Keto for Kids
In New Zealand we consume an astounding 37 teaspoons of sugar, that’s SIX times the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of six teaspoons per day, and just three teaspoons for kids. That’s because sugar has become such a common place and is in almost every processed food including breads, cereals, crackers and biscuits etc. It all adds up. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic.
So, is Keto good for kids? Really? Is that even a thing? Remember keto is about whole, natural foods, lots of good fats (which is essential for brain development), good protein (which is essential building blocks for growing bodies) and nutrient dense carbs such as non-starchy vegetables regardless of age. So, ditching the junk food and lowering their sugar intake can only be a good thing, right? Let’s be honest, kids shouldn’t really be eating cakes, sweets, ice cream, chippies and soft drinks (energy drinks are an absolute no no) on a daily basis.
For most kids that are growing we shouldn’t restrict them to a ‘no’ carb diet, but a low carb is fine, emphasising food from nutrient dense sources that are naturally lower in carbs. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cook more than one meal at dinner. Just complete their meals with some colourful vegetables and introduce some fruit and nuts. As their bodies grow at a rapid rate, we need to make sure we are feeding them nutrient dense foods. Remember chronic diseases don’t happen overnight but take decades to develop. So, a healthy kick start certainly won’t hurt them.
It’s not about restricting kids but rather teaching them a healthy lifestyle:
- for their bodies to be well nurtured (this is different to well fed)
- to be able to concentrate at school
- not overeating
- enjoying treats in moderation
- eating whole, natural food
- making good choices
- trying new foods
- being active is fun
Unless your child has a food allergy or intolerance you shouldn’t be restricting their food or fat. After all, no one likes a food ‘fat controller’.
Kids do need more vitamins and minerals for example they need a significant increase in calcium to help with growing bones, so we need to make sure they are getting enough dairy, but also Vitamin K2 is helpful as it is essential for calcium absorption. And guess what, K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin. So, kids need some good fats!
Kids need healthy fats. They keep you full for longer, contain essential fatty acids, and supply the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They also help with brain function, so this will actually help them concentrate in school!
Kids need protein. This is the building blocks of their growing muscles.
Kids need quality nutrient-dense carbs. But nowhere near what people think. Nutrient-dense carbohydrates such as full-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, berries and of course vegetables are a great staple source.