Do you ever feel like your kids just never. stop. eating?!
It can sometimes feel impossible to keep up with their insatiable appetites, especially with the added mental load of trying to constantly make sure that you’re providing healthy options and lots of variety – while not spending a fortune at the same time.
Luckily there are some easy ways to fill your kids up, keep them full and keep them eating nutritious AND delicious food. Here are our top tips for keeping your kids well fed – and hopefully asking for food less often!
Lots and lots of protein
It’s the easiest and most obvious trick in the book – feed them quality protein, at every meal.
We actually can’t stress this one enough.
Protein is one of the most vital macros, yet the body cannot store it so it means we need to keep up a constant supply.
Protein rich foods are essential for repairing and rebuilding muscle, especially in growing kids!
It provides their bodies with energy to support growth and development (which they’re doing a lot of!) as well as maintenance of muscles, bones, organs and all body cells.
Starting the day right
If you can’t get in protein at every meal, the next best thing is to make sure you’re at least starting their day with a good source of protein.
This is a great way to prepare them for the day of school ahead.
Animal protein is the most favourable (because they are ‘complete’ sources of protein) in the form of eggs, meat, fish, poultry and dairy, but you can also get protein from plant sources such as nuts, seeds and legumes. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that these are ‘incomplete’ which means they don’t have all the amino acids that the body needs to make protein.
If you choose to eat animal foods then try to eat organic or one hundred percent grass fed & finished or pasture raised meats, organic or pasture raised poultry, line caught or sustainable seafood, organic or pasture raised eggs and unprocessed, full fat dairy.
Minimise processed food, where you can
Wherever possible, it’s incredibly beneficial to limit processed food.
The combination of additives, preservatives, salt, sugar and highly processed seed oils in packaged food makes them hard to resist and ensures that kids keep coming back for more.
But, it also makes it quite difficult to satiate a child’s hunger as there are very little nutrients that they need to function and grow, so the body will always crave ‘more’.
If you’re finding it hard to curb your child’s desire for processed foods, get in touch to chat about some steps you could take.
Healthy sugars, for the win!
A diet high in sugar, whether that be from junk food or just from natural healthier items like fruit, smoothies, dried fruit, homemade treats etc will set your child’s brain up to search for more of the sweet stuff and less of the foods that actually give their bodies the nutrients it requires.
The result – a perpetually hungry little person!
If you’ve found your kids are always wanting sweet stuff then gradually swap them for foods consisting of protein, healthy fats and vegetables and eventually they won’t crave so many sweets.
Remember to JERF – Just Eat Real Food
When in doubt this motto will always lead you back to where you need to be.
If you focus on ‘just eating real food’ as much as possible, your kids will definitely thank you for it.
When you feed your kids whole foods you satiate the body’s nutrient needs, and the more they eat this way, the more they will WANT to eat this way – and the less ravenous they will become.
Parenting is tough, but so are you
Feeding kids a healthy well balanced diet can be a huge source of stress.
We all want our kids to thrive but sometimes it can feel easier to give in to the tantrums.
Teaching kids from a young age, the reasons WHY we should eat well and what that does for your body, can be a huge help in creating healthy patterns and associations.
Plus, every time you give into your child’s tantrums for junk food, the more they will expect it and push to get what they want next time. By being strong with your boundaries they’ll eventually learn that their demands for junk food are in vain and will stop hassling you.
It will ensure they (hopefully) make better choices when it comes time for you to step back and them to take over control of themselves and what they put into their body (eeek!).
I like to use their interests as a way to convince them to eat well. For example, my son is obsessed with basketball and I’ve always told him that certain foods will enhance his ability on the court (which is true!).
You can always find a way to use their interests to encourage them to eat well whether that’s sports, reading, music or even video games!
Eating well will help them to have a clearer mind, much more energy, help them grow – and most of all, just plain feel good!