After I finished writing my last blog about FAT– I realized that I didn’t write much about
feeding GOOD FATS to our children.
This is a subject that I sometimes stress a little about.
Are my children eating enough of the GOOD FATS in their diet?
There are a couple of DHA points that I want to address:
- Our brains are mostly made from DHA fat. For our brain to work at it’s best…we need to have the right ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. When our children consume the right mix of these EFA’s they maximize their brain development. (Check out my last blog here for details about omega-6 and omega-3 fats).
- DHA is an essential nutrient for optimal brain and eye function.
- DHA is also a normal component of breast milk, and infants fed breast milk (for at least 1 year) have higher IQ’s.
- Low DHA levels are linked to: Ahlzeimer’s, Depression, ADHD, High Blood Pressure & Allergies (to name a few)
- DHA is typically found to be dangerously low in ADHD sufferers AND DHA has also been found to improve the behavior and symptoms of ADHD.
To repeat some info from my last blog- the following WHOLE foods provide our bodies with the needed FATS to produce DHA:
FLAXSEEDS, WALNUTS, SOYBEANS & LEAFY GREENS
TIPS for feeding children:
- Grind some fresh flaxseed seeds (I use a coffee grinder) and mix a small amount in your child’s food (oatmeal, smoothies, even spaghetti)…they won’t even notice it! (I try to have each of my children eat 2-3 tsps of ground flaxseed a day).
- Cut up Dark Leafy Greens as small as you can and mix them in your child’s food (spaghetti, bean dishes, burrittos- the possibilites are endless!) Get your kids used to seeing GREEN on their plate.
- Chop walnuts into small pieces (I use a Pampered Chef up and down chopper) and mix them into their oatmeal/steel cut oats. My kids eat a lot of walnuts this way.
- When my walnuts are fresh my kids love to eat them with raisins. They see me doing it…and soon they started wanted the same thing.
- I give my children a VEGAN DHA supplement a couple of times a week. I feel really good about this supplement. I makes me feel better when I might have missed a couple days of them not eating these foods. Check it out at Joel Fuhrman’s website: DHA
- We don’t eat a lot of soybeans in our home- Any suggestions for eating this vegetable…please let me know!
Other HEALTHY FATS
I can’t forget to mention the benefits that come from consuming AVOCADOS. These are also healthy source of fatty acids. Not quite as good as raw nuts and seeds- but avocados not only provide the healthy fats but they come packed with essential nutrients.
AVOCADOS ARE A GREAT FOOD FOR GROWING CHILDREN!
Raw nut butters are a great way to give your children their needed FAT. Especially because it is hard sometimes for children to want to eat enough raw nuts and seeds in their whole form. My children love raw cashew nut butter on their sandwiches (if you can afford it ). I also try to spread a little tahini (raw sesame seed butter) on their peanut butter sandwiches. Tahini provides an excellent source of calcium! If using peanut butter, if possible, it is best to purchase a brand without other additives (like HFCS).
Have your kids try this HUMMUS recipe, which includes TAHINI. My kids LOVE it! It helps them eat their raw veggies. The red pepper makes it a fun orange color- it’s VERY yummy!
In food processor:
1/4 C. tahini (you can toast 1/3 C. of lightly toasted sesame seeds then grind in food processor to make this tahini)
1-2 Tb olive oil (optional- definitely makes it more creamy)
2 T. fresh lemon juice (can use more….I don’t like it with too much lemon)
1-2 garlic cloves minced
One red pepper- chopped
One can of garbanzo beans, drained (keep some liquid)
Real Salt to taste
½ -1 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
Add water or leftover garbanzo liquid until Hummus is a dip-like consistency. (It will thicken in the fridge). Eat with fresh veggies and/or whole-grain crackers.
“We all must accept the fact that health is created and experienced as a result of the healthful behaviors and environment we create for ourselves and our loved ones. We must take personal responsibility by educating ourselves and teaching our children to care for themselves.” Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Source: WFM Blog 16