Wholefoods for Kids
In a world where allergies, anxiety and attention disorders are sky-rocketing in our kids, there is much to be said about eating a wholefoods diet and its role in the prevention and treatment of these conditions. It is also a great way to educate children, and bring more fun into eating for them as they explore the different textures, tastes and shapes of natural wholefoods.
Many kids in western countries who have grown up with highly processed and packaged foods are unable to name the most common vegetables, let alone different beans, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Without this general knowledge, how can our children understand the important connection between what they eat and the health of their bodies?
Whole foods contain the full and diverse range of natural plant nutrients that our children need in order for their bodies to grow and function properly. Often kids (and adults) with attention and mood disorders are especially susceptible to nutrient deficiencies and significant improvement can be seen when switching to a whole foods diet. This means avoiding or reducing processed foods with their high salt, sugar and preservative content, minimising fruit juices, which cause a spike in blood sugar, insulin and adrenalin (followed by a crash in energy) and increasing whole foods such as beans, seeds, nuts, fruit and vegetables.
Allergies in kids are caused by a number of different factors but it is essentially an inflammatory reaction by the immune system. When their young and sensitive bodies have a lot to process ie additives and preservatives in foods, toxins in our water, chemicals in soaps and shampoos and pesticides on fruit and vegetables it can overwhelm their system, leading to allergies as well as anxiety, depression, headaches and digestion problems.
Including more wholefoods into your child’s diet can be easy. Making patties for the kids using cooked whole grains with a little flour instead of just flour is one way of introducing more nutrition into your child’s diet. Try mashing cooked cannellini beans, baby lima beans or moong dahl in with cooked potato for added nutrients and protein.
Homemade Baked Beans are fun to make with kids and don’t come with the added sugar, salt and preservatives that canned ones do. Making pancakes are another great way to get kids involved in cooking at home. Although flour is used here you can use wholemeal or buckwheat flours and then add some desiccated coconut to the mix, which is rich in fibre, high in protein and a great source of good fats. You can also add seasonal fruit or berries to the mix for natural sweetness, poppy and sunflower seeds for minerals and chia seeds for extra protein and energy that will fill the kids up for longer.
A wholefoods diet for our kids will lead to them experiencing strong bodies, better moods, more energy and a healthy weight. All the things we want for our children and then some.
Have a great week in the kitchen!
Naturopath, Affordable Wholefoods