As an Aussie in America, it seems American parents go to great lengths to make sure their kids are never hungry by giving them a never ending amount of snacks. By doing this, are we teaching our kids that constant eating is normal? I know that some people claim the healthiest way to eat is to eat often. But the jury is still out on this. There’s plenty of research that shows that eating frequently throughout the day reduces your chances of becoming overweight, however, there’s also plenty of research that counters this, too. The French, for instance, believe that hunger between meals is a good thing. It produces good eaters, teaches kids self-control and produces discipline around eating. What about you, for you personally: how we’re you brought up, what do you think about hunger? No matter how you feel about the subject there’s a lot suggesting we change the way we currently teach our children to eat.
Goodbye Cheerios, Hello Tasty Snacks for Healthy Kids
It’s ok to be hungry. The truth is a lot of us don’t just get hungry, we get “hangry.” We result to binging on sugary foods and snacks. The truth is, many of us are slaves to food we eat. Often wondering where our next meal is coming from, saving ourselves for a meal or just getting a quick snack to ease the “hangriness” for now. Let’s look at those snacks, specifically at cheerios. What are they? Well they were once oats, subjected to high heat and extruded into something resembling a crunchy something else. Their once nutrient content (incidentally grains contain phytic acid which blocks a lot of the other nutrients in our body from being used) is stripped away by high heat and pressure to resemble something our body’s no longer recognize as food. Cheerios actually cost our bodies more than they provide! No wonder we’re hangry from cheerios and other highly processed foods.
Eating whole foods, at snacks and meals, not only increases your nutrient intake but also your nutrient absorption giving your digestive system a break. Eating healthy whole foods will eliminate your “hangry” mood. This goes for your kids too. If you’re looking to eliminate their moodiness and tantrums try real food. We’re not just here to survive (to the next meal!) but thrive. Feed your kids (& yourself) in a way that coincides with how their body works considering their unique nutrient needs as their growing.
Are We Saying to Say No to Snacking?
Well, no. Yet feeding kids as we currently do isn’t good enough. Improve their nutrition by including healthy snacking! Just add a few new twists…
1. Eat Nutrient Dense Whole Foods
Avoiding processed or packaged foods doesn’t have to be an inconvenience to your schedule. Healthy snacks are actually the opposite. They’re snack food for our body as nature intended. Purchase foods with no ingredients like bananas or strawberries and eat them separately or combine them as you’d like. It’s not rocket science, just plain old home science. Keep at it. You’ll get better at it, especially as your taste buds yearn for the deliciousness you’re now serving up.
2. Get Each Macronutrient at Each Meal: Carbs, Fats, Proteins
Why do we snack? Answer: to get us through to the next meal. We’re hungrier earlier than that next meal, meaning the last meal didn’t provide all it should for a growing body. Each macronutrient – carbs, proteins, fats – are important to consume at each meal because it helps the other digest. Each have roles in healing and building our body, and all science aside, each tastes great for different reasons!
3. Four Snacks a Day Can Very Easily Transition into four meals.
Why not halve a boiled egg and mix some yolk with almond butter for sweet deviled eggs? Serve the same almond butter with a carrot cut in half and spot it with raisins for fun. All the macronutrients are represented, each will help the other digest, protein for building our bodies, carbs for energy and fats for slowing things down and satiety. That sweet deviled egg, almond butter and carrot can easily become carrot (with eg, banana and raisins) pancakes with almond butter. Serve with a bit of maple syrup and bacon! Having all macronutrients means our kids’s bodies are getting what they need so “hangriness” begone. With that comes more patience from kids with better long term energy.
4. It turns out giving your baby smaller portions of what you’re eating might not be what they need…
However eating larger portions of what you’re feeding your baby is exactly what your body probably needs! But don’t reach for the rice cereal and grains! Baby’s are grain intolerant, and grains are nutrient blockers which have become massive fillers on our plates. Choose to get more veggies, a side of protein and maybe a few of those fillers at the end on the side but mostly as a last thought. We need other stuff first.
5. Overeating and under resting your digestion wears your insides out
An alarming amount of kids are being born with low stomach acid, in fact a lot of us adults have low acid too. Yes low, in fact only 0.01% of us high stomach acid but that’s another story. Snacking over uses our supplies and cells have to continuously make more. So it’s not just that our food is nutrient deficient from the soil or nutrient devoid from non organic agriculture, or our plates macronutrient deficient but our bodies are being made nutrient deficient through excessive overuse: we need more supplies to make more to digest more!
6. So what’s enough?
Let your baby and children be the guide in what they want to eat and how much is enough. When they turn away or are no longer interested the meal is over. Seriously. Studies
have been done that show how effective this is.
7. Snack ideas that could turn to meals
Paleo Pancakes-Plantain Cakes
- Deviled eggs – sweet style – with bacon and maple syrup
- Mashed sweet potato ground minced beef balls (sneak some broccoli in too)
- Plantain Cakes with smoked salmon, a spread of cauliflower mash and lime
- Plantain Cakes with avocado mousse and crushed bacon bits
Nourishing our kids to safeguard them from modern day illness is actually preserving their chance for genuine health – most conditions begin in childhood and they’re caused or made worse by nutrient deficiencies and/or toxic overload. To be the smartest, happiest and healthiest our kids can possibly be is this simple.
Maybe thinking about snacks for your kids might change how and what you snack on too.