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Nutrition For Kids – How To Teach Good Nutrition To Your Children

By Ben Coomber

  • Good nutrition is a life skill, and it should be taught to children
  • From meal prepping with tonnes of Tupperware to counting macros – elements of your healthy eating are just as important to the little ones
  • Ben Coomber explains how to make sure your kids eat healthily

Nutrition for our kids is important, in fact, nutrition for anyone is important, it’s the foundation of life.

Knowing good nutrition, how to account for your health, recovery and performance, for me, is a life skill. Learn these skills and they stand you in good stead for the rest of your life – that’s why I believe it can be such a powerful journey to go on.

Delayed-gratification

It’s a journey that has led me to the more rewarding journey ever in my life - a journey of self and personal discovery, and if we can set our children up early doors for this journey, shouldn’t we?

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Ben, what would you know, you don’t have kids!” True, I don’t, but this doesn’t make all my advice invalid. I come purely from the angle that of a caring, humble, passionate nutritionist that wants people to live their best life - simple as that.

If you follow any of my work, read anything, you know my message is simple - learn information that works for you, change, and live an AWESOME life! This is a message I bang on about in my #1 rated health and fitness podcast Ben Coomber Radio. But, enough about me, let’s talk kids, or more importantly, what’s on the plate of our kids.

The Problem

Unfortunately, through the development of the convenience world everyone’s nutrition has become worse, more packets, more foods with more ingredients you can’t pronounce.

People have less and less time for real food that nourishes body and mind, and this is often no different to what we are feeding our kids.

Now I get 100% that saving time and money is at the forefront of people’s minds, as it should be. No one wants to spend more money or time than they have to on food. BUT, we do have to make time for food, or we will later have to make time for poor health.

Delayed-gratification

And this is fitness to a tee – it takes time. People might complain how they wish they were healthier and fitter and looked better, but the reality is if you are not spending time on it, don’t expect the results… Everything takes energy and time.

Buying food, prepping food, planning ahead, buying Tupperware and knowing what you’re eating all need to be considered, and the nutrition we feed our kids is no different.

I know many a people I talk to who say they eat too much junk food, and one of my simple rebuttals is “don’t have it in the house,” which then results in “oh I have it for the kids.”

Delayed-gratification

Ok, so we don’t want to, or know we shouldn’t eat too much junk food, but its ok for your kids to have lots of junk food? “Oh but they are young, they can handle it, they’ll burn it off.” Well, yes they can to a degree - they might burn it off and not notice the ill effects, but how is that setting up their health for future life?

We need to remember that children are developing beings, and everything that goes into their bodies is making new growing cells. So a diet of sugary breakfast cereal, ham sandwiches, crisps and a chocolate bar and a dinner of fish fingers with chips and beans, how good are their cells, tissues and foundations that their bodies are trying to build?

In that sample diet how many vitamins, minerals, Omega 3 fats, phytonutrients, pre and probiotic fibres were there to help build their muscles, bones, brain and major organs…

What’s the fix?

At this point we have to consider how what we are feeding our kids is setting them up for future life. Now I can’t give you quantitative data, I can’t say to you if you feed your kids X, Y and Z that this and that will happen, but what we can draw on is our own experience as adults.

Think back to a time when you ate poor food, and too much of it, how did you feel, how did you look? And what changes did you make, and how did you feel?

You most likely dropped weight, felt more energised, your skin, hair and nails improved, you had more energy to exercise, could concentrate at work more, and the list of benefits goes on. Your kids could experience the very same benefits, so don’t we owe this to them?

Delayed-gratification

Now I know it’s not as simple as this, many parents have fussy kids, and that does lead to problems, but that doesn’t mean we don’t stop exploring strategies, different foods, and different ways to get good nutrition in them and hopefully coax their taste buds into slowly accepting newer foods and textures, something within which the book I am offering for free at the end of this article for all parents will have in it, strategies to alleviate this.

What I want us to think about is treating our kids more like adults, in the respect that they need many of the same foods as we do. Try not to think too much of ‘what are kid’s foods’, they are the largely the same as what we eat, so looking at types, techniques and recipes we can try to get kids to eat is key.

One thing a parent often struggles with is the topic of whey protein, “kids can’t eat whey protein, it’s for adults.”

Why is it?

I reckon because its marketed at adults and has pictures of muscular men on the front, but it’s just a source of protein. That’s it! It’s essentially a blended chicken breast, but it could allow us to easily get more protein into kids diets by creating things like protein porridge, protein pancakes (both sweet and savoury) and smoothies.

Now I’m not saying they should, I will always favour real food over whey, BUT, when a kid is fussy but they will eat strawberry flavoured porridge made with whey protein with a few strawberries on top, that’s not a ½ bad breakfast for a kid, especially if someone is struggling with them being fussy.

Why bring up the topic of protein? Because it’s important for you and me, and so is it for our kids. They need it too, just not quite as much.

Delayed-gratification

Aiming to get 10-20g in most meals a kid eats is key, so having them eat 2-3 small eggs, having 15g of whey protein, 150-300g of yogurt, animal protein, beans and pulses etc all goes a long way in helping them grow and develop.

Fruit and vegetables, another key topic. Many kids will only eat a few, and many parents want more options, and by all means explore them, keep trying new things and make it fun and a game and an adventure, but at the same time if your kids will only eat 4-6 types of fruit and or vegetables, then it’s really important that they are at least eating these 4-6 types all the time, pushing this as their intake, at least they will be getting vitamins, minerals etc from these foods.

Many parents will buy enough of these vegetables and fruits for a few days, then it peters off and its back to starchy carbs in many forms for the bulk of their intake, keep getting those foods in, cause if it’s the best you can do, then it’s the best you can do, so just keep working with that and explore options periodically.

Then there are all the other things that we try and do as adults, eat plenty of fish, push for variety, eat as much whole food as possible, drink lots of water, limit stress and caffeine, and live the best life we can with food being a platform for that.

Now more than anything this article is aimed to make you think, not to question, or point a finger, or accuse, but to make you think about what you are feeding your kids, and simply if it can be improved, and list a few simple strategies to do just that.

Delayed-gratification

Thus, to help, here is a completely free eBook to help you do just this, it will cover a ton of information including; the early years, benefits of eating real food, protein fat and carbohydrate sources, reading food labels and buying food, mastering the shopping list, food ingredients, meals and recipes, and more.

Grab your free copy here, and let’s make some positive changes, not just for ourselves, but for our kids: http://bencoomber.com/nutrition-kids

Jamie Lloyd

About Ben

Ben Coomber is a performance nutritionist (BSc, ISSN), educator, speaker and writer.

Ben run’s Body Type Nutrition, an online nutrition coaching company that also runs a multi-level, online nutrition course, the BTN Academy. Ben has the UK’s #1 rated health and fitness podcast on iTunes ‘Ben Coomber Radio’ with regular Q&A’s and expert interviews. Ben also owns Awesome Supplements, a brand offering clarity in the confusing world of supplements. Connect with Ben over on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram.

For everything else visit: http://www.bencoomber.com

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