A typical day of food for most kids includes cereal, sweetened yogurt, a white bread sandwich, fruit juice, an apple, pasta or rice based meal and maybe a few cookies. They may as well be eating sugar, sugar and more sugar! It is no wonder that so many kids suffer with concentration and behavioural problems!
It seems obvious that the steep increase in ADHD diagnosis in the last 30 years has a lot to do with the change in diet and the abundance of sugary and processed foods in the diet. The absence of quality fats and proteins in the diet is likely to have stunted brain development. The food in a modern western diet is completely lacking in essential nutrients for proper brain and body health and our kids now face greater risks of lifestyle diseases that have not been a problem before.
The Banting diet encourages the consumption of high fat foods, protein and plenty of vegetables. Incidentally these are the kinds of foods that kids need to support the growth and development of their brains, bodies and immune systems.
The brain is 60% fat and fats are required to build every single cell in the human body. Protein is required for the building blocks to all of our hormones, enzymes and brain chemicals. Vegetables and fruit provide fibre, minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. These are the foundations of the Banting diet and you won’t go wrong if you feed your child these most of the time. Children tend to be more active so they may be able to handle more carbohydrates in the diet than adults, but these must come from fruit, vegetables and possibly some whole grains. The key is to avoid the following foods: All sugar, bread, pasta, potatoes, breakfast cereals, all confectionery, artificial sweeteners and ‘low-fat’ food.
Omega 3-fatty acid has been studied very closely for its effect on children with ADHD and other cognitive issues. There is no doubt that it is greatly beneficial and by feeding your kid the Banting diet with plenty of fish, nuts and seeds you will be making sure they get plenty of omega 3s.
Don’t start your child’s day with a high sugar bowl of cereal. Instead make them a plate of scrambled eggs or a smoothie containing low-sugar fruit like berries, some avocado and seeds for fat and some baby spinach for vitamins and minerals. Don’t pack them a sandwich for school lunch. Instead pack them an assortment of julienne vegetables, some strawberries, a few slices of full-fat cheese and some leftover meat from the night before. This will ensure their blood sugar stays balanced and they won’t feel sleepy and agitated.
If your child is sick don’t give them a bowl of jelly or ice-cream. Make them a bowl of healing bone broth instead. We know that sugar actually disables the immune system for up to 7 hours after consumption. This does not refer to sweets and cakes only; I am talking about everything that is a simple form of sugar, even bread, rice and pasta!
The transition to Banting may be a challenge at first and you may need to be strict with your child. As you start to notice an improvement in immunity, concentration, behaviour, sleep and energy you will feel it is all worth it. There is no way you can control what your child eats 100% of the time, but if you start educating them on the types of food that nourish their body and make them feel better they will start making the choice for themselves. Starting young is absolutely essential to set your child up for a healthy and happy life.