How To Optimize Nutrition For Your Children And Your Family
I’m sure many parents can relate to the …challenge…of getting their children to sit down to a well-balanced meal. And then actually eat it! Our food system is full of hyper-palatable foods and colorful packaging that is often marketed toward our children, not adults. It can seem nearly impossible to get kids to accept nutritious options at the dinner table, especially if they are choosing between healthy options and not-so-healthy options that feel more like a treat than a meal. Dinnertime can easily become a stressful experience for parents and children alike when the healthy options seem hidden to the parent and undesirable to the child.
Parenting often teaches us that repetition and practice make progress (not perfection, and that is okay). And while it can be challenging and exhausting at first to overcome a child’s picky eating or desire to go for everything BUT what you put on the table, rinsing and repeating is the best way to make progress in this area.
The benefits of nutritious meals are not lost on most parents. Serving your children healthy meals not only protects their current health but also sets them up for success in their health as they grow older and become adults themselves. Setting up proper nutrition and mealtime habits in childhood also sets the foundation for children to make better choices for their children, which reinforces the concept of parenting not just to raise your children, but also to raise your grandchildren.
Whether you are struggling with finding a good place to start with family nutrition practices or you are looking to improve as your family grows, here are some great ways to raise Boundless families in the kitchen and beyond:
Let your kids eat lots of fats.
Fat in your child’s diet contributes to a healthy brain, hormone, and nervous system development. Cate Shanahan’s book “Deep Nutrition” outlines vitamins A, D, E, and K as the most important factors for determining beauty and facial symmetry in babies and kids. Do you know what all of these vitamins have in common? You got it, they are all fat soluble. Let’s take Vitamin K2 for example. It keeps kids from getting calcified growth plates. Calcified growth plates will stunt kids’ growth, but K2 is only found in animal-based fats that kids are rarely eating these days. So, my kids drink bone broth. They eat sardines out of the can and drink the oil. They consume plenty of egg yolks and grass-fed butter. Do you know how walnuts are shaped like little brains? Those are also really good for your child’s brain. My kids have a big handful of raw walnuts every morning right before they eat scrambled eggs and bacon fat. So, what should your children not eat and what do I keep my kids away from? Well, they shouldn’t eat egg whites. They shouldn’t eat fat-free cereals, and they shouldn’t eat low-fat yogurt. They should eat brain food instead. Incidentally, this is also why I personally test my blood four times a year to make sure my total cholesterol stays above 200 because I know, as author Nora Gedgaudas points out in her book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind,” that cholesterol below 200 is actually associated with low IQ. By the way, kids with low intake of essential fats also have higher levels of ADD, autism, and aggression.
Teach your children the science of nutrition.
We are generally pretty healthy in our family but are not overprotective of what our children eat. If they want to go spend their money on Snickers bars or whatever, they’re totally welcome to. But, they also understand the science of nutrition, sugar, oils, and the physiological or inflammatory effects of foods. They’ve been taught that if you want to feel like crap, then eat crap. If you want to feel well, then eat well. They understand food. They probably understand more about food and the effects of food than most adults do. Again, the whole idea is to educate your kids into being able to make good and wise decisions. The level of education that your child can understand will vary depending on their age and development, but it is never too early to teach your children the “why” and “how” of food working within them.
Ditch the processed food.
Highly processed foods contain a whole host of ingredients that are detrimental to the health of humans at any age! These foods are highly palatable and contribute to food addiction by containing inflammatory oils, artificial additives (many of which are banned in countries outside of the US), excessive amounts of added sugar, the list goes on. Weston A. Price’s research has shown that processed sugar reverses the flow of lymph through the microtubules of teeth. Normally, when we bite down, the pressure pushes lymph up through the teeth to keep bacteria out. When kids or adults consume processed sugar, bacteria congregate in the microtubules and cavities.
Teach your children where their food comes from.
Did you know that 50% of children between the ages of 8-10 couldn’t identify common fruits, vegetables, or farm animals? BUT nearly 100% of them could identify corporate symbols! A big part of fostering a love and appreciation for all kinds of foods with children is repeated exposure, and getting them familiar with these foods in their natural form. If you don’t have the accessibility to a garden or a farm, take your children to farmers’ markets or “pick your own” businesses and teach them what it is like to “pick” high-quality, natural foods and enjoy them.
Eat AND prepare meals together.
Before you can share a meal together, you must first prepare it! What better way to teach children how to appreciate a meal and what went into making it than getting them involved in the process? Choose age-appropriate tasks for your children to get involved in the kitchen, and consider investing in some age-appropriate kitchen tools like a safety stool, kid-friendly knives, or kid-friendly cooking scissors. Embrace the idea that it may not be perfect, but getting them involved in the process is an important part of fostering a love for healthy foods and their individual development.
Some quick takeaways:
- Let your kids eat lots of healthy fats from things like egg yolks and grass-fed butter to protect their brain health and improve facial symmetry.
- Teach your children the science of nutrition in order to give them autonomy and allow them to make their OWN better choices when it comes to food.
- Ditched the processed foods laden with sugar, inflammatory oils, and questionable ingredients. This will protect everyone’s health!
- Teach your children where food comes from and foster a love for all kinds of foods in their diet.
- Don’t just eat meals together but prepare them together to teach them an appreciation of what goes into each meal they eat.
This week’s call info
Wednesday, February 1st at 5 pm PST
Speaker: Eliza Kingsford
Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/4636180446