I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a parent who wasn’t concerned about their children’s health, and more especially that they are feeding their kids the right foods. Feeding our children the correct foods that will build their brain, a strong immune system, and help protect them from the myriad of serious or annoying health challenges that beset so many children and adults alike, should take priority at every meal.
Every single thing that enters a child’s mouth will either support health or degrade it. Most recognize the detriment sugar has on a child’s health, but yet continue to feed them sugary foods. Why? So often a parent wants to be popular with their child, so they give in to their persistent begging for foods, even though they know they aren’t good for them. This sets them up for other such behaviors that can make life difficult for them as their children get older.
Often a child is picky about their foods and parents succumb to giving them whatever they will eat, even knowing it is not good for them. There are several websites and cookbooks, such as The Sneaky Chef, that help find ways to sneak better, wholesome foods into their diet until they become accustomed to eating healthier foods. Since our taste buds change every two weeks, there is an increased hope of better eating habits for them. On this topic, I remember a seminar I attended a few years ago, where a doctor attendee complained about not being able to get her own children to eat vegetables, much less her patient’s kids. The speaker chuckled and said “I never have a problem getting my kids to eat vegetables. I believe in choices, and here I give my kids a choice. I tell them the only choice they have in getting vegetables into their bodies is which orifice it will go into!” The audience roared, and I will never forget it! I am not advocating this approach, but I do want to remind you that, as the parent, you are in charge.
In addition to sugar, parents need to be aware of additives in their diets. In the Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 1982, Dr. Feingold postulated, then confirmed in the study, that children’s behavior was affected by chemicals in the diet. These chemicals include bisphenols such as BPA (plastics), Phthalates, perfluoroalkyl chemicals, perchlorate, nitrates, nitrites and food coloring amongst others. In a policy statement entitled Food Additives and Child Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns about these harmful chemicals. The FDA has also been actively investigating the link between food coloring (which is made from petroleum) and hyperactivity in children. What are parents to do? Feed your children healthy fats (butter, olive oil, coconut oil) and whole foods. Eat less processed, sugary and junk foods. Read labels and avoid foods with chemical-sounding names on them. Make it a commitment to support their health, no matter how unpopular you may become.
©2019 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.