The Unconventional Guide to Kids Food

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Good nutrition is vital for your child’s healthy development…It is often overlooked and very misinformed in conventional avenues.

Babies need more nutrient-dense calories (such as fats and protein) per pound than at any other age.  It really is amazing to watch how many changes they go through in the first year – physically, mentally and emotionally. Good nutrition is of vital importance for their future health. Even if it is necessary to feed formula, using a homemade formula or adding kefir at the same time can help to provide a closer breast milk alternative. This is a great way to ensure that your baby has the right start in life.

And this focus on nutrition is equally important as your child begins to make his or her own choices and has to deal with social and media pressures about food. Key lessons given to our toddlers as to what constitutes food (real food not processed foods loaded with salt, sugar or man-made ingredients in colourful packaging) are fundamental to how they will view nourishing themselves for the rest of their lives. How can we as parents help them to make good lifestyle choices from the beginning?

We can start by eating with our kids, rather than feeding them on their own. Kids learn by mimicking. Turn off the screens and sit down and show them how to eat. Eat what they are eating too- no special meals. How can we encouragen them to eat something if it is not on our plates too. I like to put all the food in the middle of the table. This way they can choose how much they want and we can talk about what each part of the meal is. There is one rule- everything must be tasted. 

As an example- every time we have salmon for dinner (once a week) my almost 5 year old bellows that she doesn’t like salmon (every time). Every time she has to have some on her plate to try. Every time she takes more and eat it! Every time! If it wasnt there in front of her she wouldn’t taste it or eat it because I would have left it of her plate to be done with the hassle and she would continue to believe that she doesn’t like salmon! All the while my 2 year old is watching and absorbing EVERYTHING! HE sees that dinner is an event, it is a feisty mix of talking and arguing and laughing. That food is there to eat and we all sit until everyone is done (not till everyone’s plate is clean!). This brings us to what should be on offer for our kids to choose from?

Our children should be eating the following:

Good sources of fats: Fats are needed for energy, hormone production, cell strength, memory and to help carry nerve messages through the body. Saturated fats only found in animals are essential for brain development. 

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Often overlooked, oils are a vital support for the immune system and are necessary for maximum brain function.  Include coconut oil and olive and avocado oils in the diet.  Cooking with coconut oil adds delicious flavour to your foods and can safely be heated to a higher temperature than other oils. I also love butter/ghee, eggs (just the yolk for the under ones), avocado’s, nuts and seeds (just the seeds- like flax, chia, sesame and hemp for the under ones- soaked and sprouted if possible), olive oil (I like the cold pressed extra virgin best!) and some aged raw cheeses. 

Fats help kids to develop strong bones, teeth, digestive systems, cells, brain cells and skin. They also help to balance moods and help sensitive kids feel a bit more protected. The energy kids get off of a high healthy fat meal is more even and sustainable too (less tantrums!). It also helps to fill them up- because, man, kids can put food away!

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Protein: Essential amino acids support liver detoxification, new cell growth, energy production and metabolism. Protein can be found in all animal sources including eggs, gelatin, nuts, seeds, chia, quinoa, lentils and beans. Gelatin is an excellent source of protein, very restorative (especially for the immune and digestive system), anti-inflammatory and helps to satisfy hunger. Great for snacks. You can use bovine gelatin or a fish/vegetable (agar agar) alternative.

Fermented foods: It may surprise many people but bacteria are essential for all health. We have more bacterial cells than human cells and ensuring a balance of the right bacteria is key. Include fermented foods such as kimchi, miso and pickled vegetables and introduce fermented drinks such as Kefir and Kombucha. Get kids to help you make it, use them in smoothies and dont worry about the sour aspect- it is good to culture your kids palates- not everything has to be sweet to be delicious.

Organ meats: We have lost the tradition of eating all parts of the animal from hoof to tail and are eating lean meat off the bone which is not as healthy. Organ foods like liver, kidneys and sweet meats are nutrient-dense foods that contribute greatly to our health. If this is something you just can’t ‘stomach’ (pun intended!). Bone broths also contain essential nutrition, especially for healing and growing kids and can be used in soups, stews, sauces etc. Otherwise adding gelatin to drinks, soups, stews and jelly is another protein rich food in the diet.

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Fruit and Vegetables: Make mealtimes fun by selecting fruits and vegetables of a wide range of colours, thereby providing a good range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fresh vibrant foods are far more exciting to the palate and to the body than products endorsed by a cartoon character. Allow them to go to markets and supermarkets, to help pick out the foods, smell them and even taste them as they help you prepare the meals.

Fibre is also essential as it helps in balancing blood sugar levels and removing toxins.  Whole grains such as brown or red rice and quinoa are a good choice. Fruit and vegetables are by far the best source of insoluble fibre. Eating foods as close to the natural origin as possible will help their body’s to process and use the foods that they eat. Grains can be used but ONLY if prepared traditionally.

The best gift we can give our children is to help them make dietary choices that strengthen and heal their digestive, hormonal and immune systems.  At the same time, they can learn to balance their blood sugar by eating the right foods in the right combinations.  This can help greatly in avoiding mood swings and the tantrums and upsets that these can lead to.  Also stay away from refined grains (and indeed all grains till the age of 2) and learn how to prepare and cook your grains, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds traditionally. Your child will be happier and more productive and your life will be easier as a result.

Sadly, we see many cases of food intolerances today, showing up as eczema or asthma.  The root cause of these conditions is very often inflammation of the gut.  Being aware of one’s reactions to food is critical in preventing these issues.  By being informed and teaching your children you can make eating not just a necessary part of life, but something you can use to enhance your health and your enjoyment of life.  Look at your own relationship to food- do you think food is exciting, a vital part of whole body health, something to nurture you and keep you on top of your game? If not then maybe that is something YOU need to work on first.

Here are some healthy recipes that have been tried and tested by kids!

Balls of Energy

Beetroot Brownies

Vanilla Butter Fudge

Carrot cake bites with kefir cheese frosting

Bone broth

Slow cooked Lasagna

Baked Falafel

Choco-coco milkshake

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Gluten free Shortbread

Kefir Gummies

Ginger Coconut Cookies

Banana Date Muffins

Ultimate Fat Smoothie

Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola

Homemade Chocolate

Mango Lassi Chia Pudding

Orange Peel Powder

Choco-coco milkshake

Coco-berry milkshake

Apricot Kernel Chocolate Butter

Sweet Potato Falafel

Cauliflower Cheese Nuggets

Sweet Potato Rosti

Cinnamon Salty Sweet Popcorn

 Beef Jerky

 

Here is my pin board; Food for kids;

Follow Loula Natural’s board ++Loula Natural’s Food for Kids++ on Pinterest.

  Another one for Lunch box ideas; Follow Loula Natural’s board Lunch box ideas on Pinterest.

What should we feed kids Loula Natural pin

Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola

Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola Loula Natural fb

Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola

I have been loving my Mulbery and Goldenberry grain free granola. I wanted to branch out with a new flavour! Hence this amazingly delicious alternative! 

Using nuts as my granola has really helped to keep me full up for longer. Combined with coconut milk or coconut yoghurt (I also buy this one) I feel so satisfied and stronger. Fats are truly changing my body shape, energy levels and moods, I wish I had made the change sooner. I have not missed grains (although i would say I am 80-90% grain free nowaday)and have really been enjoying my food. I still eat legumes as I love lentils and beans. Alternating between grain-free granola, eggs for breakfast (see Greens, Eggs and Ham for my favourite recipe) and Blender Pancakes on the weekend we really do wake up hungry!

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Using superfoods like orange powder and cacao paste can really help reduce the inflammation I have, healing the damage and boosting my metabolism. Chocolate and orange and nuts is also a match made in heaven. Since I am not cooking this granola I thought I would also mix it up by including a tablespoon of Walnut oil with the coconut oil/ghee. You could also use avocado oil if you like. The Sea Buckthorn oil also boosts the oil profile of this dish and ups the nutrient value even more.

Have a read about why I have decided to step away from grains for the time being- (Inflammation, How to Naturally Boost the Immune system and How fats can change your body shape)

Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola
The combination of chocolate and orange is a winner- add the nuts and you have a delicious healthy fat packed start to the day. Great for breakfast or as a snack.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw almonds
  2. 1 cup raw cashews
  3. 1/2 cup pecans
  4. 1/2 cup macadamia
  5. 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  6. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  7. 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  8. 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  9. 50g cacao paste
  10. 2 tbs orange peel powder
  11. 1 tbsp walnut oil
  12. 1 tbsp coconut oil or outside of Hong Kong see here
  13. 1 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Soak and dry your nuts
  2. Add all the dry ingredients into a food processor.
  3. Blitz until crumble like
  4. Add oils and maple syrup and mix well till covered
  5. Dehydrate on silicon sheets or bake in a cool oven.
  6. Store in a air tight container in the fridge
  7. Serve with almond milk or coconut yoghurt
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola Loula Natural Collage OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Here are some other Grain Free Granola Recipes;

For more breakfast ideas check out my dedicated pin board;
Follow Loula Natural’s board Breakfast on Pinterest.

Chocolate Orange Grain Free Granola Loula Natural pin

Raw Nacho Not Cheese Kale Chips

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Raw Nacho (not) Cheese Kale Chips

I am a huge fan of kale. It is also a local product for us. Green Vitamin have enlisted local farms to grow curly kale here in Hong Kong using organic heritage seeds- and it is flourishing. The chinese eat kale all the time and the Chinese Kale is also delicious in green smoothies and I love stir frying it with Garlic. It is a little bitter though and is more stalk than leaf and so is not so good at making Kale Chips- so I am glad to have the choice of supporting local organic produce.

This recipe is a product of many raw Nacho (not) Cheese dip recipes (especially from this book and from here). Using cashews and nutritional yeast as the starting point and adding red pepper, paprika, cumin and garlic to create that tangy cheesey spicey kick. It works so well with the kale. I always love to add my spin to things to deepen the nutritional value and taste. I have added walnut oil and tahini to mine. The Chinese use sesame for so many ailments and to boost good health and I am a massive fan of the black and white varieties. Tahini (or indeed just the seeds) in this recipe add a flavour dimension and a healthy fat punch to this recipe.

Raw Nacho (not) Cheese Kale Chips
A crunchy, cheesy snack packed full of goodness and nutrients. Hugely moreish and delicious.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch of Kale
  2. Nacho not Cheese
  3. 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours)
  4. 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  5. 1 red pepper (de-seeded)
  6. 2 cloves of garlic
  7. 1/2 tsp cumin
  8. 1/2 tsp paprika (to taste)
  9. 1-2 tbs tahini paste or sesame seeds
  10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  11. 1-2 tbs Walnut oil/Avocado oil
  12. 1 tbs water
  13. Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Tear the kale off the stalk into 'chip' size and add to a mixing bowl.
  2. Put all of the Nacho not Cheese mix ingredients in your high speed blender and mix until smooth
  3. Add 1-2 tbs of the mixture to the bowl of kale and massage into the leaves so they are thickly coated. Add more if necessary.
  4. Add the chips one by one to your silicon dehydrator sheet (or on a greased baking sheet) and dehydrate at living foods temperature (100F) for 12-18 hours or until crisp. You can also use an oven on its coolest setting.
  5. Store in a air tight container either in the fridge or a cool dry place.
  6. Enjoy crumbled on eggs or in salads or as a snack on its own
Notes
  1. The batch of Nacho cheese will make several batches of chips or can be used as a dip, salad dressing or is also great on veggie pasta or burgers.
  2. Save some of the silica packets from nuts/seaweed containers to help keep your dry goods fresh.
Adapted from adapted from Nacho Cheese Kale Chips in Practically Raw
Adapted from adapted from Nacho Cheese Kale Chips in Practically Raw
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
 Storage of Kale Chips Loula Natural.com

More Kale Chips Recipe;

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Save Our Natural Sleep

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Giving definition to the word Insomnia together with the statistic that 1/2 the population suffer at some point and to some degree is food for thought. I have on occasion found it difficult to get to sleep, stay asleep or wake refreshed. This book does an amazing job of not only outlining what good sleep is, why sleeping pills make the situation worse but, of course, sets you on a journey towards great sleep. Something I am very excited about sharing.

I enjoy reading Emily’s style of writing- she is clear, to the point and very well researched. Her explanations about the different stages of sleep are very easy to understand and allow you to identify potential issues that can easily be turned around, especially thinking about the way light affects our sleep which makes me feel better that we do not have blackout blinds or night lights in our nor the kids rooms. I am also inspired to invest in a grounding sheet for us and the Kids. Especially when at the computer as they have one you can put your feet on (more information here and read about Grounding here), make one myself or at least feeling the ground beneath my bare feet as much as possible.

The nutritional advice is sound and makes excellent sense. Balancing blood sugars and therefore hormones is at the centre of great sleep. However I learnt a lot about the relationship with fats and CO2 with sleep and I found that information fascinating. There is also so much information about supplements, foods to choose and avoid and the book give s good goals for example against screen time at night (she says typing away very late and tired!)

Even if you do not consider yourself an insomniac there is something  in that will enhance your sleep- and if you are- why haven’t you bought it already! There is excellent information, great advice and very good recipes for successful, deep and rejuvenating sleep- I do not know anyone that cannot benefit from this book and recommend it wholeheartedly.

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 If you use essential oils, here is a great natural sleep roll-on from Living Consciously.

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread Loula Natural

Pumpkin Bread

Works best when making mini loafs as they stay moist and not too dense.

4 tbs coconut sugar,

2 tbs coconut nectar

2tbs Olive oil,

2tbs coconut oil

1tbs Kefir (any-optional but makes it lighter)

400g Pureed pumpkin

¼ lemon squeezed

Thumbnail size of grated ginger.

1 cup Almond Flour,

½ cup Quinoa Flour

¼ coconut flour

1 cup All purpose gluten free flour/buckwheat flour.

1tbs poppy seeds

1 ½ tsp cinnamon,

½ tsp grated nutmeg,

1 tsp Xanthum gum (or Chia gel- 1 tsp chia to 3tsp water let it sit for 10-20 mins till gel consistency)

1 ½ tsp baking soda,

½ tsp Salt

Mix all wet ingredients (everything on list till grated ginger) in the Kenwood or with a hand mixer.  Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl. Slowly fold in dry ingredient to wet ingredients. Meanwhile grease some mini loaf tins. When fully mixed, put into loaf tins. Pre-heat oven to 200C and cook for 15-20 mins. Turn out onto cooling rack when finished.

Pumpkin Bread Loula Natural Pin

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