Childhood nutrition, and nutrition in general, is an all too often overlooked aspect of raising kids. I’m no expert on the topic, but it shouldn’t take one to know how important the food you put in a child’s body affects not just their current health, but their health way into the future.
Take the type of water you give a plant as an example. Tap water from the city is typically treated with an abundance of chemicals and minerals. While plants can and do grow with just tap water, it’s not the optimal choice for them to thrive. Same goes for softened water which is hard water treated with sodium carbonate to make is soft. Excess sodium is unhealthy for plant growth and may even kill surrounding grass.
Rain and spring water, on the other hand, comes directly from nature, untouched by additives. Natural water sources like these provide the best “ingredients” to allow for optimal plant health and growth. Yes, I’m aware that the surrounding environment plays a big part here and smog from factories, along with a host of other factors, will affect natural water sources, but hopefully you see my point.
Packaged, processed food is similar to tap/treated water in that it is altered from its natural state to last longer, taste better, and travel well. Give this type of food to a kid (or anyone), and sure, they’ll grow, but most likely their growth will be limited in some or many ways. But natural, wholesome foods in their unaltered state is more bioavailable to the body and way more nutrient dense than that box of Cheerios.
Consider everything going on inside a child’s body; they are constantly growing, creating new brain cells, and developing their bones and muscles, as well as their entire endocrine system plus so much more. In order to grow and develop their entire body, it’s clear the quality of food (i.e. building materials) is VITAL! For infants, breastmilk is the best choice to feeding them the most nutrient dense food that can’t be replicated. I do, however, realize breastmilk is not always an option, but thankfully companies like The Honest Co. provide organic formula that’s modeled after breastmilk and created to support a healthy, growing baby.
When you feed a kid fast food, their hunger might be satisfied, but their entire body is being short-changed important nutrients it needs to build a strong, healthy body. It might seem like “just one meal”, but how many times do you say that? “Just one” usually turns out to be one hundred over the course of a year. That’s a lot of meals where whole food would’ve been able to provide more than just fulfilling a child’s hunger.
This topic gets under my skin more than anything else, and even more so now that we have Avery. I want to give her the best so that she has a bright and healthy future. I have zero tolerance for fast or over-processed food and refuse to allow it in our house or in our bodies. Yes, I buy packaged food, but not before scrutinizing the ingredients and where it comes from to ensure there’s nothing limiting to my wife, myself, or Avery.
When I hear people laugh it off saying things like “I know this is bad, but….” or “You wouldn’t want to see what I’m having.” a fire ignites inside of me. Same goes for those that consider it to be weird if you’re the healthy one. No wonder our population is obese when the weird one is the person who refuses to partake on those sugar-laden fried dough circles someone brings into the office, or when someone turns down going to any fast food restaurant where the food serve is borderline “real”.
C’mon! I choose to eat something that didn’t turn out of a factory’s manufacturing line and instead have fresh veggies with organic pasture-raised eggs and that’s weird? Dumb.
Please, to all parents and EVERYONE, think more about the food you feed your little ones and yourself. Our kids need optimum fuel for optimum growth. When it comes what we feed our children as well as ourselves, keep it real.
I’d go on forever about this topic as I am obviously highly passionate about it’s importance. But, I’ll leave you with these paragraphs from the Children’s Heart Center website about the importance of nutrition for children.
Nutrition is very important for everyone, but it is especially important for children because it is directly linked to all aspects of their growth and development; factors which will have direct ties to their level of health as adults. For example, a child with the right balance of omega fatty acids in their daily diet has a much better chance at creating a more solid foundation for their brain activity and capabilities later on. Likewise, a child who practices a low fat and cholesterol diet on a daily basis significantly improves their chances of preventing a heart attack; even if heart disease tends to be hereditary within your family.
You will also help promote a better quality of life if you instill proper nutrition trends in your children. It will allow them to partake in more activities and with greater enjoyment. People with high levels of health also consistently report that they enjoy elevated feelings of wellness and wellbeing. As part of this, children are also able to fight off colds with improved efficiency with the support of proper nutrition. And this brings up a vital point in communication with your children: You should always be on the lookout for different ways to make solid connections for your children. You can picture it in your mind like a web diagram, connecting major points with a line for your children to better understand issues. If you actually explain to your child that they won’t have to suffer through those nasty colds nearly as much if they maintain healthy diet.
Another huge reason why nutrition is so important for children is because they simply don’t know enough on their own to naturally choose to eat well. Unfortunately, the foods and snacks that taste the best are usually the worst for our bodies, and a child left to their on whim will almost always choose junk food over fruits and vegetables. Provide them with the right nutrition now and they will learn at an early age what’s necessary for good health. This will also help to set them up for a life of proper eating and nutrition, almost certainly helping them to live longer. Countless studies show that what someone learns as a child is then perpetuated throughout their life. Teach them healthy eating habits now and you’ll perpetuate a healthy lifestyle for them and put them on autopilot on their way to lasting wellness.
It’s easy to make a million excuses as to why we can’t feed our kids or ourselves a healthy diet, but maybe stop finding reasons and start making real changes. If you make health top priority, you’ll find other aspects of life that just fit in and flow better.
Do you feel like you give your kids the best source of food to enable optimal growth?
What would you like to change about your current diet?