We all want our kids to thrive and to know that the foods and nutrients we are feeding them are really sustaining them.
All too often I see parents gaging their children’s intake on what is perceived as healthy, but for adults. It may seem superior or ahead of the game to give our children a “natural” or plant based diet. But not every diet that claims to be better intake is science based, not consistent with the research for what is best for kids.
When there are dietary restrictions of whole food groups for example, we can be creating a metabolic disaster. – Growth and muscle development can be decreased and neurological development can be significantly hampered.
But on the other hand we do have to be mindful of proven or science based, healthier intake. In my opinion, more “whole food”, not fad food for young ones is always is always a target to help kids achieve a more balanced intake plan.
According to the USDA new Dietary Guidelines; Fries and chips are the only vegetable sources, processed potatoes and corn respectively to make the top 25 foods/calories list that contributes to an average kids’ daily diet in the US. And fruit juice is the only fruit on that top 25 list.
So, we need much improvement and I will say it now as I do to all my patients (parents) this starts at home, with example!
We must keep in mind some things about children and metabolism (the way they process their nutrients) to understand their different needs.
For example, fats; A child burns more than an adult pound for pound and needs more, correct fats for neurological development, energy and to absorb vitamins from the gut.
Compared to an adult a young child may spend three times as much of their Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) feeding their brain and for this needs increased energy (which just means calories) in the form of mostly carbohydrates. But better types in better amounts!
Kids’ needs are special and we aren’t getting overall as whole food based as we should be. It’s not easy with the variables of our and their busy stressful lives.
Kids in Sports
Optimizing performance is the number one reason most parents bring their young athletes into my office. Minimizing injuries which most kids today are somewhat more susceptible to is always part of my plan as well.
Creating the most effective “sports” diet is mostly basic because it most often has to do with what most all kids are lacking or too abundant or not consistent with in their intake. And of course, if a child is suffering from food sensitivities or digestive issues this can keep them from even going out to train or perform at all.
Filling in the gaps for individual micronutrients and building-up applications are always secondary after the basics are for filled and symptoms from chronic conditions are managed. And, of course, we provide strategies for the many unique circumstances so that the athlete can get their individual, optimal nutrition.