Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

Change What Your Kids Eat — And Change Their Future


  • What Is the Biggest Influence on Your Kids’ Food Habits?

  • What Do the Official Guidelines Recommend?

  • Why Are Supplements a Good Idea?

  • Where Can You Begin?


Look inside and get started today….

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image


Anything made by McDonald’s tastes better, say 3-5 year olds. Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better wrapped in the familiar packaging.

The study, completed at Stanford University, powerfully demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children.

Of the 63 preschoolers participating in the study, only two said they’d never eaten at McDonald’s.

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

Back To School

Every year, at the end of summer, millions of American children to go back to school. These children need a healthy diet to provide nutrients for growth, for clear thought processing and emotional stability, for the energy to support vigorous physical activities, for a strong immune system, and for lots of laughter and joy each day.

Theoretically, children are taught to eat a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes with a limited quantity of lean meats, dairy, fats, and sweets.

Unfortunately, this theory rarely materializes. Typically, children are raised on toaster-ready pastries and sugared cereals, pre-packaged lunches, sugary snacks, and greasy fast food dinners.

They have little, if any, taste for green vegetables or whole grains. Fruit is seldom the first choice for a snack if candy, chips or soft drinks are available. Sadly, these poor habits are only part of the problem.

Early dietary habits contribute to the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative diseases later in life. Unfortunately, that “later” is here now. Alarming numbers of American children are incapacitated by poor health. Millions are afflicted with diseases considered uncommon and even rare ten years ago. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and ADHD are at or approaching epidemic proportions and the incidence of autism is no longer rare.

These diseases are prevalent among young people at the highest levels in history —  and there are no indications of reversals in these trends.1

It is clear that our children need healing. Much of this can be achieved through sound nutrition, supplementation, and regular exercise.

Given the opportunity, the body always goes toward wellness. In most cases, it can heal itself in a much shorter time than that needed to break it down. This is particularly true of children’s growing bodies.

Back To School


1 These conditions are not just a matter of inadequate nutrition and lack of exercise. A complex conversation exists involving time, money, education, psychological factors, and more. For a more in depth discussion of the new diseases of childhood, see Nutrition News, “Children’s Health Crisis“.


Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

The Answer is A-Parent

The essential component needed for having healthy children is parental involvement. Lasting change only comes when the parents model the behaviors they espouse for their children. Children even eat more fruits and vegetables when the family eats together.

For parents, the key is to live in integrity with your children: Eat a healthy diet with lots of whole foods; Keep junk food out of the house; Take your supplements with your child; and, Get involved in fitness together.

The most important place to start is with your food purchases. Children need to be eating nutritious, colorful, and wholesome foods at each meal every day.

In terms of what constitutes a whole foods diet, we reiterate the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (such as whole wheat, brown rice, barley and oats) and beans (e.g., lentils, pintos, garbanzos, etc.) Put these foods at the center of your family’s diet.

Healthy fats can be found in such sources as nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, and fish. Serve lean meat, fish, and dairy in small amounts (not at the center of every meal). Eat sweets and fatty foods only rarely.

Avoid food that is processed, pre-packaged, and artificially sweetened or flavored. (This includes diet soft drinks and other “sugar-free” foods.) We recommend eating fresh and organic foods (grown without the use of potentially harmful antibiotics, hormones and pesticides) whenever possible.

Finally, give your children good eating habits: 1) Eat only when hungry (instead of when bored); 2) Eat until satisfied (instead of full); and 3) Eat with intention (at a table, enjoying each bite instead of in front of the computer or television).

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image
Climbing the Food Pyramid Icon

*If your author were Empress of the Universe, we would feed fewer servings of grains and more of fruits and veggies. Other Empresses would say, “Less grain, more protein.”


From L to R, Grains, Veggies, Fruits, Sweets & Oils, Dairy, Proteins.

Ages & Stages

Let’s take a more specific look at what children need at each stage of their development. The following charts are from the new and improved USDA Food Pyramid. This new pyramid uses six vertical bands to represent each food group. The width of the band indicates the proportion of that food group to be eaten. (See the pyramid on the bottom of the next page.)

The pyramid also emphasizes the importance of physical activity (i.e., the person climbing the steps). Another bonus is the ability to customize your pyramid to age, gender, and activity level. This combination determines calorie level and the number of ‘servings’ from each food group.

The website is an excellent resource for your family. The kid’s section is a fun and interactive place, complete with games, graphics, and special effects. Keep in mind that the guidelines are based on averages.

The World Health Organization (WHO) policy advocates breast feeding for the first year. They then state, ‘‘The second choice is the mother’s own milk expressed and given to the infant…. The third choice is the milk of another human mother.” WHO places “artificial” mother’s milk as the last choice.

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

Feeding Your Toddler

Between 12-24 months is a time of transition,when little ones learn to eat table food and accept new tastes and textures. Toddlers grow 3-5 inches in a year, and they are famously active.

They need about 1,000-1,400 calories a day. Refer to the chart to get an idea of how much this is and what kinds of foods satisfy the requirements.

Trust your own observations. Toddlers demonstrate whether they are satisfied and getting adequate nutrition. The goal is to provide them with a wide variety of nutrients.

Although the quantities in the chart are based on the pyramid for 2- and 3-year-olds, these serve as a guide for younger children. Remember, these years from birth until the school years are a crucial time for teaching your child good food habits for a lifetime.

The higher amounts in the chart apply to kids who are older, bigger, or more active and need more calories.

Although the quantities in the chart are based on the pyramid for 2- and 3-year-olds, these serve as a guide for younger children. Remember, these years from birth until the school years are a crucial time for teaching your child good food habits for a lifetime.

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

As They Grow….

The chart at right is a basic look at children’s needs once they enter school. Notice that the dairy recommendations increase at age 8 for added calcium. (See “Moo-ving Along”.)

Boys need to increase their complex-carbohydrate and protein intake during their teen years.

Young women need to make sure that they are consuming enough calcium, especially once their periods begin. (These are their last years for building bone.)

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

Moo-ving Along

Getting the nutrients needed for strong bones is absolutely essential. Nearly 90 percent of girls and 65 percent of boys are not getting adequate calcium.

Dairy products do provide this important mineral. Lowfat yogurt is a wonderful alternative to that old glass of milk as is cottage cheese (which is also rich in protein).

If you buy diary products, buy organic. This is the only way to keep harmful hormones or secondhand pesticides (from feed) out of your children’s bodies.

However, those bodies need more than calcium to build bone. They also need magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. (Another reason for a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement.) Many fruits and vegetables are better sources of bone builders than milk. (See Nutrition News “Building Bone”.)


Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

Exercise Counts

And children need to count at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Among other authoritative sources, the CDC recommends that children and teens participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, preferably daily.

Because of reduced funding to school fitness programs, the one great dependable source of childhood activity has almost disappeared.

Parental involvement is now monumentally important, especially with less motivated children. Again, children imitate adults. Add physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your child to join you.

Easily accessible activities include brisk walking or jogging, jumping rope, playing soccer (or other ball games), swimming, bicycling, and family outings. Kids need regular activity!

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

Supplement Your Child’s Health

We recommend that all children (and all adults) take a multivitamin-mineral formula daily. A number of wonderful children’s products are available at your local natural products store.

Ask there for a recommendation. (That way you are assured that your choice is not artificially colored or full of sugar.) Include vitamin C, 250 mg, 3x/d, and vitamin E as mixed tocopherols with tocotrienols, 200 IU.

Digestive enzymes can also be an important supplement. If your family diet has frequently included fried and processed foods, the digestive system may need support. Use a broad-spectrum plant-based digestive enzyme.

If your child has ever been given antibiotics, include probiotics. Antibiotics kill off beneficial intestinal flora along with the pathogens, reducing immunity. Probiotic powder can be mixed with liquid and is most easily served. Use as directed on label.

Since most Americans are deficient in essential fatty acids, it follows that children need them too. There are some great purified cod liver oils and omega-3 basics available. In 1/2-1 teaspoon servings, it is simple to mix them into smoothies, sprinkle on steamed veggies with lemon juice, or mix into regular salad dressing just before serving. I recommend the actual fish oils rather than flax oil. The transition of flax oil into its essential fatty acid components is iffy for many people.

The majority of children do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Fruits are the easy part. Several companies make high antioxidant fruit concentrates that can be added to children’s drinks. Greens can be tougher. Commercially produced green drinks sweetened with apple juice are designed to seduce younger tasters into drinking their greens.

More economical is adding dried greens. Begin with 1/4 tsp in smoothies, yogurt, or shaken into juice.

Take several weeks to build to 1 tsp. Toddlers will take to this well. As children get older, they become more discerning, and many will object to their usual foods turning green.

Because of allergies, algaes may be the best choice. Spirulina, in particular, has been shown to help calm ADHD.

Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

6 Steps to K.I.S.S.

Integrating any new element into to your lifestyle can seem overwhelming at first.

Keep It Step-by-Step. Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears, RN, child health specialists, have written The Family Nutrition Book, a comprehensive guide to feeding your children from birth through adolescence. “Dr. Bill and Martha” provide a job description for parents committed to their children’s future health.

  1. Start now to adopt a healthier eating style. Don’t wait for a serious medical problem.
  2. Be passionate about nutrition. Stay abreast of the latest research and information.
  3. Learn what to eat and why to eat it.
  4. Change your mind-set about food. Think of food as medicine — the best preventive “pill” there is.
  5. Shape young tastes: Take advantage of the first three years to instill lifelong eating patterns.
  6. Model good nutrition for your family.
Children_Staying_Healthy_Cover image

A Failure Of Funding

A Failure of Funding: This year alone, the federal government will spend more than $1 billion on nutrition education programs for children.

The Associated Press recently released a review revealing that of 57 programs, only four showed any real success in changing the way kids eat. The article sites three major obstacles to success:

  1. Parents: Experts agree that parents have the greatest influence over children, even a biological influence. Dr. Robert Trevino of the Social and Health Research Center in San Antonio, TX says, “If the mother is eating Cheetos and white bread, the baby will be born with those taste buds. If the mother is eating carrots and oatmeal the child willbe born with those taste buds.”
  1. Poverty: Poorer kids are particularly at risk. In general, unhealthful food is usually cheaper and easier to come-by.
  2. Advertising: Each child from ages 8 to 12 sees more than 7,600 television ads per year for candy, snacks, cereal and fast food, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study.

In the same article, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Philip Zeitler defends the feds, commenting that the forces making kids fat are “hard to fight with just a program in school.”

This research reaffirms how important it is that kids get the message about a healthy lifestyle from their parents. This could be the single most important gift you give your child.