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It seems like every other day we hear about a new carb-cutting diet. From Keto and Paleo to Atkins and Dukins, we seem to be told to constantly reduce the amount of carbs we ingest. But, just what the heck are carbohydrates anyway?
According to Registered Dietician Nishta Saxena, carbs are anything that isn’t pure fat (i.e. oil or animal fat) or pure protein (i.e. meat, poultry or fish).
If you’re attempting to lose weight, you may have considered including the entire family into your tailored eating regimen. But Nishta says you should never restrict your child’s carbohydrate intake. It isn’t safe for children to follow diets like Keto and Paleo, and they should have access to carbs for all meals and snacks.
If anything, kids need carbs more than adults do. Children turn over glucose in their brain six times faster than adults. Half of their diet should consist of carbs. For adults, about forty percent is enough.
Carbs are broken down into fibres and sugars (the naturally occurring sugars in food—the healthy kind!)
If you’re on the search for healthy carbs to offer your children, be on the lookout for minimally processed items like:
- Root vegetables (sweet potato, potato, turnips, parsnips)
- Pasta (whole-wheat or regular)
- Lentils & chickpeas
- Whole oatmeal
- Full-fat dairy products with no added sugar (plain)
- Whole fruit (apples, pears, citrus and bananas)
- Rice (White & brown,
- Good quality whole grain bread
- Millet and green peas and other green veggies
Fibre is also another crucial ingredient. On top of creating a layer of immunity, it helps develop proper gut bacteria, manages hormones, and can boost creativity in kids!
School aged children need roughly 20- 25 grams of Fibre a day but the current intake of Canadian kids is much lower. Here are the guidelines to follow.
Fibre requirements for children:
- Children 1 to 3 years: 19 grams fiber per day
- Children 4 to 8 years: 24 grams fiber per day
- Females 9 to 18 years: 26 grams fiber per day
- Males 9 to 13 years: 31 grams fiber per day
- Males 14 to 18 years: 38 grams fiber per day
As for the diet enthusiasts, Nishta says there must be a good reason for taking out carbs. It’s not a fast track to losing weight. When it comes to your children, remember, they’re watching you. When you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, show don’t tell.
Watch more in this clip above.