We get this question a lot. What do you feed your kids? Are they low carb too?
Is it safe for kids to eat a low carb healthy fat lifestyle?
Firstly, I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or medically trained professional. Just a mum to two beautiful boys who I am trying to raise the best way I know how.
Secondly, I think Mums and Dads have it tough, trying to do their best in a world full of overwhelming and conflicting information and judgment at every turn.
So straight up, I am writing this post to share with you my personal thoughts and experience and not to judge anyone else in how they choose to raise / feed their kids and certainly not to add any more reasons to feel guilty for our parenting I think we all get this enough.
I DO feel very passionately about children’s nutrition and the food they eat but I am by no means parent of the year! Yes – My kids still eat plenty of fruit, and other ‘red list’ items that I personally avoid such as bread, biscuits (ie jatz/arnott’s arrowroot), honey, oats/porridge, baked beans, weetbix, hot chips and ice creams and the occasional chocolate and lollies just like any other kids etc but I must say since starting my own LCHF journey it has been impossible for me not to transfer the information and knowledge I have acquired from my LCHF journey into the way I try to feed my children. I have become much more mindful about limiting their sugar and carbs, limiting red list items such as processed and packaged foods as much as possible and focusing their diet on fresh wholefoods, fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy, nuts and good fats!
I try and pre-empt my kids` hunger tantrums by getting in just in time with protein, fats and some carbs too! Focussing on filling them up with healthy fats as much as I can get away with. When my kids have full little tummies with a balanced diet, they stay fuller for longer and I don’t see the sugar / hunger crashes that can come with them living off carbs alone.
There isn’t much I give my kids that comes out of a packet with unrecognisable ingredients, numbers and additives and I very rarely shop down the middle aisles of the supermarket. Having said that, I don’t ‘deny’ my kids these foods in social situations but we do talk about healthy foods / sometimes foods and making healthy food choices. I *try* not to get over anxious about the party lolly bags and different foods being offered at play dates etc because I know 80% of the time I am limiting my kids exposure to these foods. However, because I so rarely give my kids ‘junk’ food I really notice the change in their mood and behaviour especially when there’s lots of sugar, additives and food colouring added. Also, those ‘special occasions’ seem to come around every weekend and before you know it those occasional treats become an every week occurrence if not careful.
My personal view is that it has become, scarily, just too easy to give our kids a diet based mainly on sugar and carbs with lots of processed foods unless we become more informed and mindful of what we are feeding them. It’s very easy for junk food and empty carbs to become the norm. And I make a very conscious choice every day to try and not let this happen for my kids. Sometimes I feel like the odd one out trying to limit my kids to these foods.
I used to feel guilty or unsure about adding butter to their vegetables or olive oil to their food. My first son’s first food was farex/rice cereal as that’s the nutritional advice that was given to me. I challenge this advice now since starting my own LCHF journey. My second son’s first foods were avocado, sweet potato, vege’s with butter, eggs, dairy and cheese. Now, I feel guilty when my kids are filling up on empty carbs like a box of jatz biscuits (yes, that happens when I’m unprepared!) or bags of popcorn that offer very little nutritional value, protein or fats!
I don’t advocate that kids eat NO CARBS or eliminating grains/carbs from their diet completely (unless for medical reasons you have to) but I do strongly feel passionately about giving our children a low sugar, low-er carb, and low-refined carb, REAL FOOD lifestyle.
If my 5 year old got to choose, in a day he would probably eat weetbix, toast with jam, biscuits, jatz and plain pasta! Luckily – while he’s still under my watch and not old enough to completely make his own decisions, I am going to do all I can to make sure my kids get a more balanced diet and keep putting a variety of foods in front of them to be exposed (to at least try) and eat.
I am lucky my kids aren’t as fussy as some. I KNOW how much of a struggle in can be to feed fussy kids a variety of food. And I do feel for the Mum’s and Dad’s out there who get frustrated preparing meals only to have to clean them up off the floor it must be so disheartening and I’ve been there too. But persevere. Keep introducing healthy foods. Eat together with your kids, be an example to them and help them form a positive relationship with all types of food. I never force my kids to eat certain foods but I do always encourage them to just give things a try and sometimes I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what they will like. They have gone through stages of loving a food then going off it for months then liking it again.. yes, it’s hard work!!
Some examples of what I feed my kids (2.5yrs and 5yrs old)
– eggs, eggs eggs, (egg on toast, egg with soldiers, eggs and cheese in pasta, egg and cheese french toast, boiled eggs, egg crepes/pancakes – they’re a superfood! Thank goodness my kids love them.
– avocado (only my 2yr old likes it) so I’m not going totally broke 😉
– mild olive oil & butter – I am a little more liberal with this in my cooking and in foods.
– nuts and nut butters (I’m lucky my kids have no allergies)
– dairy – cheese cheese and more cheese (2 yr old loves a medley of different cheeses for breakfast!), 5 yr old likes the laughing cow triangle cheese or grated cheese in wraps – yoghurt – try aim for the lower sugar options. Unfortunately, mine no longer like plain greek natural, I give them Greek vanilla yoghurt. Full fat milk. On the go milkshakes. Hot chocolates using milk and a few squares of 70% lindt dark chocolate, sometimes I add a small amount of honey, xylitol or sugar.
– veges! Carrot sticks, cucumbers (try these with a dip), my kids loves string beans we call them snakes, 3 bean mix, baked beans, broccoli, corn (my kids love corn on the cob), cherry tomatoes, peas, potatoes – I add butter to their steamed veges, caulilflower mash.
– protein – red meat, chicken, fish – chicken on a skewer stick, or red meat on a stick is always a winner, as are lamb chops they can hold or sausages (Chef does sausages on a stick for her kids, they love it), meatballs, bolgnese sauce, crumbed or steamed fish.
– fruit (I love giving my kids fruit but I also balance this with trying to serve it after they’ve had their protein/fats so they don’t fill up on it)
I try to use wholemeal or multi grain bread, and brown rice when I do use them.
Yes they also get oats/porridge, weetbix, and yes they do get things like hot chips and an icecream some times when we are out too.
My kids DON’T get juice or cordial. If they’re thirsty it’s water or milk. Or we make banana / berry smoothies with milk and real fruit.
I avoid vegetable oils and margarine spreads for my family.
We don’t do McDonalds (they’ve never had it!) and we don’t do sugary cereals for breakfast. We don’t do crisps and flavoured biscuits like shapes etc. Have you read all the ‘ingredients’ listed in those foods?
I am very lucky my kids have no allergies or medical issues that means I don’t have to restrict their diets entirely. Some people do and that can be even tougher than I could imagine.
Feeding your kids a low sugar, additive and processed free, real whole foods diet in today’s society isn’t always the norm anymore. And I must say I do find this incredibly sad. It does make it incredibly difficult to make informed better choices when the Australian Dietary Guidelines still advocate we give our children over two low fat milk, dairy and yoghurt!!
There is an excellent resource from the same authors as The Real Meal Revolution and it’s just for kids! Super Food for Super Children (also knows as Raising Superheroes with a blue cover, they’re the same book).
Here’s a summary;
“There is so much dietary advice out there, much of it conflicting, that it can be difficult for busy parents to make sense of it all. Medical doctor and sports scientist, Professor Tim Noakes, chef and long-distance swimmer, Jonno Proudfoot, and dietitian Bridget Surtees, a specialist in paediatric nutrition, cut through the clamour to provide clear, proven guidelines and simple, delicious recipes to feed your family well, inexpensively and without fuss.
Following their phenomenal, record-breaking success with The Real Meal Revolution, the Real Meal team set out to rethink the way we feed our children. The result, ‘Superfood for Superchildren’, challenges many ingrained dietary beliefs and advocates a real-food diet for children – from toddlers to teens – that is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. Their advice is solidly underpinned by a critical, scientific interrogation of the the children’s food industry.
By combining the latest peer-reviewed scientific evidence with straightforward, mouthwatering recipes, most of them for the whole family, ‘Superfood for Superchildren’ shows clearly how to provide your children with the best possible nutrition to help them to grow up healthy and happy.”
Here’s some of our low carb healthy fat back to school lunchbox recipes
For a morning healthy drink for kids that don’t like to eat breakfast or if you’re on the run, try our nutritious On The Go milkshake recipe that kids will love! For kids you could even add a handful of berries, a banana or tsp of honey! It’s packed full of healthy fat and protein and far less sugar and additives than a traditional up n go.
If you’re looking for more information there is an amazing resource from our friends Brenda Janschek and Alexx Stuart, who are passionate health coaches and advocates for kid’s health. They are mums on a mission to turn around the current state of children’s health in the world today. They believe the best way to achieve this is to help empower parents to know the best way to nourish their kids who in turn will then teach their kids how to live and love a real food lifestyle, keeping them thriving throughout their lives. They have a fantastic program THRIVE – RAISING KIDS WHO LOVE REAL FOOD, a 21 day education program to help parents uncover the secrets to positive health and encouraging our kids to stay that way. You can check it out here.
This course is your roadmap to finding information on what foods are going to promote your children’s overall health, from how to boost their immune system, to gut and brain health, with interviews with top experts in their field like Pediatrician, Dr Leila Masson and fussy eating expert Simone Emery/Play With Food. THRIVE will arm you with tools to create habits which will inspire your kids to make their own positive healthy choices for the rest of their lives. All parents want their children to be healthy and stay well. To have huge amounts of vigorous energy and experience minimum amount of illness in their life. While there’s not just one single ‘how-to answer’ for improving health, experts are mostly unanimous that “we are what we eat”. THRIVE covers many areas of positive health including food, gut, brain, immune health, exercise, pantry staples, ‘the right’ foods and brands, fussy eaters, body image and so much more. Each week you will also receive meal plans with delicious wholefood recipes which are jam packed full of nutrition to properly nourish your babes.
Be quick, registrations close this Tuesday 8th May, midnight Sydney time.
Thank you for reading, I hope it gives you a little inspiration for what to feed your beautiful little ones. For more inspiration you can also check out chefs kids instagram food diary here.
** This blog post contains affiliate links to the THRIVE resource, if you sign up using our link we receive a small referral fee which helps keep our small business going, there is no extra cost to you. We only support and recommend courses we strongly believe in 🙂 **