Gluten-Free Meals For Kids
by Indre Coleman
Nutritional intake during childhood is of great importance both because of its importance for physical and mental development, but also because healthy eating habits can be developed during those formative years. With more and more of the population displaying gluten sensitivity, here are some guidelines and ideas for feeding your children delicious, gluten free meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The logic behind these food choices is not so different from that of the Paleo diet: lean meats, whole fruits and vegetables, and the avoidance of carbohydrates that are white (rice, pasta, white potatoes) and processed foods.
Breakfast: There are many directions to go with breakfast. Beginning the day with whole fruits is a great way to start. It is even better to eat the food whole, because the fiber both slows the digestion of the sugar and aids in feeling fuller for a longer period of the day.
Smoothies are also wonderful here, with green smoothies being especially healthy. If they balk at the sight of vegetable content within the smoothie, start out with sweet smoothies and gradually incorporate more vegetables. If they have no problem with dairy, yoghurt is a wonderful addition.
One of the best foods to have at ANY meal, but especially in the morning are hemp seeds. These seeds are a complete source of protein, high in Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids (great for the brain among other things), and are packed with an astounding array of vitamins and minerals.
Old standards such as banana pancakes, eggs, and oatmeal make for obvious menu choices. If making oatmeal, spice it up with amaranth, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. If you are lucky enough to be close to a good source of berries, breakfast time is an especially good time to benefit from their high content of fiber (raspberries!), phytochemicals, tannins, and antioxidants. Instead of sweetening with sugar, use grade B maple syrup (as it contains more minerals than the sweeter grade A) or local honey.
Lunch: Lunch is a wonderful time for combining lean protein with plenty of vegetables, and ideally for cultivating a lifelong love for consuming salads, especially salads that incorporate bitter greens. Instead of beef and pork, use chicken, turkey, and seafood. Wherever possible, buy them organic, local, and ethically produced. This goes for all foods, but perhaps especially for meat and fish.
I like to build salads that coax children into eating the things they’d rather not. If you are going to add kale, radicchio, beets, sprouts, seaweed (it can be done) and watercress, make sure to incorporate such crowd-pleasing foods as cherry tomatoes, smoked salmon, boiled eggs, and diced apples. A salad is also a great occasion to take in liberal doses of raw seeds. Sesame, sunflower, hemp (again), and flax are great additions. Another great lunch is to serve chicken over a bed of steamed spinach alongside a quinoa pilaf. The options are nearly endless.
Dinner: For dinner, we should continue with lean meats and steamed vegetables. Dinner is a great time to take in some steamed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Make them more interesting by pairing them with lean meat or smoked salmon, and steam them with garlic and/or ginger. Combine the meat and vegetables with a baked sweet potato topped with walnut and you might just have stumbled upon healthy food that the children will eat!
About the Author: Indre Coleman
Born in Lithuania, Indre has spent years studying the impact of nutrition on health. In 2013 she founded Juices to Glow as a means for families to introduce healthy and nutritious cold-pressed juices into their diets as a source of vital nutrients to maintain an active healthy lifestyle. We'd like to thank Indre for taking the time to share her knowledge with us on the Marbella Family Nutrition Blog.