The food our kids eat is crucial for their development, mentally and physically. What they eat can also have a quite significant effect emotionally as well. Yet now a day it is easy to be overwhelmed by the constant bombardment on what’s best to eat. Food trends will come and go, but teaching your kids the basics about eating healthy will allow them to continuously make the right choices for themselves, no matter what the media surrounds them has to say.
Here are 3 little tips to teach your kids:
What makes it good or bad?
The more a food is transformed (heating, packaging, modifying, processing), the less nutrients are left. Each step not only eliminates vitamins from foods but also makes carbs, fats and proteins indigestible, non-absorbable or unusable by our body. These processes therefor produce what are called empty caloric foods. In other words, adding calories without satisfying the body's nutrient necessities. Leaving you hungry, once again.
So the fewer ingredients present on the labeling, the healthier the food usually is…..even better if there’s no packaging at all! These food are called nutrient dense foods: higher calories to nutrient ratio leading to longer satiety and satisfaction (elimination of cravings). And stay away from those words you can't pronounce.
Is it really hunger?
There are multiple triggers to eating and differentiating one from the other is important to learn. Especially since early eating habits have been shown to be the most prevalent cause of obesity in later life! So when you feel hungry, are you really? Or are you compensating for something else like being tired, thirsty or bored.
In order to differentiate, start by eliminating the other causes: don't eat an hour before bed time, drink plenty of water throughout the day (6-8 glasses/day) and keep your hands busy with a puzzle or drawing material when in front of the TV.
Should I follow my cravings?
Your body knows what it needs, learn to listen! When a certain level of nutrient or vitamin is running low, the body sends signals to trigger ingestion of appetizing food that will quickly deliver what it needs. These triggers are called cravings. This is why denying your cravings don’t make them disappear! Only delivering what your body craves, will make you satisfied.
The most commons are ...
- Chocolate: lack of Magnesium - replace by spinach or pumpkin seeds
- Chips: lack of Calcium - replace by Kale or cheese
- Sugar: lack of Chromium or Sulfur - replace by broccoli or sweat potatoes
- Cheese: lack of Omegas - replace by fish or walnuts
- Caffeine: lack of Iron - replace by red meat or lentils
When cravings constantly persist, supplementation like multivitamins or fish oils can help provide the necessary nutrients the body can't seem to get enough of.
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