The Nutrition Nook with Zahra ~ Food and Our Children

Header - Post - Healthy EatingThe Nutrition Nook is a monthly column featuring nutrition information for healthy eating. This month we’ll hear from Zahra, who writes The Natural Journey For Life blog.  * Remember to consult your primary care physician or dietitian before beginning a new nutrition regimen.*

Zahra's LogoGreetings! My name is Zahra and I am on a life journey to obtain optimal health for my mind, body and spirit. By education I am a food scientist and chemical engineer.  However, my life purpose is to help others find natural alternatives to everyday needs. That is where my passion lies.  I believe that food is medicine and it can either heal or harm us.  We truly are what we eat! The catalyst for this journey is my son Caleb who has been challenged by food allergies, eczema, and digestive woes. His short life has taught me more about alternatives and making better choices than I could have ever imagined.  Please, join us on this journey…let’s travel together! Peace and Blessings.

I am a mother of a child that has multiple protein allergies. Because of this our pantry probably does not look like everyone else’s. We have ingredients like: millet flour, chia seeds, buckwheat flour, coconut oil, and corn pasta.  My son Caleb has never tasted a piece of candy.  It’s not because I’m such a nutrition stickler, but more of the fact that most candy is full of artificial ingredients, colors, dyes and preservatives and I’m not quite sure how he would react to those substances. So, instead of taking the chance of having weird skin reactions, we just avoid it all together.  If Caleb didn’t have these dietary limitations would I have already given him his first lollipop?  What’s a childhood like with out candy???

CalebWe have been forced to have a clean food diet for Caleb due to the life threatening allergic reactions that are possible.  But, what if he was free of allergies?  Would I give him different food?

As parents we have a huge responsibility to provide a balanced diet full or fruits, vegetables, grains protein and fun stuff!  Due to societies addictions to heavily processed foods we’ve landed in an epidemic of obesity and disease. Not only are we as adults suffering but many children are too.  I love snacks (and I love junk food)!  Chips, candy bars and cookies are my favorites, but I cannot eat those items all the time.  Garbage in equals garbage out and as I get older I don’t bounce back a quickly from a night of binging on junk food like I did in my 20’s.  Here are some tips to make clean food fun for your children.  Note – if they are used to eating processed foods you have to transition them slowly to another diet.  It’s like going through a detoxification program.

  1. Find a vegetable that they love! Most children won’t mind eating fruit because it’s sweet.
  2. Find various ways of preparing that vegetable. If it’s spinach, add a spinach puree to mashed potatoes to turn them green! Or make a green, pesto type sauce to put over pasta.
  3. Smoothies are a good way to sneak in veggies. Include them in the smoothie making process.
  4. Involve them in cooking or preparing healthy food.  Children are most likely to eat and feel proud of what they’ve made.
  5. Put vegetables (and other goodies) in a soup.  My toddler LOVES soup!  And I sneak in green things that he would not normally eat.
  6. Make the wholesome food taste GREAT!  Not just good!  Take the time to explore different spices and flavoring agents.  If the food is good it’s hard for them to push the plate away.

This is a call to action for all the parents out there!  Nutrition is important for the entire family and we set the tone as parents.  As you begin to explore meal combinations and ingredients, please watch out for any adverse reactions.  Immediately stop the consumption of the offending food.  Let’s make 2015 a healthier one for all!

Peace and Love!