Feeding Nourishing Your Ever Hungry Kid
They wake and we need to provide breakfast, then we are preparing a lunch, and as soon as we see them again it is an after school snack, and then before we can turn around someone is looking for dinner. So often, they are hungry and we are trying to satisfy what seems to be an imminent need. Even if it’s not an emergency it sure is reoccurring.
Depending on age, kids needs 1200-1800 calories a day. So, yes, they really do need all of these meals. Moreover, their cells as developing and the more healthy each cell is, the more healthy the entire body and person. This is what we really want right? In our parental hearts, we really want to nourish, not just feed these precious children of ours. So here are three ideas to nourish your child at any age.
It is true, their bodies are crying for something. It might be food for energy, it might be a down moment when their body can relax, and very often it is water they need. There are plenty of times that I open the kitchen cupboard looking…. and what I really need is to pour myself a glass of water and step out on the deck to breath. The real nourishment my body is calling for comes from the both the break and the water. Water keeps our blood flowing, our cells communicating and excreting toxins and it keeps joints hydrated.
Kids need to drink 1/2 their body weight in ounces of water and often they get 8 oz max!
Water can be fun too- throw in some mint leaves, mint tea, a cucumber slice, or even a piece of fruit. If you make a pitcher of ‘spa water’ and keep it in your refrigerator I can almost promise you will double their intake and significantly decrease their call for munchies. Pretty soon refilling that water carafe will be a favorite chore for everyone.
Second: Big Picture.
They need fat, protein and fiber in every meal. Snacks should b
e a combination of these three too. But our weeks can be crazy. We cannot expect to have a perfect meal (however that is defined) each time we eat. So think about your families health on a week by week scale. Some nights, well, we are just going to settle with eggs and toast or something out of the freezer. That’s ok! Out of the 7 days, think about 3 different proteins that you can provide for dinner. Maybe one night will be chicken, fish or seafood another night and a vegan option another night (think beans and rice). Protein should not be the base of our calories, but someone how our minds go to the ‘beef or chicken’ option so it is just fine to arrange a meal around that.
Now pair your favorite two vegetables with that protein. Maybe one is cooked and one raw. When someone cruises into the kitchen, while you are preparing dinner, and is ‘so huuungryyyy’, as mine often are, you will have those raw vegetables ready to offer. The fiber and nutrients here will surely satisfy your team. If this is a tough sell, feel free to pair any vegetable with a homemade dipping sauce. These dipping sauces often have satisfying fats.
Third. Empower them.
Depending on their age, they may be making their own snack, their own lunch or even own dinner. If they are not now, they will be in a blink of the eye. Have nutrient dense, whole food in the house that they can choose from and model what healthy choices are, and then let them explore and ‘own’ what they are putting in their bodies. Teach your child a few easy guidelines for these choices. I like to remind my kids that each time we eat we need to include a fat, a protein or a source of fiber- 2/3 or 3/3 of these is even better. Ideas: celery (fiber) and nut butter (fat); cheese stick (fat) and apple (fiber); sweet potato (fiber) with butter (fat); hard boiled egg (fat and protein); homemade popcorn with butter and a piece of cheese. Even adding a protein with some of your kid’s favorite breakfasts will increase the staying power of that meal.
What else does empowering them do? Well it gives you a second to breath, learn what they like (no more buying a bunch of food that doesn’t get eaten) and when a person is preparing his own food, his body is able to prepare physiologically to get the most nutrients out of that food.
Try these three things and let me know how it goes!