Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
137 136 Is it okay to exceed the RDI of protein? A three-year-old who has eaten two medium eggs has already met their Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of protein. However, there is no harm in your child eating more than the RDI as long as you’re offering them high-quality protein, as no upper limits have been set for young children. I recommend including protein with each meal, for example sourdough toast with peanut butter for breakfast, salmon for lunch and spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. For vegetarians, try quinoa porridge with crushed almonds for breakfast, a spinach and feta slice for lunch and adzuki bean stew for dinner. However, although no upper limit has been set, it’s important to note that it is potentially dangerous for children to follow a very high-protein diet (like the popular Paleo or Atkins diets). Too much protein in a child’s diet can put stress on the liver and kidneys. Eating too much red meat or processed meat has also been linked to certain cancers. How many servings of red meat per week is healthy? This is a topic of debate. According to the Cancer Council NSW, the consumption of red meat has been associated with a modest increased risk of bowel cancer. It’s safe to say a child who is eating a varied diet filled with protein and iron-rich foods from other sources such as chicken, lentils, and eggs needs only 1-2 servings of red meat per week. And vegetarian children, under the guidance of a health practitioner, may thrive without any red meat. However, young children with limited diets will benefit from eating red meat 3-4 times weekly to ensure their vitamin B12, zinc and iron levels remain sufficient. Aim to buy grass-fed over grain-fed meat and also look for organic grass-fed options. However when buying grass-fed meat, always ask if it is grass-finished as some farmers who call their meat ‘grass-fed’, raise animals in a pasture and then in the last eight weeks of their lives feed them growth-promoting grains. step 4: boost protein Animals do not consume genetically modified ingredients like corn, soy or canola oil, making meat naturally GMO free. Fewer antibiotics as cattle graze in more humane and sanitary conditions. Up to five times more CLA than grain fed-meat. CLA, or naturally occurring conjugated linoleic acid, is a fat also found in breast milk, that can help boost the immune system, improves bone mass and control blood sugar levels. A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Higher levels of beta-carotene from grazing on natural pastures, which assists with immune health, visual health and fat metabolism. Higher levels of vitamin A, which is important for bone growth, sustaining healthy vision and protecting a child’s body from infection. Vitamin A also promotes the health and growth of cells and tissues in the body. Up to four times higher in vitamin E, crucial for a child’s health and development. Vitamin E helps boost a child’s immune system, aid their body in fighting germs and assist the cells of the body in working together. Corn feed can contain inherent GMOs. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in farmed animals is a major source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans. Reduced CLA, vitamin A and E content. A higher ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s, meaning it can cause inflammation in the body. GRASS-FED MEAT GRAIN-FED MEAT Can be grass-fed or grain-fed or a combination of both. No herbicides or pesticides have been used in the pasture. If grain feed is used it is GMO-free. No growth hormones or antibiotics have been used unnecessarily. Certified organic farm animals are allowed as much as possible to carry out their natural behaviours, form natural social groups, are not caged and are allowed generous pasture access. ORGANIC MEAT RED MEAT: GRASS-FED, GRAIN-FED OR ORGANIC? Did you know? The protein contained in egg white is considered the highest quality protein of all foods. Is processed meat safe? Processed meat differs from unprocessed meat in that it may be salted, cured, fermented, smoked, or contain added preservatives or other additives. It is far healthier for a child to eat grass-fed red meat rather than processed ham or sausages. The Cancer Council advises limiting or avoiding processed meats such as sausages, frankfurters, salami, bacon and ham to once fortnightly as there is strong evidence that processed meat increases the risk of stomach and bowel cancer. Be aware that even with this recommendation, there is no real ‘safe limit’ for children’s consumption of processed meats. However for many fussy eaters who are lacking zinc, iron and B12, processed meats such as sausages and roast ham are often the only way parents can get them to eat meat. In my practice, while trying to work on extending these children’s meat choices to include healthier options, we have often needed to find processed meats that are the so-called ‘best of the worst’. This is no easy feat as it is very hard to find a sausage, for example, that is free of fillers, preservatives and additives. So I was really pleased to find a gluten-free packaged sausage in my local supermarket that contains 92% beef, no fillers, no preservatives, no sugar, 5.5% saturated fat and 123mg of sodium – the options are there if you look for them. Another good option is to choose a 100% grass-fed beef sausage from an organic butcher, or a butcher that you can trust. Ask the right questions: Do the sausages contain fillers, preservatives or nitrates? Is it gluten free? But again, I do not recommend processed meat unless a child is avoiding meat altogether. Ideally it is preferable to phase out all processed meat from a child’s diet. How to choose the best sausages • If the nutrition panel reads ‘meat’ or ‘sausage meat’ it could be anything, including buffalo, camel and rabbit. If you are purchasing a beef sausage and you want to be sure it contains only beef, then it needs to say ‘beef meat’ as the first ingredient. The same applies for chicken, pork or lamb sausages. • Look for a sausage that contains less than 5% saturated fat. • Beware of sodium. Pick a sausage that contains less than 450mg of sodium per 100g. There are no regulations limiting the level of sodium in sausages and this can be extremely harmful to young children. • Choose a sausage with as high a percentage of meat as possible. Look for a sausage containing a minimum of 85%-90% meat. • Avoid sausages that contain cancer causing preservatives – nitrates and nitrites – these form nitrosamines in the body which increase risk of developing cancer. • Other common preservatives to avoid include sulphur dioxide (220) and sodium and potassium sulphites (221-225 and 228). Sulphites can cause asthma attacks, hay fever and hives in children who are sensitive to them. • Empty fillers should also be avoided. These typically include soy, maize, maltodextrin (sugar), hydrolysed vegetable protein (another name for MSG), potato and tapioca starch, and rusk (wheat). These fillers are commonly used to add bulk to mass-produced sausages that are sold by weight. Consider this... Often the main ingredient in a sausage – meat – accounts for less than 70% of the actual sausage. Government stipulation is that a sausage has to contain more than 66% protein, however up to 50% of this can be pure fat. So the average sausage, which many parents think of as a great protein hit for their child, may only contain a third protein – not to mention fillers, preservatives, nitrates and other unwanted ingredients.