Nutrition is fuel for the brain and body…so why would we give them anything but the best foods to help them develop and grow? The emotional, social, and physical development that occurs in the earliest years will have a direct impact on their overall development throughout life, and the nutrients we eat play a huge role in this process. Of course, there are many differing views on what is healthy and how much “junk food” to allow. We buy into the concept that they only eat what we give them and if they don’t know if exists, they won’t want it.
Our latest adventure has been trying to figure out how to make sure they are getting a well balanced diet filled with enough protein. Elijah has been getting hungry before dinner, which sends him into an emotional state that none of us enjoy. At the flip of a switch he will get frustrated, crabby, sad, you name it! Once he has a few bites of dinner he’s back to his sweet self. We met with a nutritionist that specializes in functional and integrative nutrition in order to get a handle on what they both need throughout the day and how to make sure they have all the nutrients they need. Being that she is not your “typical” nutritionist she was able to look beyond the main food groups and she looked at specific behaviors and physical concerns that would indicate what nutrients might be missing in their diets.
After a well rounded assessment and long discussion, she determined he needs more animal protein throughout the day. We were giving him foods that we thought would stay with him longer such as walnuts, yogurt, cheese, and others that have more fat and protein, but apparently the animal protein is important because it is more similar to the protein found in our bodies. We noticed an immediate difference. He was more calm and focused between lunch and dinner and a much happier little boy. We also made some other adjustments to their diet that will hopefully keep them both balanced throughout the day. We have gone gluten free, not because any of us are diagnosed with celiac disease, but rather to replace foods containing gluten and help our bodies better absorb all the nutrients we are eating. Seems silly to eat all this good stuff if our bodies can’t use it. We also switched over to almond milk rather than cow milk. It contains more calcium than cow’s milk, and of course, no lactose.
This is a journey and certainly a learning experience. We learn more everyday and make adjustments along the way. Sharing what we learn is simply a way to help others that might be on the same adventure. We don’t claim to have all the answers and I’m sure some will completely disagree with our choices. Every person and family is different. It’s all about finding what works best for you.