Newsletter: Events, Recipes, and Tips

-- Tips for Healthy Eating in Children

December 6, 2007

You’ve heard of No Child Left Behind. Here are ten foods that every American child* should have to keep from being left behind**, ten foods that will provide a better balance of Omega-6s and Omega-3s in a child’s brain — and every other tissue in his or her growing body. The first food on the list is for infants; the rest are for older children.

1. Breast milk – for many reasons, including the fact that no formula matches breast milk in terms of the essential fats.
2. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables – for many reasons too, including the fact that green leaves are the source of all omega-3s.
3. A whole grain cereal with no added fat and very little sugar to which children can add their own sweetener (if desired) and fruit. My current favorite is Nature’s Path Flax Plus (which also provides 500mg of omega-3s/serving). Oatmeal; cream of wheat; cheerios; Skinner’s raisin bran; rice, corn, and wheat chex; shredded wheat; wheat puffs; and grape nuts are all good breakfast cereals.
4. Omega-3 enriched eggs (for meals and for puddings and baked goods).
5. Smart Balance Peanut Butter or homemade walnut butter (for sandwiches and snacks).
6. Healthy breads and crackers in the home, i.e., breads (whole grain or white, whatever the child prefers) with no added fat and crackers made with fats that have a healthy balance of omega-6s and 3s, fats such as canola oil.
7. A healthy cooking oil in the home: canola oil or the Smart Balance blend. Olive oil and butter should be used on those foods (toast, salads, baked potatoes, sautéing) that specifically call for them.
8. Walnuts (with or without raisins and chocolate chips) for snacks and in salads, cakes, breads, etc.
9. A good source of fish, and 3 or 4 fish recipes that the child loves. If you don’t already have such a source, I recommend Vital Choice for their pure, uncontaminated (and sustainably-harvested) salmon, shrimp, scallops, sardines, tuna, and halibut.
10. Home-baked goods and other desserts containing healthy amounts of omega-3s, i.e., brownies, cookies, walnut cakes, and zucchini bread made with omega-3 enriched eggs, canola oil and walnuts.

* I say this list is for American children because I’m only familiar with the foods in the American marketplace.
**Unless, of course, a child is allergic to any of these foods.