While the old saying goes, “you are what you eat,” we now have the science and technology to prove it.
Most pediatricians will agree that breast milk to the age of six months and beyond is the perfect nutrition for a new baby. After six months, adding soft baby foods such as fruits, vegetables and starches can help maintain a baby’s healthy weight. For women who (for many reasons) cannot or elect not to breastfeed, there are baby formulas that are manufactured for optimal health for babies. Many parents pay close attention to a baby’s diet and weight as newborns. But what happens as babies grow and as the diet becomes more advanced? As babies grow into toddlers, start walking and developing into young children, their bodies are preparing them for life. What they eat as a young child can have lasting impacts on their overall health as adults. Obesity in children is leading to lifetime diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation and heart disease.
If feeding a newborn is important, feeding growing children should be equally important.
Parents should avoid falling into the trap of fast foods, most of which contain processed, chemically-altered and enhanced products. Instead, we should encourage our children to eat whole, natural foods, fruits, vegetables and lean meats and protein. The “Keto” craze sweeping the nation is a call to action for Americans to lose weight naturally, eat healthier and “cleaner.” Clean eating means, to us, eating off the land. If you can grow it or catch it, it is probably the best nutritionally. Fish, plants (vegetables and fruits), lean meats, all contain nutrients and properties important for good health. Limit sugar and sweets in your diet including sodas and fruit juices such as apple and grape juices.
Here are some tips for helping your family eat cleaner!
—Avoid all fast food if possible.
—Select fresh or frozen foods when possible. These have fewer preservatives than canned foods.
—Do research! Thanks to the internet, there is new information at your fingertips.
—Try to eat something green everyday and encourage kids to try new foods such as avocados, which are packed with healthy benefits.
—Chart and meal plan to ensure your kids are getting enough of the clean foods: make meal planning a priority for health.
—If you don’t have time to shop, order from the many “fresh” meal delivery companies that are available for healthier lifestyles.
—Pay attention to food labels: it’s amazing what many of us allow our kids to eat without realizing it.
—Enjoy feeling better when you eat clean and lean!
Your kids will benefit for life if, as parents, we start them on a path of eating to live well.
Food is considered a medicine by many and with the right diet, we can help our kids avoid disease down the road to adults!