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Super Healthy Kids

Making Fruits and Vegetables Simple, Fun, and Delicious!

For kids to develop healthy habits, it’s important for them to learn to love a variety of fruits and vegetables, in a variety of ways.  Serving fruits or vegetables in different forms, textures, and temperatures will actually help children develop a mature palate, which is more accepting to a wider variety of new foods.  Don’t hesitate to offer fruits and veggies fresh, frozen, dried, canned, juiced, pureed, blended, etc!  Parents should be in the business of training their kids tastes and appetites for real food, rather than a love for a specific vegetable.

Studies have shown that kids who eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies

  • Have a decreased risk for Type 2 diabetes
  • Have Improved immunity
  • Maintain a healthier weight
  • Have better vision and skin
  • Have healthier gums and teeth.
  • Have more energy to play
  • Have a preference for healthier food!
  • Have better brain function.
  • Have better sleep.
  • Plus, live longer!

We love the focus on fruits and veggies for our kids as a way to teach them healthy habits. Not only does it encourage a positive relationship with food by focusing on what they should be eating, without sending negative food messages that often is accompanied by guilt and shame. 


10 Ideas for Better Health

Along with the focus on fruits and veggies, we have comprised 10 Top Pillars of Health we find important! With so much conflicting information, and so many different steps you can take towards a childs good health, we feel like these ten things have the most impact and have been supported by the most science!

  1. Eat less sugar! The average child gets 16% of their total calories from added sugars, a whopping 10 teaspoons per day! Added sugar has been linked to childhood obesity, chronic diseases, behavior problems, and more! Keep this number between 0-5%!
  2. Make half your meal fruits and vegetables! Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables in all their forms and varieties have been linked to stronger immunity, lower incidences of cancer, lower weight and more! A balanced meal comes naturally when kids consume half their meal fruits and veggies! Kids who eat fruits and veggies at every meal are filling up on high fiber, high nutrient, low calorie foods, in the right portions.
  3. Eat a variety of proteins! Protein is vital to children’s growing brains and bodies! Protein isn’t only obtained from chicken! Seafood, poultry, lean beef, eggs, dairy, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds are all good protein sources and should all be included in a child’s diet.
  4. Include fish once per week. Fish is high in omega 3 fats, like DHA, which is vital for brain development. In addition, omega 3’s are being linked to reduced inflammation in patients with asthma, arthritis, and eczema. Low consumption of Omega 3’s is common in kids and is a risk factor for disease and behavior problems.
  5. Choose whole grains! There is no reason to continue purchasing and making foods with refined grains. There are delicious alternatives to every refined food. Brown rice, whole wheat breads and pastas are higher in fiber and nutrients than their refined white counterparts.
  6. Stick to 4 meals per day! Kids who are allowed to graze on food all day, do not have the appetite or desire to try new foods. It’s OK for children to be hungry, and even encouraged! When mealtime comes, they will be less picky and healthy food will actually taste better.
  7. Limit sodium. Kids should eat less than 1500mg of sodium per day, a little more than 1/2 teaspoon. Too much sodium puts children at risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and even kidney disease. Being vigilant about checking labels and avoid adding salt where possible, in favor of herbs and spices is an easy way to stay below the recommendation.
  8. Limit processed foods. Processed foods are any foods you find that are pre-made, packaged, and often require chemicals, food dyes, preservatives, added fats, and added sugars just to be able to keep it on the store shelves without getting spoiled. Children who eat and have access to processed foods eat less fruits and vegetables and develop eating habits that lead to obesity and poor health. Making your food from scratch, planning your meals, shopping the perimeter of the store, and growing your own foods are easy ways to eliminate the need for processed foods.
  9. Drink Water! Water is vital for children. The major source for added sugar for children is sugar sweetened beverages. Sugar sweetened beverages have been blamed for many of the health problems plaguing children today, including childhood obesity. These beverages also replace foods that have nutrients and fiber, which children need to grow.
  10. Sleep well and play hard! When kids spend their day playing outside, rather than in front of a screen, they sleep better, they have less behavior problems, they are happier and even have better self image.

We believe that as you teach these things to your children, implement them into daily living, and let it be a part of your life, your kids will be healthier, happier, and they will learn the habits necessary for lifetime wellness!


By Amy Roskelley
Posted in Uncategorized

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14 Comments

misti

4 meals a day — no grazing… wondered if this opinion includes hand fruit? We homeschool and so the kitchen is always *right there.* ;) When the kids want a snack in between meals, I answer, “fruit or vegetable?” They almost always go for a fruit, though sometimes they surprise me by grabbing a carrot. Curious if your opinion is that even to say no to fruits and veggies in between meals?

Hi Misti!
This “rule” is very flexible in our house, especially since i have teenagers! You can’t exactly tell them not to eat, since they are very independent. If they do snack, it definitely should be a fruit or vegetable. Mostly, this rule is for picky eaters who won’t eat their dinners! The hungrier they are, the more likely they will eat what you provide for them at meal times! Thanks for your comment!!

I do agree that fruits and vegetables must be added to children’s diet. These healthy foods offer a lot of great health benefits and it extends their life span too! Now with regards to your ideas on how to achieve better health, it is true that eating less sugar is good for the body. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes and it can even damage a person’s brain. While it is true that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is beneficial, it is quite hard to make them half of kids’ meals because in my case, these healthy foods are very expensive in our country. However, adding them in every meal is a good idea. Proteins are very important to the body. They keep us and our kids full without making us fat plus they also give us the energy that we need to perform daily tasks. They also keep us full for a long time which wards of food cravings. I also agree that adding fish and whole grains to the diet is very healthy. Grains give us fiber necessary for flushing out the toxins in our body. Among all these tips you provided, what I liked most was when you said that processed foods must be limited. These foods can make our kids overweight and can also damage their health in a major way. These suggestions have been helpful. I will surely apply these food philosophies in bringing up my children!

Katy Stevens

Hi! I am curious about your opinion on gluten for a child’s diet. We don’t have any gluten allergies. I am reading the book Wheat Belly-more for my own food journey and find it very interesting. But I do find that things like sandwiches make it easy to feed my children. So, just wondering your thoughts on the subject! Thanks!

Hi Katy! I’m actually kind of passionate against the gluten free trend! And ironically, I actually decided that AFTER reading Wheat Belly! I found his conclusions to the studies he cited far fetched and didn’t agree most of the time. Also, at the end of Wheat Belly, he goes on to add that it’s not just gluten, but all carbohydrates that are to be blamed for our chronic disease and obesity, which I passionately don’t agree with. So, in short.. unless someone is gluten sensitive (which I don’t believe many people are) or of course celiac… there is no reason to take it out of a child’s diet. And, I also should add that because of the gluten free hype, we took gluten out of our diet for a time, and didn’t notice any difference in our lives. So, why miss out on amazing food and nutrients if it isn’t a problem for us!! ha ha. I guess I’m kind of passionate about my carbs in general :)

All of these points are very good. What is your opinion on juicing in order to get the vegetable intake up? Do you think it would be wise to incorporate this into a child’s diet?

We do believe juicing is great for kids! In fact, we even wrote a book called 201 smoothies and juices for kids! We wouldn’t want kids to drink them exclusively of course, but a glass of veggie juice a day is helpful in getting veggies. Don’t let them miss out on whole veggies however!

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Mexico has become the fattest country in the world, but at the same time here in the state of Chiapas there are children starving. The reason for both is the same: junk food. Without healthy food kids are not able to develop, vitamins and nutrients help everybody to grow up healthy, mentally and physically. “Napux, the Cow” teaches nutrition and promotes eating organic fruit and vegetables using children´s interactive participation. Everywhere in Chiapas food can be found from the trees and plants but people doesnt know how to use it. Mexican children are hungry for no reason. Lets make sure that soon all this will be history. Please support us @ http://www.rockethub.com/projects/42107-napux-the-cow-improving-healthy-habits-trough-community-tv-in-mexico#description-tab

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Leslie Deason

I am a Registered Dietitian as well and my favorite bread is Ezekial, so you’re not giving up gluten but just choosing a cleaner form that is free of all extra processed ingredients! And it tastes yummy!

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