Healthy fats are critical for many functions within our body, especially our kids and our teenager’s health. Fats are required for us to properly function, but since our bodies do not produce essential fatty acids, we must get them from good food sources.
Healthy fats increase cognitive/brain development, which occurs at a massive rate between conception and age 3; additionally healthy fats support kids during all of their childhood and teenage years especially around focus and learning. Healthy fats are also essential for so many additional functions within our and our children’s body such as energy, metabolism health, absorbing vitamins A, K, E and D, mineral absorption, stabilizing blood sugar levels, regulating mood/cognitive health, reducing carb/sugar cravings and supporting hormonal health along with many other key bodily functions.
So what are some foods that include healthy fats?
- Nuts (preferably raw)
- Pumpkin Seeds (preferably raw)
- Pasture-raised poultry and eggs
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Nut butters
- Seed butters
- Sea vegetables like spirulina, chlorella, kelp
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
- Grass fed beef
- Wild caught fish
Children between birth and 3 years old require 50% of their daily diet to be fats; children and teens tend to require approximately 30%. The key is consuming enough of the right types of fats.
Children may be consuming the recommended amount, however, the majority are consuming too many of the unhealthy and incorrect fats such as trans fats while overloading on too many omega 6’s, causing inflammation, digestive challenges, unhealthy weight, lethargy, hormonal disruptions and much more. We need omega 6’s but just in a much smaller quantity.
By taking just a few simple steps/swaps to incorporate healthy fats, our children’s attention and learning in school along with more stabilized mood/feelings, heart health, energy and stamina, can be dramatically improved
The first step is encouraging our children to consume healthy protein and healthy fats for breakfast. This is the meal that really sets the tone for the entire day…the best way to encourage is to lead by example! My son LOVES pancakes and waffles for breakfast, so I have compromised and provided him healthy breakfast options that include protein and fats such as: smoothie, greek yogurt, chia seed “pudding”, toast with almond butter, or eggs to eat first and then he is able to have his conventional waffle or pancake . Additionally, I have found a delicious waffle recipe that is grain free and full of healthy fats (I just make up a few batches and freeze, then pop one in the toaster when he requests it for breakfast). For additional Brain Boosting Breakfast ideas, please visit one of my other recent blog posts.
To keep us and our kids performing and functioning well throughout the day, checkout some easy, ‘grab and go’ after school snacks or school lunch options to pack:
- Smoothies: add some nuts, nut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil or flaxseed oil into a smoothie for protein and fat.
- Hard Boiled Eggs (preferably Pasture raised)
- Make up some easy and delicious treats such as Coconut Fudge or Chocolate Mousse!
- Small baggies of homemade trailmix (raw nuts and seeds with dried fruit like cranberries or raisins)
- Hummus and Veggies
- Guacamole Dip
- Turkey Sticks (Nitrate Free & Pasture Raised)
- Apple with Almond Butter
- “Ants on a Log” – Celery with Almond Butter and raisins
- Banana Almond Butter Rollups (Spread almond butter on a tortilla, sprinkle hemp hearts ontop and then roll up a banana inside. Cut up into small slices)
- Add ground up chia seeds to black bean burgers, meatballs, protein pancake mix, homemade protein bites, etc.
- Chia Seed Drink
- Chia Seed Pudding
- Organic Greek Yogurt (add chia or hemp seeds for added fats and nutrients)
- Cranberry Almond Butter Bites
- Chocolate Protein Bites
About the Author
Melanie is a Certified Health Coach (through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and AADP), owner of Food 4 Thought, the Wellness Coordinator for Willowsong Midwifery & Well Woman Care and most importantly a mom of 3 small children. She is very passionate about empowering moms and children in attaining their overall health and wellness! Melanie approaches health from a holistic perspective, meaning that she believes each component of our lives creates our overall health and wellness. Check out Melanie’s YouTube Channel for more hands on information and health tips. Please connect with Melanie and her website www.Food4Thoughtdm.com for upcoming classes, individualized coaching, prenatal health coaching, online detoxes, Juice Plus+ Whole Food Nutrition and much more!
Please don’t just take Melanie’s experience and recommendations…as always consult with your medical professional and your own self understanding when making health decision; Melanie is not a medical professional, a nutritionist or dietician. She does not hold a degree in medicine, dietetics, or nutrition. Melanie makes no claim to any specialized medical training, nor does she dispense medical advice or prescriptions. This content is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, preconception or pregnancy health. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes ONLY. Please consult with your doctor or wellness team if you have questions and then make your own well-informed decisions based upon what is best for your unique genetics, culture, conditions, and stage of life