Nutrition is one of those subjects that always seem to lead to debate and controversy. I think that is wonderful. Because, and this has nothing to do with nutrition perse, it is important that we question ourselves and others in order to grow and learn.
It is important to know nutrition is a field of constant discovery. New nutrients are found all the time and their effect in our bodies is an ongoing learning process. Having said that, there is no question that nutrition plays a crucial role in our health. Without proper nutrition health is not possible, at least not in an optimal way.
Nutrition is important to all of us, but it is especially important to children. Why? Because it is intrinsically involved in every aspect of their growth and development. From a strong immune system to brain development our cells need nutrients to function properly.
For this reason education about nutrition is pivotal to our kids overall wellbeing and future health. Here are a few simple aspects of nutrition that you and your kids can share and explore.
The food our kids eats now will have a lasting impact on their health now and as adults. Eating well is a learned habit. So be mindful of the foods your child is exposed to on a regular basis. The choices they are offered are important because, not only will they provide or not provide proper nutrition, they will learn to eat based on those choices.
Nutrients work in synergy. Protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can only work in certain combinations. A whole food contains in itself the nutrients required for the use of those specific nutrients. So in order to get the best out of your foods it’s important to eat a variety of whole foods.
A calorie is not a calorie. What I mean by this is that depending on the source, calories will have a different effect on our bodies. Calories coming from nutrient rich sources help us stay healthy and satiated. For example a banana contains about 100 calories, just like one of those 100 calorie packs of cookies. But unlike that 100 calorie pack a banana is also a natural source of potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin a and vitamin C.
The nutrient content of food is linked to that foods source. So questioning where our food comes from is a healthy thing to do. Whether is was cultivated in nutrient rich soil or raised in a factory farm, knowing were our food comes from not only gives us a better idea of how nurturing it is but will also help us form a connection with it. This is very important.
Preparing our own meals is an important tradition. In our fast food nation it can be rare to prepare meals from scratch. Loosing this tradition would be of great detriment to all. It is important we teach our younger generation to keep it alive. Preparing a meal from fresh ingredients is not only beneficial to our health but to our family values and traditions. Sharing recipes and teaching our kids how to prepare them will help strengthen your bonds as a family and will create a deeper connection to what we eat.
Nutrition is not only about its scientific components but about nourishment. And nourishment is the root of health.