All children will benefit from lowering their carb, sugar, and wheat intake. You don’t need to be so strict with children in the healthy weight range, as they are generally more insulin sensitive than adults are, so their body can deal with sugars and carbs more efficiently. Overweight children should be controlled quite tightly. Studies have shown that children eating a ”low carb high fat’ diet, lose more weight and keep it off far better than those on a ‘calorie restricted low fat diet’.
- Low Carb Kids 1 – tips and tricks
- Low Carb Kids 2 – printable guide to get your kids involved. How to plan you lunchbox each day.
- Low Carb Kids 3 – 2 weeks of school lunches and how to plan them.
- Low Carb Kids 4 – how to make a low carb lunchbox, and more Low Carb lunchbox ideas
- Low Carb Kids 5 – healthy sugar free snacks for after school
- FREE printable PDF Healthy Sugar Free after school snacks
- Low Carb Kids 6 – an entire MONTH of low carb lunch boxes
- Low Carb Kids 7 – My guest post on Diet Dr, “How To Raise Children On Real Low Carb Food”.
- Low Carb Kids 8 – How to help your child eat real food – with an action plan.
- Top 10 Myths Of Low-Carb Kids
All children will benefit from drinking fewer soft drinks (and energy drinks are an absolute no-no), fewer cakes, fewer sweets, less ice cream, fewer chips and tomato sauce (and don’t even get me started on chicken nuggets and pizza). Their bodies are growing at a rapid rate, and if we don’t feed them the nutrients they need for all the complex mechanisms that are going on inside their body, we are setting them up for a very unhealthy future.
It is so sad when some children exist on litres of soft drinks, hot chips, pies, McDonalds, KFC, Subway – DAILY. Next time you see a bunch of teenagers hanging out at the mall, what are they eating? Usually some kind of takeaway washed down with an energy drink. Zero nutrition.
These are beautiful growing bodies who have an addiction to high energy foods, neglect whole foods, and are probably deficient in some area. Try and really think about what your children have eaten in the last week. Make a mental note or log into My Fitness Pal and track it.
This is a great little video from the daughters of Tim Naughton, maker of ‘Fat Head Movie’. To see all their videos, see my link on You Tube.
I want to teach my children about having a healthy lifestyle –
- for their bodies to be well nourished (which is different from well fed)
- to be able to concentrate at school
- not eating to excess
- enjoying treats
- eating real whole food
- making good choices
- enjoy trying new foods (our family rule is “you don’t have to like them, but you do have to try them”)
- being active is fun
- health and nutrition are a priority
Children need good FATS – they keep you full for longer, contain essential fatty acids and supply the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Children need protein – building blocks of their growing muscles.
Children need carbohydrates – but no where near what people think. Even severely restricting carbohydrates, the body can still make it through gluconeogenesis from excess protein.
Children need vegetables – fibre, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, phytochemicals and all the other hundreds of compounds that haven’t even been discovered yet. Fruits and vegetables should not be seen as equal. Fruit is incredibly high in carbs,especially fructose. Eat whole fruits (and never fruit juice or dried fruits), as the whole fruit contains fibre and nutrients, but don’t consider they are equal as vegetables. Be aware of the fructose content of fruit, and limit to 1 or 2 pieces a day. Go for lower sugar fruit such as berries. Cut back on high sugar tropical fruits such as pineapple, melons, grapes, etc.
How many parents do you know where they just laugh and say their children just WON’T eat vegetables. It is your responsibility as a parent to ensure they are properly nourished. It’s your convenience of not having a battle at the dinner table that allows them to refuse vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it is easy, but establish a few family rules, one at a time, which let them know it is not negotiable. Go slowly as it may be a big change for some families. Be proud of what you have achieved. Little by little.
- Our first family rule is they have to try everything. They don’t have to like it, but they have to try it
- Keep introducing that food (maybe weekly) until they enjoy it, this may take what seems like forever, but you do get there
- Get them to smother the food in something they do like to hide the taste (remember, they HAVE to eat some of it)
- Flavour your vegetables. My children would turn up their noses at most greens until I made them silver beet carbonara, Asian greens etc. I almost cry when my youngest asks for more, a proud mamma moment.
- Put butter and cream cheese on the table instead of tomato sauce (way too processed and full of sugar). Let them flavour their own food. They have control and won’t battle so much.
- Put twice as much of something on the plate as you know they will eat and then you can negotiate they only have to eat half (sneaky psychology, but man this one works).
- Get them to choose what to go in their lunch boxes. I know what each of my children’s tastes are so I make their lunch box accordingly. I’m not saying I make totally different lunch boxes, but where one has tomatoes and feta, my youngest will have capsicum and carrots. I still add one thing a day to push them. At the moment, it’s a cherry tomato each day for the boys. They know I will check each day to see if it has been eaten, if not, they have to eat it before they eat their afternoon tea.
I would say I am pretty good at what I feed them at home (all the pictures you see, are our actual meals), but I don’t restrict them in any way when they are at friends or at parties. No one likes a diet bore or a food restrictor. It would be great if other parents made good choices, but really, it’s not making up a huge part of their diet. This would be different of course if your child has a true food allergy or intolerance, but my children never have. My focus at home is always restrict the carbs and restrict poor food choices.
Eating out is a tough one. Most cafes sell cakes, muffins, doughnuts, sandwiches, juice, …. and sometimes there is no other choice. That’s ok, just make sure they have the best of what is there and NO juice. Save your $$$ and ask for a jug of water. Try and adapt what is on offer.
Low Carb Tip For Those Just Starting Out
If we go to McDonalds (possibly once or twice a year), I personally choose a small burger meal, choose water and replace the fries with a side salad. I then open the burger and put the meat patties, sauces and cheese on top of the salad. Voila, the regular meal would have been 870 kCal, 133g carbs, my new meal is only 204kCal and 4g carbs!!!!! It just takes a bit of thinking.
My children rarely drink soft drinks but when there aren’t many options available, I prefer they drink water (or occasionally diet drinks) if we are eating out, I know there is a lot of controversy about artificial sweeteners, but I personally choose them on very rare occasions. For some children who are reliant on regular soda, this can be a stepping stone to coming off them completely. I believe there is a short term place for diet soda, but not in the long term.
“strive for improvement, not perfection”
If you would like to learn how to become a low carb family who ditches the soda and the junk food, you may wish to look at my latest eBook “Low Carb Easy Family Meals – 35 easy recipes.” Click here to read more.