Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

Feeding kids for good health is every parent’s responsibility. Problem is, it’s not always easy! Does any of this sound familiar: “But my kids LOVE pasta, fries, sarmies and biscuits.” And “Surely kids need carbs to grow properly?” Oh, and my all-time favourite: “Shame! You’ll deprive them if you don’t give them sugar.” Ugh.

Cool food

Can food for kids and teens can be nourishing and cool? Or will it always be broccoli vs. chocolate; rabbit food vs. potato crisps? Are there healthy foods that don’t require feeding kids while they’re pinned to the floor? I really think so. But to be successful with this it’s critical that parents play the major role in introducing their children to these foods. How we view food (and how we eat it) as a parent, directly impacts on our kid’s choices. This is because what they eat early on in their lives plays a key role in shaping their eating habits. Couple that with what they hear at school about food, and how their friends deal with food, and these will be messages they carry with them for life – ultimately impacting on their health.

Feeding kids mainstream snack foods high in sugar, synthetic food chemicals and refined carbs send young bodies on energy roller-coasters that make sustained concentration and performance very difficult. These foods also have questionable nutritional value. But these foods are designed to taste good, come in bright packaging and they’re convenient! Helping your kids kick the habit won’t be easy, especially if the healthy alternatives are bland and unappealing. The challenge is to make ‘good’ food both tasty and healthy. Five years ago, this was pretty hard (I should know, as the mom of a then 6-year-old). These days though, it’s so much easier thanks to widespread knowledge of banting, paleo, HF/LC and keto diets and the various products and recipes they bring to the (kitchen) table.

Food for health

Feeding kids these higher fat, lower carb choices has benefits in so many areas. It helps improve concentration, learning and behaviour. It promotes proper physical growth and development. It promotes resistance to infection. It minimises future health risks like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and dental decay. It also gives them plenty of energy to boot! Given what we know about the pitfalls of an unhealthy diet, I’m not sure we have a choice about what to feed these precious little people. After all, good health = a longer life!

In this video, Cassandra (my daughter), 10, shows how she makes her own school lunch…