We wouldn’t expect our cars to run without fuel or on inadequate fuel, yet how much more important is it for our children to have optimal nutrition as their bodies are developing and are in such an active physical and mental state! I believe society today is returning to recognize the links between proper nutrition and mood, energy and illness. So many diseases are on the rise, and yet what has changes in society? One of the major changes is foods – especially those we feed our children. I bet our ancestors wouldn’t believe what’s in the highly processed, packaged, store bought foods of today!
One of the easiest ways to keep good nutrition in mind is to think about foods in their whole, most natural state. As much as it seems easy to grab prepackaged foods, it is so important to keep in mind that we are creating a base that will be the foundation of a life time for our children! Nature itself has “packaged” many foods for us – like fruit. And when you combine them with a few nuts or seeds, they become an energy boost that will sustain us for much longer than the high sugar, processed, packaged foods. The high sugar foods will create initial energy but can leave kids feeling energy depleted, craving more sugary foods and/or irritated after a few hours.
A great way to incorporate whole foods (while saving money) is by making simple energy bars (see recipes below). Although this takes a little time, having the kids help is a great way to spend a little time with them. There are also many no bake recipes that they could prepare on their own which gives them a sense of pride – and of course somehow it always tastes better when they’ve prepared it themselves! It’s also a great way to instill into them that proper fueling is essential and certainly worth taking the time for.
Here are some great, sustainable snack recipes that my kids and their friends have enjoyed:
Berry Energy Bars
1 1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup cocoa or carob powder
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup flaxseeds ( fresh ground if you can)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Mix all except 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, in mixer or food processor to desired consistency. Fold in frozen blueberries. Form into balls and roll in hemp seeds or sesame seeds. Or, to make bars, press down in wax or wrap lined pan. Refrigerate or freeze for a firmer bar. Feel free to substitute other seeds, nuts or fruit.
Berry Fruity Smoothy
I make the first 3 ingredients listed “requirements”, then let my kids choose the rest.
2 teaspoons Chlorella or other Greens powder
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon Hemp or other Protein Powder
2 – 3 cups fresh (or frozen) fruit –eg. blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, raspberries, pear…
1-2 soft bananas
1 – 2 cups juice (to desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla or cinnamon (optional)
Blend all and enjoy. Yields 2 servings
This is all might take some time of adjustment for kids if they are use to high sugar snacks. But remember, it’s much easier to make changes when we are young. Also, just as we as parents need to set boundaries on things that we feel might be dangerous to them, boundaries also can be set around foods when you believe in proper nutrition that will help to keep their bodies strong to ward off diseases and all the many illness of today. It is extremely important to talk with our kids about the importance of proper nutrition. Really, with a very small investment of time, the benefits of this will be a lifetime of better health and wellness – what better gift could we give our children?!
Stay tuned for more recipes!
Mom and RHN Registered Holistic Nutritionist