I love my kids. And I want the best for them, especially a long, healthy life. But that doesn’t mean that I restrict certain foods or make them eat the same things that I do. Even though I have tried different types of diets for myself, I’m don’t make my children eat that way. At home, we eat a variety of food — real food — and mostly organic. But I let them eat whatever they want on special occasions or when we go out for dinner. They have the rest of their adult lives to experiment and figure out what works for them. For now, I let them eat a varied diet. Their little bodies need it.
As a Holistic Health Coach who believes in the power of food to nourish and heal the body, I have experimented with various diets, from vegetarianism to low-carb to Paleo. Over the years, I have tried different eating patterns, and I make choices for myself according to how the diets make me feel. But just as I know what works for me might not help my neighbor, I am sure that what’s right for me is not always the best diet for my kids. Children’s dietary needs are different from those of adults because they’re growing and developing. Unless there is a specific symptom or illness, kids need to be exposed to all types of healthy food.
I wasn’t always this way. At one point, I was studying the principles of food combining and I read that eating fruit paired with carbs (or proteins) wasn’t good for proper digestion. So I admit that for a while, I stopped putting fruit in my kids’ morning oatmeal (and my own). Even though I had good intentions, after about a week, I realized this was not a smart idea. First of all, I don’t want my kids to get obsessed about food or have rigid rules about what they can or can’t eat. And most importantly, my kids don’t need to food combine. They don’t have digestive issues. They need fruit. And their bellies are happy with berries and oatmeal. I realized that I shouldn’t be imposing restrictions on a growing child’s diet without good reason.
Do my children still eat clean most of the time? Yes. I limit added sugars (no flavored yogurts), and I don’t buy any processed foods, because those aren’t good for anyone. But when I’m experimenting with grain-free diets, it doesn’t mean my kids do. And if my kids order pizza with ice cream for dessert when we go out, I let them. I hope that when they grow up, they will understand the importance of eating a balanced, nutritious diet. And when they are adults, they can make their own decision to go Paleo, or gluten-free, or whatever else. It will be their experiment, their journey, and their choice.
That said, my kids haven’t shown any need for food restrictions or dietary modifications of any kind. I know that gluten-free or dairy-free diets can make a big difference in children who have digestive troubles, skin rashes, hyperactivity, or even autism. That’s wonderful. That’s using nutrition as medicine. So if you are trying to help your child with a specific problem or symptom, it’s certainly worth a try to approach it nutritionally.
But if your children are otherwise healthy, then a well-balanced diet — even with occasional pizza and ice cream — is the way to go.
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.