The Blueprint for a Balanced Diet for Your Family
As moms, we balance many responsibilities and wear a lot of the hats in our family including the chef’s hat and the “doctor mom” hat. We are master multi-taskers, and we want to do the best job possible on all fronts without neglecting any one job. Feels impossible sometimes, right? We hope to make things a little easier for you.
I don’t need to tell you that a healthy, balanced diet is important for your entire family. But to what extent does a healthy diet really matter? We know that what they eat helps our children’s little bodies and brains develop, but did you know that more and more studies are showing an increasing connection between infant and child nutrition and disorders such as celiac disease, ADD/ADHD, autism, allergies, depression, and anxiety? Also, research is showing a connection between nutrition and gene expression.
Proper nutrition in the early years may prevent the onset of diseases later on and may even help your children pass on stronger, healthier genes to their children. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, mostly because nutritional needs can vary from person to person and even day to day based on things like energy output, illness, or stress levels. That said, there are some general principles that you can apply to create a foundation for a balanced and well-rounded diet for your children.
Here are some key guidelines for feeding children (preschool age and up):
• Avoid added sugar
• Include fats and proteins as they are essential nutrients for kids
• Try to fit as many vegetables as possible in their diet; get sneaky if necessary!
• Focus on whole, raw fruits for full nutritional benefit; avoid canned fruits, fruit juices, and fruit/gummy snacks
• Choose the highest quality sources of foods, including organic and unprocessed food that will contain the most nutrients with the least amount of chemicals or undesirable ingredients.
• Aim for variety, especially including some fats, protein, and carbohydrates at most meals and snacks.
If these guidelines are terribly overwhelming to you, then my advice is to start where you can. Pick one or two foods you currently buy processed and replace them with their whole food counterpart. Slowly make changes as you feel comfortable making them.
Use this guide to help you swap out processed foods with whole foods.
(refined enriched flours)
|Sprouted Breads or Homemade Bread (made from organic, whole grain, preferably gluten-free flours)||Whole Grains
(quinoa, brown/wild rice, farro)
|Non Organic & Fat Free Dairy||Organic, Grass-Fed, Full Fat Dairy||Organic, Grass-Fed, Raw Dairy|
|Fat Free, Fruit Yogurts, Yogurt Tubes, Yogurt Drinks
(yogurts marketed to children)
|Full Fat Plain Yogurt||Organic Whole Plain Yogurt
(no sugar added)
|Pre-Hardboiled and Peeled Eggs, Egg beaters||Free Range Eggs||Organic, Free-Range Eggs|
|Juice from Concentrate||Organic Juices, Not from Concentrate||Fresh-Pressed Juices (refrigerator section), Fresh Fruits, Kombucha|
(corn syrup, food coloring, etc)
|Organic Gummy Snacks||Organic Dried Fruits or Whole Fruits|
|Regular Table Salt||Sea Salt||Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt|
|Aspartame, Acesulfame K Saccharin, Xylitol, Sorbitol, Agave Nector||Honey, Maple Syrup, Stevia||Organic Raw Honey, Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Coconut Sugar|
|Pancake Mixes||Pancake Mixes using high quality, organic ingredients and low levels of sugar||Homemade using Whole Grain Flours (i.e. teff, buckwheat, etc)|
|Margarine, Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Corn Oil, Vegetable Oil||Grape Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil||Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cold-pressed), Coconut Oil (cold-pressed), Butter (grass-fed), Nut Oils, Avocado Oil|
When your children eat a balanced diet, they will not only be receiving ample nutrients for good health, they’ll also be more satiated and satisfied. These guidelines can help the whole family, too!
Start by looking at what you’re currently providing them and gradually make changes here and there as it feels manageable to you. If you need to inspiration for your grocery shopping, grab the You Are Well Ultimate Grocery Guide. This guide gives you a printable list with a wide variety of whole foods, plus guidance on the best sources so you avoid unwanted additives and chemicals.
We know that as moms, you balance a lot of responsibilities and wear multiple hats. Adding something new can feel overwhelming, especially without the proper support. Find the support and resources you need to help your family thrive in the Moms Wellness Connection. Moms Wellness Connection is a community of women unlike any other, where mothers learn to flourish using nutrition as a means to guide them and their families toward true wellness, both physical and emotional. Join the free Facebook community here.
About Rebekah Fedrowitz
Rebekah Fedrowitz is the founder of You Are Well, a virtual wellness company that helps stressed and strained moms improve their family’s health and quality of life by using food as the cornerstone of care. She is a board certified holistic nutritionist, wife, mother, and cooking enthusiast.
In a world full of confusing health advice, Rebekah is revolutionizing a different path to wellness for busy moms struggling with anxiety, fatigue, and gut problems through her knowledge and expertise as a nutritionist. A busy mom herself, she understand how to enable you with the nutrition-based tools you need to finally experience mom life the way you were meant to—with joy, energy, and confidence, as well as give the necessary tools to provide long term wellness for your children and family.
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