Healthy Eating For Children - The 3 Components

By Doris Temple

The biggest difference between healthy eating for children and healthy eating for you is the serving size.

As obvious as this sounds, let me ask you this...

How many times has your younger child complained, "It's not fair, he gets more?"

Kids can be competitive. Always keeping an eye out for what a sibling gets. Or the younger one may just want to be like his/her older sibling. They want to do everything the older child does.

When it comes to portion sizes, a smaller body just doesn't need the same amount of food. The excess energy of calories would be stored as fat.

Healthy eating for children still includes the three components of food: protein, carbohydrates and fat. These three provide the vitamins, minerals calories and trace nutrients that they need to grow and play.

The protein should be from high quality sources. Go to your local farmers market for your best savings on eggs, meat and poultry. Seek out the producers that use no chemical pesticides, no antibiotics and no hormones. Even better would be to buy organic if available.

Pesticides used on the farmland, get ingested by the animals. These get deposited in the animals tissues. And for cows, the drugs and chemicals eventually make their way into the milk.

Carbohydrates and fat have both been given a bad rap. I say this because both are needed for optimal health. Yet, many diets limit these without understanding their importance.

Carbohydrates will provide energy, nutrients and fiber. With carbs, the important thing to know is the differences in carbohydrates.

You have carbohydrates that digest quickly. These release a fast and quick amount of sugar into the blood stream. This sugar then demands insulin.

A diet high in these "simple" carbohydrates puts a strain on insulin production. Eventually this strain can cause one of 2 situations.

  1. The pancreas becomes exhausted and apathetic. This results in not enough insulin.
  2. The cells become resistant to the ever present high levels of insulin. Which means more and more insulin is needed to get any response.

This provides an explanation to the increase in diabetes among children.

When figuring out what is a simple carbohydrate or a complex carbohydrate you can look it up on the internet. Without going that route, let's simplify it. This is done by looking at how much sugar is in the food. Then, look at how quickly the carbohydrates present would get turned into sugar.

Here are some examples of carbs that quickly digest...

  • white bread, including enriched white bread
  • fruit drinks
  • chewing gum
  • soda pop
  • candy and candy bars
  • ice cream/deserts
  • pasta from white flour
  • chips

Good carbs are complex in their structure and they have fiber. They take longer to digest. Consequently, you feel full longer. Here are some examples...

  • fruits and vegetables
  • juice not from concentrate and with pulp intact
  • beans
  • whole grain breads and pastas

Fats also have been given a lot of attention in recent years. Children should not be put on a low fat diet. Challenge any one that suggests it. It is just not healthy eating for children to limit fat and their nutrients. Instead focus on the source or type of fat as contained in a balanced diet.

Fats contain essential fatty acids. They are called essential because (1) you need them and (2) they must be obtained from your diet because you cannot produce them.

I stated that the problem with fat is with the type of fat. Hydrogenated fats should be avoided. This includes Crisco(R) or shortening for baking. Hydrogenated fats are devoid of nutrients. The heavy processing has destroyed the fatty acids. This can cause a craving for fats because the nutrients have not been obtained.

Instead, use organic cold-pressed safflower oil for lower heat cooking. For salads, use organic cold-pressed olive oil.

Healthy eating for children is reinforced when you set a good example. If you avoid vegetables, then it would be harder to explain the need to your kids.

Doris Temple
Article by Doris Temple
Doris Temple created to fill the need for unbiased information. The Website provides information about organic food, products and healthy nutrition. Sign up for a free monthly email newsletter (ezine) to get the answers you need and keep updated:

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