Article One: Real Food for Kids!

Real Food for Kids!

Nutrition for kids creates a lot of controversy. In just the last few years we have seen Chef Pete Evans being hauled over the coals for his ‘Paleo’ views on children’s nutrition, through to my friend and colleague Caryn Zinn being lambasted by dieticians for her ‘real food first’ views on nutrition for children (highlighted in a Campbell Live report on kids lunches) and now Professor Tim Noakes having to defend himself against misconduct charges in South Africa for recommending lower-carb, higher-fat foods for infants.

Amongst all of this swirling debate and rebuttal my question is; “When did it become so controversial to recommend real food to growing kids?”

There is a large body of evidence showing that fresh produce (fruit, vegetables and berries) are associated with improved health outcomes later in life,12 and yet worryingly, the latest research from the New Zealand Ministry of Health ‘National Children’s Nutrition Survey’ suggests that only 40% of children eat the recommended amounts of both fruit and vegetables per day.3

So, surely recommendations and eating styles that prioritise REAL food and whole, unprocessed produce over processed and refined foods (that are often lower in vitamins and minerals) are warranted?

This data also suggested that although most children are getting adequate amounts of the essential vitamins and minerals when they are young, that this gets progressively worse as they age, and by the time they reach adulthood most Kiwis are not getting the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals from diet alone.4

It is clear that the shift towards more sugar, more carbohydrate and more processed food that has occurred over the past four decades has been detrimental to health and has encouraged increased rates of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Just one of the solutions we should be pursuing is to encourage the receptove minds of our young people to become reconnected to REAL food and I believe there is also a role for quality supplementation, just as there is for adults.

Some simple strategies to improve kids nutrition:

–          Try to make at least 80% of what you put in your childs lunchbox (or on their plate) natural, whole, unprocessed food

–          Choose natural carbohydrate choices (such as kumara, yams, potato and some whole, unprocessed grains) over pasta, bread, crackers and other refined choices

–          Choose water over fruit juices

–          Get kids eating vegetables early! Much of our food preferences are based on what we ‘learn’ to eat early in life

–          Use smoothies made with whole, unprocessed foods (such as vegetables, berries, nuts and nut-butter, seeds and fruit) as an option in addition to meals to boost vegetable intake

–          If choosing a multi, stay away from ‘gummies’ and other multivitamin lollies as these may habituate kids to eating lollies regularly! (instead of as occasional treats at most). Instead use a multi like Kids Good Stuff  that includes only the best vitamins and minerals, along with whole-food ingredients that support overall health, wellness and vitality for growing bodies.

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but we should always try to proritise whole, natural, foods to provide the essential nutrients that growing bodies need!

To find out more, read article no. 2 in this series Healthy, Happy Brains

References

  1. He FJ, Nowson CA, Lucas M, MacGregor GA. Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables is related to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of cohort studies. J Hum Hypertens. 2007;21(9):717-28.
  2. Dauchet L, Amouyel P, Hercberg S, Dallongeville J. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies. The Journal of Nutrition. 2006;136(10):2588-93.
  3. Ministry of Health. Key Results of the 2002 National Children’s Nutrition Survey. Wellington: 2003.
  4. University of Otago and Ministry of Health. A Focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. Wellington: 2011.

This article written by

Cliff Harvey – ND, Dip.Fit, HbT, Adv.Psych-K, naturopath, strength coach, author

More articles by Cliff Harvey

Uncategorised

Nutrition & Diet

Health & Wellbeing

Related Articles

Cliff Harvey

Eat Your Way to Better Performance

It’s impossible to out-train a poor diet, according to sports nutritionist Cliff Harvey. Cliff has worked with some of New Zealand’s top athletes, Olympic medallists and world champions.  We find out how to turn food intake into an effective base for peak performance. “Taking in plenty of fuel without giving your body the right vitamins … Continue reading "Eat Your Way to Better Performance"

View

Robert Verkerk

Article Four: Low-tox living through optimisation of diet, activity and lifestyle

By now you’ll understand there are two main strategies we need to use to get clean and green. The first involves doing everything you can to minimise your sources of toxic environmental chemical exposure; you’ll find 5 top tips in our last blog post. Every little bit counts as it’s your body’s overall burden, over … Continue reading "Article Four: Low-tox living through optimisation of diet, activity and lifestyle"

View

Jaime Rose Chambers

Brain-Boosting Good Green Stuff

Juggling the endless tasks we need to get through each day can often mean that our memory for remembering details is not always great. Nutritionist Jamie Rose Chambers explains how our Good Green Stuff assists brain function.

View

Cliff Harvey

Top Nutrients for Winter Wellness

As we trudge through winter we can be beset by sniffles, coughs, sneezing and the muscle weakness and fatigue that characterises cold viruses and the milder forms of flu. At best these symptoms are annoying and at worst can result in lost hours of work, sleepless nights and generally feeling like rubbish! Why we get … Continue reading "Top Nutrients for Winter Wellness"

View