Foods marketed towards kids today are extremely unhealthy. They are loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients, and hydrogenated fats. Too often kids eat mostly high carbohydrate, nutrient-insufficient foods. Kids do not drink enough water; they mostly consume fruit juices and sodas. The high carbohydrate diets and excessive juice and soda (even pure fruit juice) lead to tooth decay, immune system dysfunction, growth hormone suppression, and insulin resistance. Many kids today have already started developing signs of cardiovascular disease due to their poor diets, and yeah, they’re getting fat.
Contrary to popular belief, fluoride is no longer considered an essential nutrient, no matter what most dentists want you to think. Most people get the natural fluoride they need for cavity protection everyday in foods such as seafood, chicken, tea, and most [natural] drinking water. Fluoride has been shown to increase bone loss, impair thyroid function, and alter pancreatic enzymes.
Kids should eat a healthy diet comparable to what a healthy adult should eat. When dining out, have your child choose something from the adult menu or share some of your food with them. Vegetables, whole grains, proteins (meats & eggs), and natural fats and oils are essential for kids, and are not found in that chicken fingers and french fries meal.
Kids need to eat breakfast. Eggs, natural meats (bacon, sausage), fruit & protein smoothies, whole grain pancakes, fruits, natural yogurt and granola are excellent choices. Make sure they are getting some protein in the morning to keep them alert all day long. For example, if you are going to give them pancakes, make them with some pure whey protein, and/or add lots of free-range eggs and go easy on the [pure] maple syrup. Use only natural butter, not margarine. Vary their diet so they don’t eat the same thing everyday.
Good snacks throughout the day for kids include fruits, vegetable sticks, natural cheeses, whole grain non-hydrogenated crackers, nuts & seeds, and whole food nutrition bars.
Don’t rely on school lunches to be healthy; they’re some of the worst foods available. Pack a nutrient-dense lunch for your child with items such as turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread, fruits, yogurts, etc…
This doesn’t mean that your child can’t have “junk food”. It just needs to be “healthy” junk food. That means cookies, cakes, crackers, and other foods that contain natural sugars, no hydrogenated fats, and no dyes, colors, or preservatives. These are readily available at any health food store or you can make them yourself. Just because you’re shopping at a health food store doesn’t mean everything is good for you. Moderation is key; keep the sugar intake low and eliminate the bad fats and artificial ingredients.
Lastly, your child may be resistant to eating healthy, but they will not starve. Be as creative as possible and stick to your [new] guidelines. Eventually they will eat something other than just french fries or mac-n’-cheese.
Linda kerry says
Hi. My 10 year old daughter cannot cope with having sugar. She is ok with fruit ( not bananas) and xylitol, but when she has any honey or sugar on its own or in food products she gets irritable and has headaches and her eyes become very dark underneath. She has been tested for candida which she has had in the past, but she doesnt have it. This sugar problem has been with her for a year now. What could be the cause of this? She also isnt good with citrus or dairy ( the same as me) but we are used to dealing with this. I feel bad for her when we go to kids partys as she cant have anything without feeling awful afterwards. Everything seems to have sugar in! Please help
She could be allergic to cane sugar, I see that now and then. Get some beet sugar (you can buy on line or it’s available in much of the mid-West), and see if she reacts to that too. But since it’s honey also, it could be a FODMAPs problem https://drgangemi.com/2011/08/fodmaps/ and if they candida test was only done through blood testing then those are very accurate; yeast could still be an issue.
kim backlund says
Hi. I just found your site while researching low carb eating and am finding it to be very helpful. My 11 yr old son is slightly obese. From the time he was very young (3 or 4) he’s always been a little “plump” but nothing we’ve been overly concerned about. I come from a naturally slim family, no real focus on diet, and have never had to watch calories or fat. My husband’s family on the other hand has some weight issues. We have two children, 11 yr son and a 7 yr old daughter. My daughter is built very much like me and has no issues with her weight or food consumption. However, my son is built just like his dad and grandfather. From day one his desire to eat, constantly, was apparent. Especially high carb foods. While his sister craves protein (eggs, bacon, ham,…) he wants the carbs (toast, bagels, pasta,…) I cook a lot of our meals (lots of meat and potatoes, pasta and meatballs)…not too many processed meals but a moderate amount of processed snacks (cheezits, fruit snacks, cereals,…) In the past 2 years we’re seeing our son gain more weight and become very sluggish and somewhat depressed. He’s at an age when other kids are commenting and it’s difficult. This summer we’re making a family effort to help him become more healthy and confident. I’m reading a lot about carbs and wonder if the dietary suggestions you give for adults are applicable to children my son’s age. Any suggestions you have would be helpful. Thanks so much.
Yes very similar diet in kids – don’t think that kids need to eat much differently. Actually I’d say kids need more fat than adults, with the exception of adults who are endurance training (running long distances for example). Get your kid on the Paleo Diet. Make sweet potato fries and use dark chocolate and other Paleo Type foods/desserts from the book I recommend here – #6. https://drgangemi.com/2012/03/ten-things-to-know/
kim backlund says
Thanks so much for your quick response. We’ve already started removing most of his carbs (especially breads, snack crackers & pasta). Instead of toast and cereal/oatmeal in the morning before school we’ve been pushing eggs, bacon, berries,… It’s been about a week since we began and I feel like we’re already seeing a difference in his energy level and mood. Luckily, he’s not a picky kid and is willing to eat lots of salad, greens and meats. It’s funny how people respond to this idea. Consuming fats in place of grains is so against the grain. Thanks again.
Andrea Carter says
Hi, my 8 year old daughter gained 12 lbs in 6 months and I noticed that she was thirsty all the time so I took her to the doctor. He said she has acanthosis nigricans and she has CI. He checked the iron and sugar levels in the office and it was normal. Then he ordered a bunch of blood tests and even though I haven’t been able to talk to him about it, I did get a copy of the results and all of them are within the normal range. I read your section on Insulin Resistance and the only symptoms I can identify is weight gain and she’s hungry all the time. She actually has tons of energy and she’s not the sleepy kind. I also read the Two-Week-Test, but I really don’t think she’ll be able to do it. I’d have to monitor her all the time, but that’s practically impossible. I have read all kind of things but I’m kind of lost when it comes to the diet she should have. Is there a book(s) that gives a clear explanation on the things that can be consumed and the portion sizes? A recipe book would be helpful too, but I’m more concerned about a clear explanation of what foods she can eat, amounts or portions per day, which ones to avoid, if there’s certain foods that are especially good to control the insulin levels and foods that are OK for her to snack on (health and weight wise) since she gets hungry a lot. I want to teach her a new way of life, not a “diet” since as I understand this is something that’s not going to go away.
I truly would appreciate some help! Thank you!
The only additional info I can give you via on-line is the info I have on this site for insulin resistance. You might check out the Paleo-Type Diet also on this site. If she is insulin resistant then her HGA1C and/or insulin levels should be out of range to some degree; thyroid levels are another thing to check.
Barbara Best says
My 11 year old son with autism, asthma, food allergies, PDD and Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome has been chewing his cuticles off until the skin around his fingers bleed! He tears his nails on his hands and feet into the quick before I can trim them and when I ask him why he does it he ust says he does not like nails. I’ve tried redirecting him, he is on a GF, dye free, no HFCS, low to no sugar diet. I’ve even started making his laundry detergent. We do probiotics, I’ve tried courses of parasite meds and the PA he is assigned to just told us to use a nail file & feed him fruit.His DANs! Doc is in Europe! Any suggestions?
Hard to make further suggestions w/o seeing him and knowing more. You might look into the FODMAPs diet and I’m a huge fan of AA fats as they’re great for brain development. That’s arachidonic acid – butter, grass fed beef, egg yolks.
How do you correct yeast/dysbiosis in children? Is there a specific supplement or enzyme that addresses balance? Will following paleo diet help?
What are the symptoms of a yeast imbalance in kids system?
Really no different than with adults, though with supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs) the dose is lower. Yes, the Paleo Diet can often help a lot because it’s so low in sugar (and no refined sugars), which fungus (yeast) feed off of.
My daughter is 10 and underweight can you recommend any shakes/protein that may help? I do try to provide a variety of healthy foods and am aware of healthy fats (avacados/nuts) but am looking for a supplemental. She is starting to run and cannot afford to lose any weight.
Dr. Stephen Gangemi says
Look for an organic, pesticide-free, grass-fed whey protein that is UNDENATURED. I use Whey Cool from Designs for Health.