First of all I am going to start by talking about what a healthy diet actually consists of:
- A mixture of complex carbohydrates; if you don’t know what I mean by this: whole grain products such as brown rice and whole grain pasta, buck wheat, whole rye, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
- Protein from meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
- Healthy fats from some nuts (almonds, cashews), peanut butter, avocados, olive oil, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and trout), soy milk, tofu and flaxseed.
At the end of the day we all need a varied diet, not matter what our age. The above should be spread out pretty evenly. I try to include each in every meal.
This should be the same for children; if you are eating a healthy nutritious food plan, make the same food for your kids.
What about a raw food diet for kids?
A raw food diet is healthy for any age as it is packed with goodness.
Children should be encouraged to eat raw from when they are at a young age as it’s the best way to get the amount of nutrients they need for natural, healthy, growth and development.
Not only is raw food great for the body with all those enzymes pouring in, it’s also fantastic for brain development. Antioxidants keep the brain functioning, with vitamin E providing good circulation; foods such as raisins, cherries, apples and grapes – all excellent raw snacks for kids.
What damage do high sugar foods actually do?
I hope you’re sitting down because this may actually scare you a little.
Foods with higher sugar levels, such as soft drinks, syrups, white bread and pasta can be detrimental to brain development because they can deprive your brain of glucose, something that it needs to fuel those ‘little grey cells’ as Poirot would say! Without glucose from complex carbohydrates the brains power will be depleted making it difficult to focus and learn.
Is it difficult for a child to follow a raw food diet in today’s society?
I don’t honestly see why it would be difficult. If you encourage your children to eat raw because you do and come up with some exciting recipes with them, I think you will be surprised how easy it is to keep them interested. Plus if they grow up eating raw, you’ll find that will happily continue to eat this way.
Kids who have been brought up on the fast food diet generally continue to eat that way because it’s what they are used to, so why should it be any different with kids brought up on a raw food diet.
Yet there are some things you should look out for, especially if your kids are ‘picky’ eaters because you don’t want them to suffer from malnutrition. Some common signs include: pale skin, no energy, cavities and children who are small and thin (for their age).
Isn’t the raw food diet boring for kids?
It’s only as dull as your imagination I’m afraid. If you can’t think of what to make and don’t know how to be creative in your kitchen then what chance do your kids have?
The best thing to remember to avoid boredom is that a raw food diet doesn’t have to take you or your kids away from all the foods you love; all you have to do is substitute the unhealthy for the healthy.
Here are some examples of food your kids will love that you can make raw:
Chocolate ice cream
And let’s not forget Raw pizza (so many topping choices)
If you are looking at these and thinking ‘yeah sure, it sounds easy, but I wouldn’t know where to start’ have a look online or in shops at some of the amazing recipe books that are out there.
If you’re still not convinced that a raw food diet is healthy I have prepared 2 tables showing a typical non-raw food meal plan and raw food meal plan for kids.
Table 1 – Non-raw food for kids
|Breakfast||Sweetened cereal, blue topped milk, fruit juice||High sugar, simple carbohydrates||Milk||Bad fats with full fat milk||Bad|
|Lunch||White bread sandwich, butter, cheese, yoghurt, apple, soft drink||High sugar, simple carbohydratesApple – complex||Yoghurt||Bad fats with butter and cheese and yoghurt if not low fat||Bad|
|Dinner||Mashed potatoes with milk and butter, baked beans, fish fingers, soft drink||High sugar, simple carbohydratesPotatoes – complex||Fish, Milk||Bad fats with full fat milk and butter||Fair|
Table 2 – Raw food for kids
|Breakfast||Raw muesli with fresh fruit and soy milk, raw fruit juice||Complex with muesli and fruit||Soy milk||Good fats with soy milk||Good|
|Lunch||Raw black bread with pecan nut butter and raw jam, apple, raw yoghurt, raw fruit juice||Complex with raw bread, jam, apple and raw juice||Pecan nut butter, raw yoghurt||Pecan nut butter||Good|
|Dinner||Raw cauliflower and parsnip mash, raw hummus, raw jicama (yam bean) burger, raw fruit juice||Complex with raw veggies, jicama, fruit juice||Hummus||Hummus||Good|
I know you are probably thinking that I am completely biased because of course I would say that the raw food diet is healthier for kids. But the facts speak for themselves. You can look all this up if you don’t believe me.
Don’t get me wrong table 1 is not all bad. There are some good things in there; cereal is good for everybody but try to stay away from the sugary kind and opt for skimmed milk. Sandwiches are a healthy lunch option, but if you don’t fancy raw bread go for whole wheat and cut out the butter. Yoghurt as you can see is full of protein but again opt for a low fat version.
Just remember raw food isn’t just good for a child’s body, but also a child’s brain. Do you want to be the one who is holding your kid back?
*If you are thinking of starting your baby on raw food check out this link http://www.realfoods.co.uk/shop/baby/food/ for some ideas and don’t forget you can blend your meals with a food processor so it’s easier for babies to swallow.Google+