Macronutrients for Kids

MacronutrientsNutrients are foods that we need for energy, growth and bodily functions. ‘Macro’ means large, so ‘macronutrients’ are needed in large amounts in our body. ‘Micro‘ means small. Micronutrients are required in small amounts in our body and they include vitamins and minerals.

Macronutrients include:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrate

There are ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ types of each of these groups.

Many children are missing out on the protein and fat groups, particularly at breakfast time. Throughout the day they are also consuming more of the ‘unhealthy’ types than ‘healthy’ types, particularly when it comes to fat.

Protein…

…is essential for growing children. It is used for muscles, tendons, organs, skin, hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). With the running around, focusing and thinking, communicating and learning children do at school, adequate protein is hugely important to optimise their school performance. Increasing protein at breakfast time and in their lunchboxes is critical. The usual breakfast of cereal or toast, followed up by some fruit, then a vegemite sandwich at lunch won’t contain near sufficient protein for your child’s learning capabilities. Adding an egg to breakfast, some seeds (nuts when outside of school) or a container of dip such as hummus will make sure they start the day right. Eggs are a perfect snack and can be eaten whole, or made into patties, muffins or quiches that are bite size and perfect for lunch boxes.

Fat…

…is an essential macronutrient for brain and nervous system development. The types of fats that are in snack are foods are trans-fats or hydrogenated fats. These are the ‘unhealthy’ fats and can be found in biscuits (sweet and savoury!), snack foods, store bought cakes and muffins, chips, margarine, salad dressings,  and in high amounts in take away foods. Trans fats increase our risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, which many mistakenly believe doesn’t matter in kids as “they’re still young”. But with the rates of obesity rising, heart disease in children is also increasing. “Healthy” fats are generally unprocessed. Olive oil, coconut oil, oil from fish and plants such as avocado are all good for you.

Carbohydrates…

…are also best consumed in their most unprocessed form. The best type of carbs? Vegetables! 🙂 The worst type? Sugar 🙁  Processed cereals such as Nutri-grain, Coco-pops and Froot-loops, which are popular with the kids are extremely processed, contain large amount of sugar and minimal protein and fat. While Weet-bix is lower in the sugar count, it is unfortunately also unbalanced in macronutrient status. Mueslis containing nuts and seeds, eggs and wholemeal toast with toppings higher in fat and protein are much better alternatives at breakfast time.

Give it a try!

It does take some experimenting and trial and error due to the fussy nature of some children. But the long term health benefits and good habits beginning early most definitely do pay off. Not just in health but behaviour, academic performance and emotional stability.

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Gelatin Treats

Grass Fed Gelatin Snacks

Most kids love jelly. But most jelly is the aeroplane sort. Full of sugar, colours and ‘numbers’.

Grass Fed gelatin offers an easy and healthy alternative. There are so many different variations of gelatin treats. The options are literally endless. I’ve seen all sorts of juices, coconut milk, almond milk, coffee, ginger, fruit, whatever you can imagine. Use moulds, cut them in squares, store in jars and eat with a spoon, however you please.

It’s definitely not just for the kids! It makes a great high-protein, healthy snack for all ages.

Begin with:

  • 1 tbsp gelatin powder
  • 1 cup liquid

At the Santosha 1st Birthday, Amy supplied us with two flavours made with:

  • Charlie’s Spirulina Whole Fruit Smoothie
  • Nudie Apple Juice

You can use more or less liquid depending on the consistency you’re after.

Why consume gelatin?

Gelatin is almost all protein, which means it makes a great, energy boosting snack. It is the richest food source of the amino acid glycine, which is particularly important for your health.

Gelatin is derived from collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found in skin, bones, tendons and muscles. Therefore collagen can help to improve skin (bye bye wrinkles!), strengthen bones and increase lean muscle mass. Collagen is found in the parts of animals we don’t often consume, like the cartilage and bones. Bone broth is a great way to extract the goodness out of these parts (see post on bone broth), but thankfully we can also easily access these nutrients in gelatin or collagen powders.

Santosha is now stocking Vital Collagen products including Beef Gelatin (don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like beef) and Collagen Peptides.

Grass Fed Girl’s Easy Paleo Gelatin Treats contains many more recipes: Click here to view more details

 

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All you Need to Know about Beans

Are you looking to reduce your meat consumption but would still like to keep your protein up? Or perhaps you just want to increase your protein to help reduce carbohydrates?

Whatever the reason, here is the information which is…

All you Need to Know about

Beans

Beans are loaded with a good source of protein. Although they don’t have as many amino acids as animal based foods, they do have more than other plant-based options. Beans have lots of iron, B group vitamins and fibre.

Protein is important as it is the building block of cells and tissues and important for many vital bodily functions. We should consume a range of protein sources to ensure we receive all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones we can’t manufacture ourselves.

 

Preparing Beans

The best way to cook beans with minimal impact on your digestive system (I mean less farts) is to soak them overnight.

Drain and rinse the beans then place them in a pot with about twice the water.

Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until soft.

You can add all sorts of herbs and spices depending on personal taste. I recommend adding a couple of bay leaves to the boiling pot.

A small amount of salt is also good.

Combine with any recipe that calls for beans.

Add to salads, soups, stews, as a side dish, with your morning eggs, the options are endless!

 

Cooking times for 1 cup of beans:

  • Cannellini 90-120 minutes
  • Chick peas 120-180
  • Kidney 60-90
  • Lentils 30-45
  • Navy 60-90
  • Split peas 45-60

 

Other tips for cooking beans:

Chew thoroughly, this also helps with digestion

Fennel and cumin can help reduce wind

Experiment with different beans and different flavours

Apple cider vinegar can also help to soften the beans and help with digestion. Add a couple of teaspoons during the cooking process.

 

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