How do you get your child to eat broccoli and cauliflower and like it? Do you bribe her: “Eat your broccoli and I’ll let you have candy?” Or do you threaten him with being grounded if he doesn’t eat his veggies? Maybe you’ve given up altogether and surrender to the Big Mac for peace at the dinner table.
What your child will and won’t eat can influence your entire family.
Lesson One for the whole family: We weren’t born with a taste for sugar, salt and fat. Those tastes were taught and acquired. We have control of how we satisfy those learned cravings. Make it a family project to learn about the different types of fats, salts and sugars and how they appear in foods. Hint: the more natural the food, the better the elements are for the body.
- Whole fruit
- Raw honey
- Whole dates
- Blackstrap molasses
- Sucrose – table sugar (including dextrose, fructose)
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Crystalline fructose
- Extracted, filtered, pasteurized fruit juices
- Fruit juice concentrates
Lesson Two: The truth about salt that you may not know: There are good and bad salts.
The Salt Found in Foods Naturally is GOOD
Salt, aka sodium, contains natural minerals including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, silicon, potassium, bromide, borate, and strontium and trace elements. What most people don’t realize it that all of the salt that you need is already found in many natural foods like fruits and vegetables. There is no need to add additional salt to foods. In fact, too much salt can be deadly. You can easily get enough salt through eating a whole foods based diet. Your body only needs less than 600mg of salt per day to function properly. Most people consume well over 3,000 mg.
Processed Table Salt – BAD
Vitamin C from natural and supplemental sources will help prevent your craving for salt.
Lesson Three: Saturated fats, salt and sugar have lasting effects on the body. Those fats, sugars and salts put weight on, increase the load on joints, create fat deposits around organs and promote the buildup of cholesterol in arteries. The body needs certain types of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, salts and sugars to function correctly and to replenish cells in muscles, tissues, brains and organs. But we don’t need BAD fats; only GOOD ones. It is never too early to start teaching children the difference between the good fats in an avocado (yay guacamole) and the bad fats in a hamburger.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Wild caught fish
- Pasture-fed, grass-fed meats
- Fish oil supplements
- Deep fried foods
- Processed vegetable oils (found in nearly all packaged foods such as chips, snack foods, breads) Hydrogenated oils
- Grain-fed meats
- Cured meats (deli or “lunch meats”)
- Processed dairy (pasteurized, homogenized milk, ice cream, cheese)
Instead of falling into the pattern of quick and unhealthy meals laden with fats, sugar and salts, get your kids involved with healthy meals. Start by making their favorites like Mac & Cheese, only use a cheese alternative, like soy or almond cheese instead of high saturated fat cheeses. I use the Lisanatti Foods cheeses like SoySation ® and The Original Almond® in my Mac & Cheese and Pizza recipes. Add veggies to the Mac & Cheese or Pizza and get more creative each time you make it.
When kids understand there is a point to being health conscious, they may just surprise you by getting on board and being more proactive in the kitchen. You can learn more about healthy eating on my website: www.HeartEasy.com
PhD, ND, DCH.