We all want our kids to be healthy – we want them to have good brain development, good behavior, a healthy gut, and to be able to maintain a healthy weight throughout life. Giving your kids a great start with healthy nutrition and eating patterns early on sets a strong foundation for the rest of their life. After all, our brain development, metabolism, and total health are shaped during our childhood years.
I know, I know – this sounds a bit overwhelming and you may have no idea where to begin! But, it is actually quite simple since what is good and healthy for your kids is also good and healthy for you.
Start with some basic practices:
- Eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods.
- By eating a variety of whole foods, you and your family will get plenty of healthy carbohydrates, lean proteins, and good fats.
- Don’t avoid fat. Buy full-fat dairy, eggs, coconut, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, etc. Healthy fats are even more important for kids than adults, plus they make food taste better!
- Read nutrition labels. Especially be wary of processed foods that are targeted towards kids as they are often loaded with sugar – flavored yogurt, breakfast cereals, granola, trail mix, fruit juice, etc.
- Include vegetables and fruits with each meal.
- What’s that? Your kids don’t like fruits and vegetables? Find creative ways to add them in like in scrambled eggs, smoothies, oatmeal, roast them, or add them to soup.
- Eat the right amount – eat when hungry, stop when full.
- Eat meals together as a family and slow down to enjoy the food and company.
- Plan and prepare meals together.
- Keep healthy food around the house and make unhealthy options less available.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements if needed.
- First, try to get nutrients from whole-foods (and sunshine for vitamin D!). **Look for an article coming soon on common deficiencies for children and which foods to get the nutrients from.
- Vitamin, mineral, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements can help improve kids’ (and adults’) cognitive and behavioral health. Kids with ADHD and learning disabilities might also benefit from supplementation, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Our kids want to be like us and are always watching and learning, so be a good role model for health and do it as a family! HEALTHY YOU = HEALTHY FAMILY!
Sharon Hudd, Pn1