So you want low-carb kids and healthy kids but don't know where to start? You want to ditch the junk food and help your picky eaters?
Keep reading because I have recipes, tips, and a quick video that will help you make changes from today!
All this PLUS a free guide and 50 snack ideas list.
Low-Carb Kids - easy things to change today
Without a doubt, the number 1 question I get asked once people discover we eat low carb, wheat-free and sugar-free - is "is keto safe for kids" and "what on earth do you put in your kid's lunch boxes????"
We have all grown up with the traditional sandwich, or more recently, wraps in our lunchbox. It is easy, just throw something half decent inside 2 slices of bread and voila - lunch.
But is this really a good lunch? The wheat is 80% carbs, which means they will be hungry again in an hour, wheat causes leaky gut and malabsorption of vitamins. Modern wheat contains amylopectin and gluten.
Bread and wraps are highly processed which removes any nutrition then fortified again. Basically, wheat is a rapidly absorbed carbohydrate with a high GI full of reactive proteins causing a leaky gut.
What's wrong with bread for kids?
Yes, children do have slightly different nutritional requirements from adults: they need more healthy fats and quality protein. But filling their plates with empty calories in the form of white pasta, bread and rice is no nutritional kindness.
Think of a really healthy sandwich, now take away the bread and what you are left with is the nutritious elements - meat, salad, cheese, mayonnaise etc. You will not be deficient in anything by giving up your wholegrain. Bread is a filler, a stodgy bulking agent to your lunch.
But don't we need whole grains for fibre and vitamin B's? By increasing your vegetables, protein, and healthy fats, you have more than covered your required fibre and vitamin intake.
Modern-day wheat actually causes a leaky gut (even though most of us are unaware) and malabsorption of vitamins. Wheat is bleached, bred to fight disease, bred to be resistant to viruses in the field.
We have all been told to eat healthy, whole grains, and there is no disputing the science that when whole grain flour is substituted for white flour, there is a reduction in colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. But by increasing your vegetable intake when eating LCHF, you far exceed any loss of fibre of Vitamin B group from not eating whole grain bread.
My children would always bring home their sandwich crusts, or my daughter, would pick out the filling anyway and leave the bread intact to go straight in our bin - what a waste. So
- Low Carb Kids 2 - a printable guide to get your kids involved. How to plan their lunchbox each day.
- Low Carb Kids 3 - a 2-week guide to school lunches
- 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 lunch box ideas.
- 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 Myths Of Low-Carb Kids
How To Start Low-Carb Kids?
- Begin by thinking what you would ordinarily be putting in a sandwich and give that. Children love picking at a variety of different foods and grazing on a mini-buffet
- Get a lunch box with little compartments. My youngest actually has a small fishing tackle box for his lunchbox. Or use little containers, silicon cupcake cases, bento boxes, etc.
- Start slowly. If you have a fussy eater, your household will not be a happy one if you go straight in and change everything overnight. Start by changing one aspect at a time. Maybe just remove the bread and give them their regular fillings, but keep everything else as it was. If they really can't do without a sandwich, find the thinnest bread or thinnest wrap so they are exposed to less wheat, but eventually, the wheat must go. Make them oopsies or egg wraps. What about wheat-free crackers? No more cakes, biscuits, muesli bars. Slowly cut down on the high-sugar fruit.
- Use cold meat as a 'wrap' and put a slice of ham or roast beef, with some cheese or vegetable inside. Roll them up and you're done.
- Take a look at one of their 'typical' days lunchbox. Now if you removed the wheat, cakes, biscuits, muesli bars, flavoured yoghurt - what is left? Not much? Think honestly about how nourishing their lunches are? How many vegetables are in it? How much QUALITY protein? How much HEALTHY fat do they eat? Fish? Bread and anything made with flour and sugar are purely stodgy bulking agents with no nutritional benefit.
- Some children are picky eaters so their parents try and get them to eat whatever they can when they can. These children, when you analyse their diet, are getting their energy through nutritionally devoid foods such as bread, flavoured yoghurts, muesli bars, processed snacks. They snack continuously and then never eat their dinner - good old fashioned meat and veg. Don't blame the child for having a poor diet, encourage them to try new foods. I think it's interesting when those picky children come here for playdates, yet they eat everything I offer. Many times, there is a power struggle at home and they know their mum will let them do it. They are always obliging with me, they might not like something, but they always try it out of politeness.
- If you can't get your children to eat their greens, why not try my healthy low-carb chocolate zucchini cake. Perfect for lunchboxes.
Quality Proteins and Healthy Fats
Further reading: Guide to healthy fats
Choose 1 or 2 of the following. Get your children to make their own list of things they enjoy and plan their own lunches.
- Cold meat such as chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, ham (I always choose ham off the bone and buy a good brand with minimal additives)
- Sausages (wheat-free, 85% or higher meat content)
- Shrimps or prawns
- Cream cheese stuffed meatballs
- Tuna mayonnaise - just open a tin of tuna and mix with 1-minute mayonnaise.
- Boiled eggs
- Last night's leftovers
- Salmon and cream cheese sushi
- Cubes of cheese with olive or chorizo
- Nuts for those allowed to bring them to school
- Unsweetened natural yoghurt
- Chicken drumsticks
- Fat Head sausage rolls
Low-Carb Kids - Vegetables/ Fruits
Ask your low-carb kids to write down their favourite vegetables or fruits. Cut them in ways that make it easy to eat.
- Cucumber - sliced and used in place of crackers, or hollowed out and filled.
- Seaweed slices - you have to search out for a good brand of these in your Asian grocer. Many packets do not have the ingredients in English and many have way too many ingredients. These are a superb snack and full of iodine which many people lack for good thyroid function.
- Capsicum slices
- Apple slices
- Healthy veggie kebabs
Low-Carb Kids - Treats
Children love a little treat at school, and for afternoon tea. And these sugar-free versions will keep them happy while keeping them healthy.