Teaching your child healthy eating habits when they are young can help provide a basis for healthy eating when they are older. But how do you feed your child healthy? First, you need to become educated; start by reading the ingredients of the food and drink, then put what you have learned into practice.
Water, after oxygen, is the most important substance. Juice should be reserved for once in a while and in its place water should be given. Juice is just like straight sugar, because the whole fruit is not eaten there is no fiber to slow the release of the sugar. When you give juice only give pure, natural, 100% juices and watering them down is a good idea. Purified water or mountain spring water is all that should be given, not tap water. Pop, especially colas, should be saved for when the child is older and can decide for himself what to drink. Pop can cause loss of bone density. Many drinks contain artificial colors and flavors, aspartame, vegetable oils and other chemicals; read the label to see what you are really drinking.
If you give your child milk at least give him an organic one as milk contains antibiotics and hormones. Many children, especially ones with ear infections, have an allergy to dairy products. If you take your child off dairy products for a week or two, you may find conditions like: ear infections, ADD, tonsillitis, asthma, and digestive disturbances clearing up. Alternatives to dairy products include: soya milk, goat’s milk, rice milk and almond milk. Check the label to make sure the ingredients are not genetically modified and that there are no artificial flavors and little if no sugar. There are now many cheeses, yogurts and ice creams made out of these products. Some children cannot tolerate milk or cheese, but can have a little good quality natural yogurt; the friendly bacteria makes the yogurt more digestible.
You can make your own baby food by cooking and pureeing vegetables and fruits (try to get organic produce). Then freeze it in ice cube trays and thaw as needed. For older children, there are many healthier choices for meals and snacks.
Make sure their meals include raw and steamed vegetables, brown rice and free range meats and eggs, if you so choose. For a good healthy complete protein meal, cook some brown rice and some frozen peas, after they are heated, mix in a little flax oil or a homemade flax dressing. Homemade soups are also a good choice, along with stir fries on rice. Make sure to use a MSG free broth or soup base. Get your child used to healthy meals from the start and save the fries, chicken nuggets and other fast foods for occasional treats. Hot dogs have been linked in studies to Leukemia.
For snacks: fruits, whole grain, naturally sweetened cookies, brown rice cakes with nut butters, raw veggies, organic raisins and fruit leathers are better choices.
Breakfast should be a good nutritional start to the day. Whole grain natural cereals from companies like: Nature’s Path, Erewhon, and Barbara’s, use less sugar, no artificial colors and flavors and more whole grains. For a treat put fruit on top. Also use whole grain pancakes or waffles topped with maple syrup, fruit, and yogurt. For a change, a blender drink consisting of protein powder (check for aspartame and artificial flavors), flax oil, your milk of choice, a little green powder (Nugreens, Greens +), and bananas and strawberries, tastes great and is filling and nutritious.
Before you buy prepared foods, check for aspartame, Msg (hydrolyzed vegetable protein), hydrogenated fats, Bha, Bht and other preservatives and of course artificial colors and flavors. There are many alternatives available now all the way from soups, drinks, cereals, mixes, cookies and candies. They may cost a little more but you’ll find your child to have a better appetite and stronger health when he/she is fed this way.
Fats and oils are an important part of the diet; stay away from anything hydrogenated. The only healthy oil you can buy in a regular grocery store with out a Natural Food section, is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Fry with butter or coconut oil, they can be heated to a higher temperature before turning into a bad fat. If you cannot use butter, there are a few margarines on the market that are not hydrogenated. The proper fats are important for the brain, immune system, skin, hair, cardiovascular system, to name just a few. ADD, allergies, constipation, eczema, autism and other learning disabilities, are some of the problems helped by essential fats (EFA’s). Products like Flax oil, Essential Balance Jr., Udo’s Oil and Focus, can be given to your child.
Make sure if you choose Vegetarianism, the child gets enough protein. Peas, beans, brown rice, tofu, nuts, seeds and their butters, are all good sources of protein.
This is just the beginning to feeding your children right, so start now and remember everything takes time. The first step is to become aware of what you eat and drink and in time you will become knowledgeable about nutrition and how to feed your children healthy. Their future is in your hands.