“KIDDIE FOOD”? I haven’t even heard this term before and wasn’t really sure what it refers to, until I saw it on the restaurants’ menus’ and I understood. It felt sad and outrageous to see the kids menu being the unhealthiest of all the foods offered. Parents actually get to eat better than their kids do! Kids mostly have separate menus that they “want” and ask for. ( Not to mention the load of extra snacks and treats that they eat in between because “they are kids”!!??). Here is what I think is wrong with this concept:
The psychological aspect:
1. by setting a difference from an early age between kids and grown ups as far as food you set the path for a hard to break habit later on.
2. kids don’t have the chance to get acquired with how healthy food tastes and will have a much harder time to enjoy these foods later on in life.
3. the commercial kiddie foods are mostly unhealthy comfort foods that are given to kids in order to make them happy and feel good. These feelings are unfortunately short lived since the high sugar content, empty calories and poor nutritional value generate hypoglycemic tendencies and a roller coaster of emotions including melt downs and irritability.
4. the big processed food companies push heavy marketing to sell their junk to kids: don’t fall into the trap of believing that kids yogurt, kids-cereals, -bars, -juice, or any other processed food that has cartoon characters and colorful wrapping are healthy for your kids! The advertising is misleading, highly manipulative and uses convenience and fun as main reasons for sales, all in the name of profits. I bet you can find other 10 different foods that are convenient, easy and fun without being harmful.
The nutritional aspect:
1. kids’ menus at the restaurants invariably offer: nuggets, fries, mac and cheese, mini-hamburgers and spaghetti. These foods hardly contain any vegetables, are cooked in toxic oils, are high in sugar and preservatives, highly processed and are nothing more than empty calories and the poorest choice from the menu.
2. “kiddie processed food” sets the path for diabetes, poor brain development and lack of concentration, allergies, asthma, ADHD, immune and nutritional deficiencies.
Enabling Franken-food Industries.
1. by going with these choices people are enabling the very industries that make them sick to grow even more profits and be even stronger.
2. having the will and determination to say NO to these foods, will already mark a huge step forward to a healthier lifestyle for the kids.
Why Should Kids Take Part in Developing a “Grown Up Menu”?
The psychological aspect:
1. by choosing real, healthy food for kids and grown ups alike, kids get to learn from early on that kiddie food is the same what their parents eat only in a smaller size and maybe shaped in fun ways!
2. you can still make your kid feel special by adding a fun and creative twist to the menu: vegetable and fruit cut outs, little finger size home made nuggets ( I fry or bake them in coconut oil and butter and use organic flour or breadcrumbs), little plain, organic, full fat yogurts where you can add fresh fruits, organic spaghetti with meat and extra veggies added in the tomato sauce, etc.
3. when you are eating at the restaurant with your kids choose a decent grown up dish for them, just ask for a smaller size or just a part of it or just order it the way it is and you can take leftovers home. Let them feel important and loved by giving them the choice to pick from the grown up menu and I bet they’ll feel great!
The nutritional aspect:
1. your kids will be more balanced nutritionally since they’ll have protein along with carbs and fats, not just a ton of toxic simple carbs and high starch on their plates.
2. they won’t feel hungry that often or irritably, since whole balanced foods offer more energy and a better mood for a longer period of time.
3. if you choose a desert for your children it should always be after they ate their meals. This way the sugar absorption in the blood stream is slowed down without creating spikes in blood sugar level and insulin resistance over time.
Enabling Healthy, Real Food.
1. needless to say that if people stopped buying toxic convenience that comes in a wrapper, we would see an increase in healthy food consumption.
2. local sustainable, organic farmers and small businesses are the only ones that still offer REAL healthy, unaltered and clean food and they have the toughest time to put up with stupid regulations. They need our help and we need them to stay healthy!
Ideas For Healthy Kiddie Food.
The other day I quickly put together for dinner some fish, sauteed veggies and buckwheat groats. My daughter took a look and said : YUCK! Well?I took out some organic Nori Sheets Seaweed and told her : here, have fun with this!? She had a blast rolling up her food and ended up eating everything!
This is just a small example. Once you get a hang of it, you’ll find ways to make the kiddie food entertaining, creative, easy as well as nutritious. Let your kids help you, even if it gets a little messier in the kitchen, it is worth it!! They’ll get good at it!
Give them a few options of raw vegetables that they want in their salads and cut them in small pieces, in their own bowl. You don?t need to make a separate one for the rest of the family, just use the same and cut bigger pieces. Or just cut everything small.
If they play with play dough, ask them to make their dinner by modeling the meat, veggies, salad, etc and then try to cook that for real. They’ll love it! Options are endless! It just takes a little time, determination and motivation but our kids are worth it!