MACRONUTRIENTS FOR KIDS
Macronutrients are essential for kids’ growth. MACRO means LARGE, so ‘macronutrients’ are needed in large amounts in our body. Most of you know that we talking about PROTEIN, CARBOHIDRATES & FATS.
They are found in food and most foods contain a mixture of more than one macronutrient.
Micronutrients are foundation for your child’s development as they provide energy, building block for their cells, and support cell functions.
Macronutrients help with building hormones and neurotransmitters and support immune system. Those reflects on behaviour, feelings, emotions and overall wellbeing of your child.
Let’s explore importance of PROTEIN for your child development, good sources of protein, and why is so important to have protein in each meal.
Protein is necessary for children development as a main structural component of the cells, which are multiplying and rapidly growing in early childhood. Proteins are building material for muscles, skin, hair, hemoglobin in blood, hormones, and internal organs.
Proteins are built from amino acids into the long chains. Amino acids are combined in specific order and structure resulting in variety of protein molecules. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to grow and function properly. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins and end products of protein digestion.
Out of 20 amino acids 9 are essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be made by our bodies so we have to obtain them from the food. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by our body and can be obtained from the food.
The best sources of essential amino acids – ‘complete’ protein sources are animal proteins like meat, eggs and poultry. ‘Incomplete’ protein sources are plant foods including legumes (chickpea, beans, lentils), nuts, seeds, soy, and grains.
Variety and combination of protein sources should be included in children to ensure intake of complete protein for each meal. Foods in the protein foods group provide also different amounts of micronutrients including zinc, magnesium, B vitamins vitamin E, and iron.
Children who don't get enough protein may experience slow growth, bone and joint pain, fatigue, poor concentration, and reduced immunity.
Protein should be included in each meal. Usually kids snack food lack in protein.
Good ideas for snack foods with protein:
Nut butters or humus with veggies sticks or rice crackers
Nuts and seeds trail mix
Nut/coconut/fruit power bliss balls
Smoothies with added nut butters
Boiled eggs, veggies, or egg sandwich
Natural yogurt mixed with fresh fruit
Sliced apples/pears with ricotta/cottage cheese or nut butter
Get your kids involved in food preparation and teach them different sources of protein foods.
Fats are vital component of our diet. Fats are necessary for child’s growth, brain development and optimal function of their body. Fat is present in the membrane of every cell in the body and provides energy and supports cell growth. Fats helps with absorobtion of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K), production of hormones, supporting our immune system fighting infections, & protects our internal organs.
Fats are made of building blocks called fatty acids.
Three main types of fatty acids include:
Saturated found in butter, yogurt, cheese, coconut oil and flesh, & lean meat
Monosaturated found in olives, avocados, vegetable oils and nuts and their oils
Polyunsaturated divided in 2 types:
Omega-6 found in nuts and seeds & their oils
Omega-3 found in oily fish (sardines, salmon, tuna.), flaxseeds, walnuts pecans
There are also Trans Fats that are found in processed foods like deep fried, take away foods, French fries, packaged biscuits, cakes, cookies, chips, margarines. Diet high in trans fats is linked with development of chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes.
Overload of information that make confusion for deciding what are the good oppose to bed choices of fats for your kids or you. … Good fats, bed fats, trans fats, low fat, high fat, cholesterol, what we should eat or not…
To make it simple for you there are few tips about fats:
Fats from whole foods are healthy- GOOD FATS and they don’t make you fat!
Avoid trans fats from processed foods as they are BAD FATS.
The type of fats you eat is more important than total amount of fat consumed.
Below is a guidance for choice and amount of foods you should feed your kids to provide optimal amount of fats.
PLENTY OF: Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, trout), avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, flex seed oil, sunflower oil.
IN MODERATION: fatty cuts of meat, butter, milk, cheese, yogurt, coconut (oil and flesh), palm oil, lard, cocoa butter.
AVOID: Processed (deep fried take away foods) and packaged foods (baked gods -cakes, biscuits, cookies, and processed snacks- chips, crackers, microwave popcorn)
Following that guidance, it will help with mood management, alertness and concentration, and boosting of your kid’s immunity.
Carbs are very important macronutrient in the kids diet. Carbs are necessary for kids growth as fuels every cell of their body. They are used for development of nervous, immune and digestive systems.
I am talking here about COMPLEX CARBS that are coming from legumes, some grains, vegetables and fruit. Those carbs will give your child energy and stable blood sugar levels when combined with a good protein. The type of carbs consumed is also important for maintaining a healthy weight, mood and behavior in children.
Many kids are fed mostly today with REFINED, SIMPLE CARBS like white bread, pasta, pizza, biscuits, cakes and other treats full of refined sugars. Simple carbs raise blood sugar quickly, but result in a crash shortly thereafter. A quick drop in blood sugar will cause a child to crave more carbs to quickly raise the blood sugar again…and then they will crash…again! Many children live in a cycle of eating carbs and crashing, on repeat.
The complex carbs to include in yours and your child’s diet:
Veggies as veggie sticks like cucumber, capsicums, celery, carrot.
Kumara, potato, carrot, parsnip roasted or homemade chips.
Other veggies fresh or cooked
Wild and brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, oats and pasta, pizza, bread, crackers, wraps made from those grains.
Legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas included in meals like chili, soups, curries, or legume pasta, hummus etc..
If You need a support with your kids diet, picky eating, behavior, anxieties, allergies get in touch!
Book a free call and lets chat how I can help.