I read an article recently about the primary foods we should focus on feeding our kids. I was very interested in this since Aidalyn is completely on solid foods now.
Here are the recommendations:
1. Saturated Fats
Despite the demonizing of this nutrient, kids need saturated fats and cholesterol for proper brain and nervous system development, healthy tissues and cell membranes, optimal immune systems, and strong bones and teeth. Children should eat plenty of whole fat dairy, meat (not necessarily lean), and eggs produced from pasture-raised animals. NOTE: This last phrase is key; animal products from factory raised meat are NOT healthy and should be avoided. This includes meat found in restaurants. Organic is good, but the best option is to seek out local, farm-raised sources near you. Additionally, nuts, avocados and healthy oils like coconut or olive oil are good sources of saturated fat for kids. Traditional fats like lard and tallow, have amazing health benefits when derived from pasture raised animals too.
2. Bone Broth
Homemade broth is rich in vital nutrients that benefit kids far more than a zucchini slice. Bone broth, may sound like a strange food, but it is essentially a staple found in most cultures and used as the base of “mom’s homemade chicken soup”. Bone broth can be easily made from scratch using beef, chicken, fish or other bones. The minerals, gelatin, and glycosaminoglycans in bone broth promote proper development of bone and dental structure, as well as healthy hair, nails and joints. Bone broth can also help with digestive problems, food allergies, and immune health. It is a great medicine food for children’s developing digestive tracts as well as a home remedy for treating the common cold.
3. Cultured Foods
“Cultured” foods have nothing to do with coming from a foreign country or a fancy art gallery, though in the not so recent past, most traditional cuisines always included some cultured foods – from pickled ginger in Japan and Kimchi in korea to sauerkraut in Germany and yogurt in the mediterranean. Cultured foods contain naturally occurring probiotics that provide kids with a wide variety of health benefits by by populating the digestive tract with healthy bacteria. Cultured foods and beverages are allowed to sour or ferment naturally through a process called fermentation which boosts their nutritional value and making your entire meal easier to digest. The taste of culture foods may need to be gradually acquired for some kids, so start slow with full fat yogurt and then move into traditional cultured beverages like kombucha or kefir “sodas” before venturing into sweet gingered carrots, pickles, and more adventures cultured veggies.
4. Seasonal, Local Produce
Now that you know you don’t need to lose sleep over your kid’s lack of green vegetable consumption, lighten up and make veggies fun! While they don’t need to clean their plates, all kids should eat some locally grown, seasonal fruits and veggies daily. In addition to being free of pesticides and other toxins, local organic fruits and veggies have more flavor and nutrients than their grocery equivalents. Take your kids to to the farmer’s market to choose their own fresh produce and let them help prepare it. Better yet, get them involved in a garden project so they can ‘farm’ their own – kids love to taste the fruits of their labor. If farmer’s markets or your own garden are not an option for you, research organic produce and CSA farm boxes for delicious local produce delivered to your door.
We try to fill Aidalyn up on vegetables throughout the day either by sneaking them into her morning omelet, making a cauliflower crust pizza at lunch, or making roasted vegetable sticks for snacking. I also always make sure she gets a good amount of coconut oil every day.
One thing I am not so great on is the cultured food products. I personally don’t eat many cultured foods – I take a probiotic though and give Aidalyn a kid version of a probiotic.
In the winter, we eat a ton of broth soups – In the summer when it warms up, the last thing I want to eat is a hot soup. I have heard of moms putting broth into toddlers sippy cups for them to get the good nutrients from the broth without the mess of eating soup.
What are some of your tips for getting kids to eat from these recommendations?