We all know that eating habits formed in childhood can last a lifetime. The challenge is to know what foods are appropriate to feed our children. Recently there has been a dramatic increase on the number of obese children and adolescents. This had lead to an alarming increase in the number of young people with Type 2 Diabetes. Are we doing something wrong in the way we are feeding our families?
There are several problems with these snacks:
The fact is that they are not at all satisfying because these ingredients make the consumer desire to eat more. The oil is tasty and feels good in the mouth, inducing a craving for more. The low fiber white starches, such as white flour and white potato cause a rebound hunger when they are digested. The corn sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup has the ability to be consumed in large quantities without satisfying hunger. The salty taste triggers the desire for more.
High fructose corn syrup, a cheap and powerfully sweet natural substance is present in nearly every package of food produced, including cakes, cookies, cereals, crackers, sodas and flavored drinks and candies. It has been implicated in the Diabetes problem since it is metabolized differently than other sugars. Check the labels! It is amazing how much of it we eat every day.
Many experts have said that if we could go back to baking our own snack foods our kids would be healthier, since the ingredients we use at home are more wholesome than those used in the factories. Using canola oil or other low saturated fat oil instead of solid oils like shortening, and table sugar instead of corn sweetener, would be a major difference. Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables, out of the refrigerator and dried fruits and nuts also make great snack foods.
Lunch and Dinner
Lunches and dinners should be made of high quality food. The most satisfying foods that keep a child comfortable until the next scheduled meal or snack are the ones that have high protein content, starches that are full of fiber and some fat, preferably “healthy” oils. This list of course includes fish, poultry, and meats, low fat milk products, brown rice and whole wheat bread, cereal and crackers. In addition there is a whole category of food that fit this description…legumes.
Natural peanut butter which is made of only peanuts and salt, is a very good legume food for the child who is not allergic to peanuts. (The oil must be mixed in when the jar is opened.) It is much better in quality than hydrogenated peanut butter. Peanut butter should be spread on something and covered with a “lid” since it can cause choking if eaten straight. A natural peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread with a glass of low fat milk is a very nourishing meal. (Far better than low fiber bread and Skippy with a box drink!)
Besides legumes, olives and avocados are full of a very healthy nourishing type of oil. Corn in any form is a tasty food that has oil and starch and a small amount of fiber. All nuts and seeds in all forms are very nourishing for kids age 4 and up.
Refined white flour found in most breads and pasta and white potatoes are OK, but they tend to cause the child to be hungry much sooner than the high fiber starches such as whole wheat, brown rice, sweet potatoes and squash. There is new pasta called Barilla Plus that contains legume flour and is much more nourishing and filling than regular pasta. Of course most meals and snack should have fruits and vegetables added.