5 Incredible Ways To Get Your Children To Eat More Natural Foods
If your children eat a diet of mostly processed foods from morning to night, their long-term health is at serious risk. According to the last statistics on the subject from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 60% of children did not eat enough fruit to meet daily recommendations and 93% of children didn’t eat enough vegetables.The good news is getting children to eat more vegetables and fruit no longer has to be a struggle. Once you make some small daily adjustments you should have your children eating healthier in no time.
For your children, there’s really no more of an acquired taste than green vegetables. This is likely because babies prefer sweet flavors and in contrast vegetables, particularly leafy greens, don’t make the cut. Kids just don’t take to them initially.
For many babies it’s even worse, the first time they taste vegetables, is sometimes the last time they’ll eat them, and the struggle continues from there. To avoid the struggle, many parents choose to avoid vegetables. This is a huge mistake.
The one way to improve your children’s immune system is to feed a whole foods diet -- an abundance of fruits and vegetables, a small amount of healthy grains and lean protein. This is the ideal diet for a child.
1. Avoid Dairy
The dairy industry has a vested interest in having you believe milk is the best source of calcium and Vitamin D for your body but there are better sources available. Dairy is a processed food -- from milk to cheese to yogurt, dairy has little to offer your children besides creating mucus in the body and helping your child to store more fat thanks to its lactose-to-fat binding abilities.
Milk, as we know it, is a dead food. To illustrate, your organic milk has a longer expiration period than conventional milk, which means it can stay in the refrigerator longer without spoiling. Ever think about why that is? The reason organic milk has a longer shelf life than conventional milk is because organic milk is ultra-pasteurized. Ultra Pasteurization (UP), or Ultra High Temperature (UHT) pasteurization, is the process of heating milk to approximately 280 °F for just two seconds and then chilling it back down rapidly, creating a product that's 99.9% free of bacteria. However, while this processing extends shelf life, it deadens the nutrients in the milk. Because the milk is homogenized until any natural occurring nutrients are gone from it, the nutrients are then supplemented back in. So basically, your child is drinking supplemented calcium instead of a more natural occurring, bioavailable calcium from green foods such as oranges, broccoli or sweet dates.
2. Avoid Eggs
Eggs are another food that has little to offer, despite the hype that eggs are incredible edible and versatile. The long and short of it is that eggs are loaded with hormones which make them feeders of viruses such as flu and bacteria such as streptococcus, so if your children tend to get sick frequently, you’ll want to find alternatives for eating eggs.
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3. Prep Their Palates
A child’s palate can get very addicted to sweet flavors, making anything else taste bland in comparison, including fruit. This is how sugar addictions occur – the processed foods your children eat literally hijack their palates. The food industry does this intentionally to keep children addicted. This is known as the bliss point. It is just the right amount of sugar and salt to stimulate the palate and create a yearning and desire for more processed foods. In the book Sugar, Salt, Fat: How the Giants Hooked Us, it is disheartening to learn the intentions of the food industry in formulating our national addiction to processed foods.
The processed food industry hijacks your children’s palates using three highly addictive weapons – sugar, salt and wheat. These habit-forming ingredients make withdrawal from processed foods range from mild to unpleasant. As a result, withdrawing from processed foods leaves your children with common physiological symptoms of discomfort such as cottonmouth, coated (furred) tongue, thirst, bad breath, headaches, lethargy, nausea and false hunger pangs. This should only last three days maximum and can be remedied by being consistent and offering fruit when sugar lows happen.
To get your child’s palate back on track, avoid processed food. Instead, feed sweet fruits, such as grapes, apples, melon, banana, figs as well as sweet vegetables. Sweet potatoes are palate pleasers for children. Sweet potatoes of the most nourishing vegetables you can give your children. Bake them slightly longer than usual until they caramelize. The same can be done with squash. What is more, sweet potatoes and butternut squash are highly nutritious and filling enough to be a main dish. Carrots are another vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Many children also enjoy eating fennel, avocado, and cucumbers.
4. Hide Veggies in Smoothies
Once your children’s palates have calmed. It’s time to rev up the high-speed blender. Smoothies are a great way to mix fruits and vegetables and get your child their daily dose of essential vitamins, fiber and trace minerals. It’s time to get your children excited about eating more leafy greens, particularly spinach. Spinach has a pleasant and benign flavor and can be hidden as a base in any smoothie, especially one with bananas and wild blueberries, which are both very healing foods.
5. Involve kids In Preparation
Kids love to help. Whether it is picking fresh fruits or vegetables from the garden or preparing fresh juices or smoothies, allow your children to be part of the action. When children prepare what they want to eat (supervised by you, of course) they’re more excited to taste the results of their work. Not only does this work in their favor and yours, the simple action of allowing them to help instills in them a sense of confidence and pride, while teaching them how to prepare and enjoy nourishing foods.
Enthusiasm Equals Action
Tapping into your children’s enthusiasm to help around the house is a fun and effective way to channel their interest toward eating and enjoying fresh foods, particularly during the supper months when these foods are readily available. Telling your children what’s in their foods, for example, “A banana contains potassium or an orange contains Vitamin C,” is great way to enhance the learning experience.
Finally, always work closely with your practitioner, Naturopath and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner to assist you in monitoring your child’s improved health, as well as to create a diet that’s right for them.