoid Trans-fats
Good fats will help your child feel full, burn fat, improve immune function, reduce inflammation, and help with infant brain development. Avoid vegetable oil, safflower, sunflower, canola and corn oils.
• Good fats: salmon, nuts, nut butters, chia and hemp seeds, flax, free-range organic eggs, avocados, high quality butter, good quality cheese and yogurt
• Cook and bake with coconut oil, organic olive oil, macadamia, sesame, flax seed and avocado oils
Barham-Floreani, J Dr. (2009). Ten Best Nutritional Tips for the New Millennium. Retrieved from: http://www.welladjustedbabies.com