With the multiple issues humans have created relating to the health of our planet, our soil, our minds and our bodies, the evidence continues to point to the most important concern; how we feed our children. If they cannot survive into their adulthood disease free what hope does the planet have to survive? Presently, American children consume less than 2 percent of their daily meals from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes. Instead 90 percent of their calories are consumed in the form of refined white flour and sugar, chemically contaminated dairy products and hydrogenated oils.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Disease Proof Your Child, “The modern diet that most children are eating today creates a fertile cellular environment for cancer to emerge at a later age. When our children donít eat fruits and vegetables and instead are fed junk food, the groundwork may be laid for cancer and other diseases down the road.” That’s a pretty strong statement to make, but in light of the fact that by the time a child is 15 months old the most common vegetable they eat are French fries; and about 25% of toddlers between ages one and two eat no fruits and vegetables at all, Dr. Fuhrman has a strong case.
“Scientific research has uncovered factors that help to create an environment in our bodies, which is favorable for cancers to surface later in life; and we now understand the precise dietary factors that can prevent cancer in our childís future.” With this important information Dr. Furman believes it is important to feed a child nutrient dense plant foods in the first ten years of life in order to prevent developing cancer and auto immune disease as an adult.
The Holistic Moms Network is a non profit organization working to connect parents who are interested in holistic health and green living. Mothers are encouraged to trust their instincts, parent from the heart, use their innate sense of what is best for their children, live in balance with the Earth, and learn about the pros and cons of all healthcare and parenting options. Recently I interviewed two members of the Network about the kinds of healthy meals they provide for their school age children.
Kendrya has two boys and a girl, ages 6-10, and is a member of an organic Community Supported Garden (CSA) with this to say, “The “lap top” lunch boxes are great for taking to school, they are like the Japanese bento boxes that allow individual sections for small amounts of different types of food.† I do a lot of cut up veggies with hummus for dipping, wraps with veggies and hummus, peanut butter and jelly is a staple.† I also make sure we have a thermos for each child so they can take something warm to school, which is usually a leftover from dinner such as, pasta, fried rice, noodles or vegetable bean soup.† Anything for dipping is good, such as apples to dip in peanut butter is a favorite.† I also do homemade brown rice cereal bars for dessert, using brown rice syrup instead of sugar.”
Liz Fenton, a Holistic Health Practitioner and mother of a 5 and 8 year old,† feeds her kids a protein with every meal on school days. When she picks them up from school she has food in hand because they are so hungry by the afternoon. Sometimes it’s soups like chicken and rice or lentils with beans; sometimes it’s a gluten-free pancake that she’s added an extra egg to the recipe’s requirement. She will also grind pumpkin or sesame seeds into a fine powder for iron and extra protein and add this to the pancake batter. She spreads a little fruit juice sweetened jam over each pancake and her kids love them.
For snacks she includes serving size portions of pistachios or peanuts in the shell. This prevents them from eating too many too fast because they have to remove the shells. And there’s always Hummus, served with sliced cucumber or peppers. Liz finds that small meals throughout the day are better than three big ones at their young age. Most important is water! Liz makes sure her children drink water in the morning and when she picks them up in the afternoon; and she also makes sure to supplement with vitamin D as sunlight declines in the wintertime.
Children don’t need to eat large portions of food, but they do need to eat nutrient dense meals that include a protein, a carbohydrate (as in whole grain and vegetables), and small amounts of quality fat (oils such as extra virgin olive oil and flax seed oil), to ensure the growth of healthy bones and tissue. Feed them the right plant based foods now and you can watch them grow into healthy, vibrant adults.