Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
step 5: healthy fats So how much fat should my child be eating? Ages 1-3: It’s recommended that fats contribute towards 30%-40% of young children’s total calorie intake. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. Therefore, a toddler who consumes 1000 calories would require 33 to 45 grams of fat each day. It is recommended that toddlers consume 700 milligrams of omega-3s each day, some of which can be achieved from eating foods such as oily fish or a handful of chopped walnuts. If you’re struggling to get your child to eat omega-3 rich foods, ask your paediatrician, nutritionist or GP about purified omega-3 oils for children. Age 4+: Fats should contribute 25%-35% of their total calories. Depending on the level of activity and gender, children aged 4 to 8 need 1200 to 2000 calories and kids aged 9 to 13 require 1400 to 2600 calories. Based on these calorie guidelines, children aged 4 to 8 need 33 to 78 grams of fat daily and kids aged between 9 and 13 require 39 to 101 grams of fat daily. Individualised fat requirements for your child vary by age, gender and specific calorie needs. It is recommended that children over 4 consume 900 milligrams of omega-3s each day. But won’t fat make my child fat? Healthy children will not gain weight if they eat fat from the correct sources. During the 1990s when low-fat diets were all the rage many parents, following on from their own diets, offered their kids foods like low-fat cottage cheese, 99% fat-free yoghurt, and used spray oils in canisters to further limit their intake of fats. Fuelled by an increasing fear of overweight and obese children, and told that limiting fats could prevent heart disease, parents understandably came to believe that restricting dietary fats could keep children from becoming fat. However, a child’s energy demands are much higher than an adult’s, so low-fat diets do not provide an adequate supply of nutrients and can even disrupt a child’s normal rate of growth and development. Fat, satiety and metabolism In contrast to low-fat foods, whole foods leave children more satiated, reducing cravings for bigger portion sizes and unhealthy snacks. Although fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, eating the right type of fat can cause your body to burn more energy and, importantly, can signal to your child when they are full, as fat causes satiety. In my practice, I see a lot of children on carb-intense diets. Multiple crackers, especially rice cakes or corn cakes, are a staple part of their snack routine. If you add a layer of fat to crackers in the form of almond butter, coconut oil, avocado, mashed eggs or unsalted butter, a child will tend to feel more satisfied. Often I see kids who complain to their parents that they are hungry just 30 minutes after a meal and this can often be solved by increasing the good fats offered at mealtimes. For example, if a child is eating porridge with honey and milk, adding a tsp of unsalted butter or crushed almonds, chia seeds or flaxseeds will help them to feel satiated for longer. Vegetables, too, need fat to ensure their fat-soluble vitamins and minerals are absorbed – so go ahead and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter. Do you need to watch your child’s cholesterol? In infancy, cholesterol is one of the most important fats as it has a huge part to play in the development of cognitive health as well as proper hormone and sexual function and development. Good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) works to lower bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Foods such as olive oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, chopped nuts, fibre and legumes can all help to lower LDL. Even from a young age, it’s important to focus on these sources of good cholesterol. Omega-6 vs omega-3: What’s the difference? Both are beneficial, but if there is too much omega-6 in a child’s diet and not enough omega-3, it can increase the risk of inflammation and disease. An ideal ratio is between 2:1 or 4:1 – two to four times as much omega-6 as omega-3. The average Australian diet has a ratio of 10:1. To correct the balance, try to focus on avoiding processed foods containing vegetable oils and upping omega-3-rich foods. This will help you manage your child’s overall intake of omega-6s and 175 you know? Did Breast milk is 40%-50% saturated fat and cholesterol – nature knows best when it comes to what infants need to grow and develop. Consider this… Some studies have shown that people who ate high-fat diets had a much faster metabolism. Low-fat, high-carb diets, on the other hand, spiked insulin, subsequently slowing metabolism and storing belly fat.