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What I Feed My Child to Keep Her Healthy

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With cold and flu season upon us I get asked a lot about how to keep little ones healthy.

Although there are many supplements that boost immune systems and herbal remedies that I recommend once kiddos are sick (you can read How to Keep Kids Healthy During Cold and Flu Season, here), the best line of defense is a healthy whole foods based diet.

What I Feed My Child to Keep Her Healthy | via FilteredFamily.com

I know it’s not easy to get kids to eat healthy, especially if they are used to eating poorly, but there is no supplement on Earth that will take the place of a good nutrient dense diet.

So today I’m going to share the things I do to keep my little one healthy and vibrant.

One more thing. The list below is a great place to start, especially if you eat a standard American diet. That said, it’s important to remember each body is different. For example one person may thrive on dairy, and another not so much. Some folks need more meat, others very little. Some people are sensitive to nightshades like tomatoes and peppers.

One thing my nutrition research has taught me is that there is no one size fits all plan, you more about that in this post The Diet Trap: Why There is no Best Diet for Everyone.

Yes, you should always eat as much nutrient dense whole food as you can, but the ratios and sensitivities vary.

Listen to your body. Watch your child’s reactions, energy levels, and digestive progress with each set of food. By doing this you will discover on what foods they thrive and what foods you should reduce or even eliminate.

I cover a clean eating diet in greater detail in my Beginners Guide to Clean Eating but for all you busy moms out there here is a quick and dirty list of what I feed my child to keep her healthy.

What I Feed My Child to Keep Her Healthy

• Organic vegetables (she especially loves them roasted)

• Leafy greens (think salads)

• Fresh organic fruit (we do big platters of fruit regularly)

• Healthy fats like avocado, chia seed, pastured butter, and coconut oil

• Small amounts of probiotic rich foods like raw coconut milk kefir, raw pickles, and raw fermented sauerkraut.

(Note some people are histamine sensitive and will react poorly to fermented foods, Suzy Cohen wrote a great article about this here. If a food doesn’t feel right to your body/child’s body don’t eat it or let your child have it)

• Presoaked nuts and seeds, think pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, and walnuts as well as chia seeds (many folks are sensitive to nuts so watch for subtle reactions.

• Small amount of organic (preferably sprouted) gluten free grains. I do a superfood basmati rice with a head of garlic, pastured butter, a bit of avocado oil, a dash of cumin, some pink salt, a bay leaf, and a handful of fresh (detoxifying) cilantro. Yum!

• Organic, grass-fed, pastured, and non-CAFO meat. Think grass fed beef and pastured chickens.

• Modest amounts of organic pastured dairy (IF your child doesn’t seem to have a sensitivity or autoimmune issues). My 4 year old doesn’t drink milk but loves pastured gouda cheese. I like the boost of K2 she gets from this yummy cheese (my family prefers raw milk dairy but that’s a personal choice).

• Small amounts of pre-soaked & properly cooked legumes like black beans, garbanzo beans, and split pea soup (While I don’t totally shun legumes I also don’t eat a ton of them. I do understand why paleo folks shun legumes, I’ve looked at the data, and in certain circumstances it makes sense. If you feel subtle symptoms after eating them or have an autoimmune disorder I would suggest trying an elimination diet to see if they are the culprit).

• Limited organic sugar, preferably from unrefined sources like maple syrup, dates, and raw honey (if they are over 1 year of age).

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  • Treats for my little one are usually homemade paleo cupcakes or maple syrup laced, plain, full fat, organic, grassfed yogurt. Remember it’s all about balance.

Limited gluten. No gluten. There is a plethora of research on this and the bottom line is that conventional wheat is good for no one. However some ancient types of wheat (like Einkorn) can be well tolerated by some. I suggest you read Grain Brain and Wheat Belly to learn more about the effects of gluten on the body.

My daughter and I live a gluten reduced diet because for the moment that’s what makes sense for our lives. I call it eating gluten aware. We do eat some gluten occasionally but it’s usually organic and in the form of Einkorn wheat. An ancient non-hybridized wheat which is lower in gluten and higher in nutrients. You can find their flour here, their pasta here, and their cookies here (my daughter LOVES the checkerboard cookies).

Update: Since writing this post I’ve discovered (at her pediatrician’s recommendation) that my little one is indeed gluten sensitive. She no longer consumes gluten and we are now a gluten free family (I’m gluten sensitive too!).

• Notice this what’s NOT on this list. No fast food, no soda, no highly processed packaged food, no artificial colors, no commercial preservatives, no artificial flavorings, no high sodium foods, no high sugar foods, no pesticide laden foods (if we can avoid them), and no microwaved foods.

We don’t eat these foods and in my opinion they are not part of a healthy diet, not even in moderation.

So basically…

I get that this isn’t an easy transition for a family that’s used to a standard American diet, but there is no better motivation than the love we have for our kids.

If you are new to clean eating, I suggest you tackle one step at a time and build on your progress.

With kids you may have to go cold turkey on some things but remember that one day they will thank you for putting their health first.

You can read more about how I got my daughter to eat healthy wholesome food from the very start here 10 Things I Did to Raise a Healthy Eater and here 9 More Things I Did to Raise a Healthy Eater.

How about you? Did I leave anything out? What foods do your kids love? How did you get them to eat healthy food? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Ever wonder what a healthy kid's diet looks like? I've outlined all the yummy goodness to grow healthy strong vibrant kiddos! It's totally possible to raise a healthy eater. These tips will help you get there! -- What I Feed My Child to Keep Her Healthy | via FilteredFamily.com

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the health topics presented on Filtered Family have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not replace personal judgment nor medical treatment, nor are they intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always talk to your medical professional. Reading this website denotes your understanding and agreement to our full disclaimer.

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4 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing this…we’re expecting our 1st child in a couple of months and I’ve been trying to do research for when she starts eating table foods. I love everything you’ve posted! And if we can get her started on this path from the start, we’ll not have to deal with any “withdrawal” issues. Thanks again!

    • Congrats on your first little one! how exciting! I’m so happy you found the post helpful. Best wishes on your journey!

  • Great artical, thank you so much for sharing with us. Could I ask how you and your daughter were found gluten-sensitive? I only ask as I’m pretty sure both my two (and myself) are; however the blood test for celiac came back negative and so there’s no further support provided (we live in the UK). We’ve done a two week elimination diet for gluten that prove that they’re both very different children under the influence of gluten/wheat, and weirdly they both present different symptoms to it, but without a “professional diagnosis” I’m finding it hard to manage at school with class snacks etc. Any advice would be great! X

    • Hi there, first thank you for the kind words. I love hearing from readers and helping where I can.

      To answer your question our holistic pediatrician suggested an elimination diet and when we added tiny bits of organic wheat (gluten) she broke out in an eczema like rash in the creases of her arms. We chose to reintroduce organic wheat to make sure it wasn’t the glyphosate she was reacting to.

      As for me I’ve had joint pain in my knees since childhood. I’ve been to over a dozen doctors and specialist and not one was able to determine the source of my sporadic but debilitating episodes of knee pain (pain that would leave me unable to walk and would hit without warning) but reintroducing gluten and wheat made it apparent that this was the source of the inflammation.

      I should point out that reactions to gluten can take many forms. Essentially your body is producing antibodies and those antibodies can cause any number of symptoms, from eczema to stomach pain to joint pain to brain fog and more. I highly recommend the books Grain Brain and Wheat Belly for more on this. All that to say your two children showing two sets of symptoms is not unusual.

      As for your celiac testing, keep in mind celiac is just one kind of reaction to gluten and by no means the only kind. There are many proteins at play here and you and the kids may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (more common than celiac). If you’ve done an elimination diet and notice a difference then you can safely conclude that there is a reaction to at least one of those proteins (under the umbrella of gluten). That’s enough to avoid gluten and see the benefits. I chose to avoid testing because it was cost prohibitive and was satisfied through the elimination diet that wee were both reacting to gluten.

      However, if you want to sniff out the specific problem substance then you’ll need a comprehensive lab test that looks at several antibodies. Basically what are your bodies reacting to. There are many labs know that run these test, the one I’m most familiar with is Cyrex Labs Array 3 however this test must be ordered by a practitioner. I checked and it looks like Cyrex does do lab testing in the UK, so just Google “cyrex assay 3 UK” or your local area to find practitioners.

      I hope that helps! Best wishes on your journey!

      ~Maya

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