OK In Health - Happy Holistic

Healthy Food for Kids - October 2018

By Alexis Costello, Kelowna, BC

The start of a new school year presents new challenges, as well as opportunities. Parents want to give their children all the help they can to make each year a success. Some of the most important decisions that parents make in caring for their children concern their health. Kids are notorious for never-ending supplies of energy. They need the proper foods to keep those energy levels up so that they can run, play, learn, and grow strong, healthy bodies to carry them into adulthood.

Every minute, 200 million cells are being renewed or reformed inside a child’s body. Cells need vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, carbohydrates, and water to keep the body functioning smoothly. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to get these nutrients. Kids love the taste and crunchiness of raw veggies. A container of cut up veggies and dip in the fridge is a quick, healthy snack.

Everyone needs several glasses of clean water daily, and children are no exception. Ensure that your child is drinking enough water, not just pop or juice. The Canadian Pediatric Association has suggested limiting children’s juice intake to no more then 5-7 ounces a day. Even 100% fruit juices are basically empty calories, providing few of the nutrients, and none of the fiber, of the original fruit. Kids are forming taste preferences at this age that will follow them into adulthood, and large amounts of sweet drinks are linked to weight problems and diabetes later on in life.

Essential fatty acids, better known as omega-3 or omega-6 oils are necessary for proper brain functioning, and are helpful for every system in the body. Incorporating these good fats into the diet can significantly reduce ADHD symptoms. Good sources of EFAs are nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish. You can also use flax or hemp oils on food in place of butter or chemical-laden salad dressings.

Avoid processed foods. Processing reduces the nutritional value of food, particularly vitamin and mineral content, leaving foods high in calories and low in nutrients. Processed foods also tend to be high in sugar and salt. These foods cause blood-sugar levels to spike, creating hyperactive, or irritable children; and then drop, causing children to become tired or cranky. The closer a food is to its natural state, the better. Follow the old rule, and if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

For a delicious and healthy snack, try homemade smoothies. Smoothies are kid-friendly, colourful, nutritious, and easy to prepare. Kids old enough to operate the blender can use this time to experiment, and will probably come up with interesting recipes of their own.

 Basic smoothie recipe:

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1-cup plain (or vanilla) yogurt
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • Blend for 30 seconds to a minute on medium speed.

To this basic recipe you can add any fresh, frozen or canned fruit or berries that you have on hand – blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, and mangoes work particularly well. Other extras to try are peanut (or other nut) butters, green food powder, and soy, rice, hemp, or whey protein powders.

Above all else, be a good role model. Children learn by imitation. If they see their parents eating and enjoying a variety of healthy foods, then good nutrition will be an easy habit to get into. Got Smoothie?




Alexis CostelloAlexis's Bio: Alexis Costello is a natural health practitioner specializing in applied kinesiology, Bach Flower Remedies, massage and herbology. Her 'passion for plants' brought her and her family to Costa Rica for six months of adventure studying herbs in the rainforest; learning everything she could from 'curanderos', medicine men, shaman and the local folk medicine. Alexis also runs a fun integrated learning/healing centre called Happily Holistic in Kelowna, Okanagan, BC. Alexis Costello is a proud mommy to ten-year-old twins and a brand new baby. She wants to help other holistic mamas and kids to be their best in this wild world. In the ‘Parenting Tips’ column she write about children's health. Alexis formerly wrote a column on ‘Nutrition’ and "Wandering Herbalist" for OK in Health. - Alexis Costello Website - Email


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