While this isn’t a prescriptive diet plan for children, these five factors play a role in kids’ nutrition.
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
5 Key factors affecting child nutrition and Diet
1. Going sugar-free
Keep their refined white sugar intake to a minimum or eliminate it if possible.
You can replace that sugar with natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, cinnamon, honey, or safe artificial sweeteners like stevia.
You can also use fruit, such as mashed bananas or applesauce, to sweeten baked goods. Additionally, using whole fruits and vegetables in snacks and meals can help satisfy sweet cravings while providing important nutrients.
Refined white sugar in teas, drinks, cakes, or dairy milk chocolate can create an unhealthy eating habit that eventually leads to diabetes.
Get kids accustomed to a different type of sweetness early on, so their palates can adjust to more natural ingredients.
Also, there are many healthy dessert and snack options on the rise that you can easily find naturally sweet recipes to make at home.
This is my personal favorite and one doing the rounds right now.
Here’s how to make it:
- Place 1-liter berry juice* and 2 TBSP maple syrup into a saucepan.
- Heat this until just before boiling point – it needs to be hot enough for the powder to dissolve.
- Add in 6 TBSP of organic, unflavoured Gelatin – you can pick this up from any good quality health store.
- Whisk vigorously until all the Gelatin powder is dissolved.
- Once dissolved, remove from the heat.
- Using a spouted jug, pour the liquid into a silicone mold leaving a few millimeters gap at the top of each mold. This prevents the spilling of the liquid when transferred to the fridge. You can give it extra support by placing the mold tray onto a baking sheet.
- I prefer to let the liquid cool before placing it into the fridge.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes until the Gummies are solid and no porous liquid is left. You can check this by simply giving your silicone tray a gentle nudge.
- Once they’re set, remove them from the fridge and start peeling them out one by one.
- Store in a sterilized glass container with a lid that has a rubber sealing ring. It seals in the air. You can store these in the fridge if you like for extra freshness. Not sure how long it will last though as they’re so yummy and addictive.
This recipe makes between 12-16 units. Scale the recipe as you like, it’s flexible. And needless to say, experiment with various flavors, the kids will love it!
Homemade gummies are a healthy alternative to the store-bought, over-processed kind. Remember, those usually have a ton of salt, sugar, and other unnecessary flavor enhancements in them.
I love this recipe because it’s any excuse to use fun and pretty molds if you have them. Or it could be a budget-friendly excuse to go shopping for more. They don’t cost very much and are worth it.
Love these cute molds. You can make lots in one go and play around with colours and flavours.
These are a great investment because you can use them for hard candies too – just try to make them as healthy and sugar-free as possible. Otherwise, use these for delicious fruit juice gelatine gummies.
*If you’re concerned with the sugar content, make a combo of 50% pure juice and 50% filtered water. Bear in mind, it will dilute the flavor.
The same principle applies to fizzy drinks.
Why are they so unhealthy for kids?
Well, firstly, they are loaded with refined sugar, so they can contribute to tooth decay or lead to diabetes if consumed in excess. And with diabetes comes the risk of obesity.
The sooner you can get them accustomed to drinking healthier alternatives the better. But, don’t put pressure on them. Or shame them about foods that quite frankly we all crave from time to time.
Rather, swap out the options at different meal times.
Think of it as ‘reprogramming’ their palates for healthier choices.
Work in fruit-infused waters, lemon water, and sugar-free, iced herbal teas.
For hot drinks, it’s easy to mimic a hot chocolate with Magnesium-rich Cacao or even Carob mixed with nut or seed milk. And you can infuse it with delicious organic maple syrup, honey, or vanilla bean too.
Experiment with lots of ingredients and make them all nutritional. Even something like maple syrup has nutritional benefits. There’s so much more to learn about the actual nutritional content of foods and the healthy swaps you can make.
Hydration is crucial for a healthy eating plan. If they find the taste of plain water boring, give them fruit-infused water instead – without the carbonation. That way they’ll still get the ‘sweet’ factor and it’ll feel like a treat.
3. Sunshine and movement
Get them outdoors as often as possible. Kids spend a lot of time in front of screens, making it easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
It can lead to snacking on unhealthy foods in front of the TV, computer, or smartphone screens.
The best way to get the maximum daily dose of Vitamin D is through natural sunlight, between 10 am and 3 pm.
The benefits of Vitamin D
Also referred to as Calciferol
This is a micronutrient that we can’t produce naturally in our bodies, so we can produce vitamin D by simply going outside and getting some sunshine!
It’s an excuse to get them away from smart tech screens that have a level of toxicity that is harmful to health in general. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium as well as supporting our immune system.
Where to source them from:
– Oily fish eg. Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel
– Red Meat
– Egg Yolks (Dairy)
– Margarine (fortified fat spreads)
– Cereals (fortified)
4. Allergies and allergens
Another vital step in tackling kids’ nutrition is monitoring allergic reactions to foods. Get them tested for allergies if you notice any allergic reactions to certain foods. Certain allergens like Gluten, Amines, and Salicylates can cause chronic inflammation whether in the gut or skin.
Kids and eczema allergies
It’s very common among children and babies to display symptoms of eczema. There are so many allergens – natural and chemical – in our foods, environmental pollen, consumer products, and man-made environmental pollutants. We can’t escape it.
Eczema can be a traumatic experience for a child or baby. The itch is chronic and it induces extreme anxiety and agitation. And the actual inflammatory reaction is sometimes hard to pinpoint to a specific allergen, be it food or an external trigger.
Once you notice any reactions and have them tested, it’s a good path forward because you’ll know exactly what they can and can’t eat. Then you can design an eating plan that includes foods that will not induce that allergic reaction. Better yet, you will include foods that prevent it (chronic inflammation) from occurring altogether.
Ultimately it can be a great way to build a healthier appetite. If your kid is allergic to amines and salicylates and you can eliminate this through food choices, you’ll see a happier and calmer child.
5. Nutrition and home cooking
Teach kids about nutrition early on and get them involved in cooking at home.
You can learn nutritional cooking (healthy cooking) which teaches you how to incorporate healthy foods and ingredients while being mostly plant-based. Plant-based is healthier and can save you money in the long run.
You’ll learn to cook from scratch using fresh, unprocessed ingredients and to meal prep in a budget-friendly way.
For example, you can learn to make ‘nice’ cream without the white sugar; you can learn to make chocolate syrup and chocolate drinks from cacao or carob; and you can make natural Gummies (above) at home using pure fruit juice and gut-friendly gelatin.
All these examples are much cheaper to make at home. Plus, you can mimic flavorings just like the store-bought variety. For example, swap out fried potato chips for healthy, crispy vegetable chips sprinkled with homemade, non-radiated spices.
Imagine if your kids’ palate became accustomed to munching on those?
This eating style has longevity. Strict dieting doesn’t last.
If you cook at home in a clean-eating style, it will be okay to indulge in some ‘junk’ food on the weekend without the guilt.
It’ll be something they’ll look forward to. Plus, there are plenty of healthier burger varieties on the menu these days anyway.
It’s easy to prescribe to children what they will and will not eat. Sometimes, they might flat-out reject a portion of food or meal.
Kids are savvy! So it’ll be easy to involve them with cooking and nutrition. I think it’s a more progressive approach to teaching them about nutrition. ‘Learn by doing’ as the saying goes.
How to explain nutrition to a child?
Teach them how to grow their food and they’ll understand how it makes its way to the table.
Tell them exactly why certain fruits and veggies are healthier than others.
More interestingly, tell them how certain fruits and veggies can help heal things in their body. That will get their attention.
Do you want to learn healthy cooking, but don’t know where to start?
Let me show you how. You’ll love this article on nutritional cooking.
If you found this post helpful, leave a comment, I value everyone’s feedback.
*cravenutritionalcooking.com does not give medical advice. Where there is a reference to it, the phrasing is merely used to illustrate a point or give context to food and cooking for nutrition information. It is not related to a specific condition or any specific individual. Always consult your healthcare professional for medical and dietetic advice before embarking on any type of eating plan or ingesting nutritional supplements.
See our Policies page for more details.