From the moment your child takes their first bite, that food begins to charge into the system with several specific jobs to do. Some nutrients stimulate brain development and growth, while others amp up the immune system, and then there’re others that are in charge of mental clarity and focus, can you imagine all that? This may sounds a little crazy, but as a parent you realize the power you have with each morsel of food you feed your child. Right? Food is FUEL and your children are your most prized possessions with a fine-tuned engine inside. That same pristine engine comes with every Maserati and Lamborghini, around, you know the kind, the ones that you would never give regular gasoline to.
We may not be the latest sports car on the market, but our engines deserve the best if we want our performance and that of our children to flourish. What you feed your baby, toddler, or teenager today will affect their health when they are 50. I realize it sounds so distant, especially as you read this and you’re watching your two year old put a crayon in their mouth. But here is the thing… Food is FUEL and your foundation of health and strength, so what kind of adult do you want to grow? In a strange way, think of it like growing a plant, if you want it to prosper for years to come, you feed it, water it, and love it. And if you gave it soda instead of water it would wilt. And if you gave it mac and cheese instead of plant food, it would wilt even quicker.
Feed your children the same foods you would feed yourself. Your entire family should eat to empower their health, strengthen their immune system, and supercharge their brain for learning. How can you expect them to absorb all that amazing information from school if they are surviving on chicken nuggets and fries. All of us, that includes YOU, need nutrients throughout the day to perform at an optimal level.
Foods with essential fatty acids (EFA’s) feeds the brain. These include salmon, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and raw nuts. Fruits and vegetables boost our immune system. And quality proteins and fats make us strong, let alone keep us fuller until our next meal. You know the ones, proteins like pasture raised eggs and chicken, grass fed beef, low mercury fish, quinoa, and even leafy greens. Then the fats, the good ones, the ones that soften our skin and fuel us for a long day at school like avocados, and cold pressed unrefined olive oil, coconut oil, and raw nuts.
Feeding your family can have its challenges, you have picky eaters, food snobs, and junk food junkies but the one thing you always have to remember is that …they will not starve. As parents, we start to freak out when our kids refuse to eat. Until they start to buy their own food, you are in charge of their food, so you have the power to instill the right flavors and nutrients for a lifetime. Typically, an exhausted parent just gives in; one time won’t hurt, but doing this over and over retrains the pallet to enjoy, crave, and demand the bad stuff.
Food does one of two things, it either gives us nutrients or robs the body of nutrients. If your child chooses to eat chicken and rice day in and day out, that is OK, the only person getting bored is you. We have decided that it’s better to supplement with candy, bread, or pasta, just so that they eat something. The chicken and rice gives us nutrients, the other stuff robs us, so wouldn’t it be better to stick to the good stuff that nourishes the body?
It takes 4 times for a child to love or hate a particular food, so next time you are challenged, make a game out if it. Don’t force them to eat what you want, make an agreement with them to taste the food at four different sittings. On the same note, cook family meals and avoid letting them eat foods that are not on the menu. The key is to create a menu that will always have at least one thing that you know they will enjoy, so they can pick on the other stuff. With time, those same things they disliked will become a favorite staple food and you won’t even know how it happened.
At the end of the day, I am one of you. I have just as crazy a day as you do, but sometimes we fall short feeding our children, simply to get by. It’s all about creating the proper plan and recognizing the amazing gift you are giving to your children with the right pallet for the right foods. Every morsel becomes the foundation for their health so… What kind of adult are you growing from scratch?