Food contains calories and nutrients. Calories are fuel. Nutrients are all the healthy stuff we need. They should go together to make quality fuel. That’s what kids need. It’s not the calories, it’s the empty calories that come in high processed foods that harm them. Compare these two drinks:
100 EMPTY CALORIES
An 8 ounce soda has about 100 calories, it’s loaded with sugar and hardly contains any other nutrients. These liquid sugars make children fat and they don’t feed them
100 HEALTHY CALORIES
A strawberry-pineapple-spinach smoothie may have the same amount of calories as a soda, but it’s rich in nutrients. It contains calcium, iron, foliate, copper, magnesium, potassium and vitamin A, C, K and B6. All good for a child’s body and brain.
Nowadays children get a lot of empty calories from products with a high glycemic index: soda, pizza, grainy desserts, ‘fruit’ drinks, dairy desserts, cookies, cake, chips, candy bars etc. They fill them, but they don’t really feed them. So your kid gains weight but stays hungry.
NO = OK
Does your kids’ diet contain a lot of processed food and empty calories? Gradually cut that down. As a parent, you may not like to say ‘no’ to your kids, but remember you say ‘yes’ to their health at the same time. Give kids a choice of healthier alternatives.
DON’T FOOL YOURSELF
Artificial sweeteners fool your system; your body will look for calories that aren’t there and will then start compensating. More and more research indicates that artificial ‘zero calorie’ sweeteners cause snacking behavior – and add to over-eating instead of preventing it.
- focus on the quality of nutrients.
- choose relatively unprocessed food, things your grandmother would recognize as food.
- cut back on refined carbs as much as possible: ditch sugar and replace white rice and white pasta for whole-grain varieties.