I don’t have any 5 year olds at my house that I know of, but I have heard this question from numerous moms and dads. It’s not always a five year old but it’s always the same situation that parents find themselves stuck in when trying to prepare food for themselves and for their kids.
My clients will come to me and tell me of their endless battles with chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. They tell me about how the kids won’t eat their veggies.
For most of them, this leads them to eating like their kids instead of their kids eating like them.
Now, I don’t have kids myself so I am not going to try to sit here and tell you about how I can get your kids eating their veggies.
What I can help you do is understand the importance of eating for your age and why we as humans, apart from the one in a million lucky son of a gun who can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound, have to change our eating habits as we age in order to stay healthy.
Everyone knows that we can’t eat cookies, cake, and ice cream to maintain our health. Most of you know that as you get older your metabolism slows. This is the reason that burgers, fries, and sodas tend to show on the scale. It’s also the reason why a few too many late night cocktails tend to make you feel like crap longer than it used to back in your younger years.
A lesser known evil of getting older is that you need more vitamins and minerals to combat the aging process your body goes through. This is not only about eating more veggies to keep yourself full and keep the number on the scale from increasing. You actually need more just to stay young(er), inside and out!
Your needs for an array of vitamins and minerals actually increase as you get older. Many will get caught up in which vitamin they can pop or taking a certain supplement for a certain need, i.e. fish oil for knee joint health. The truth is many vitamins work best as co-factors of other vitamins, meaning they work less efficiently when in isolation. They work best when combined with other vitamins, which is best achieved through a diet rich in whole foods like veggies and fruits!
Got it. But how much veggies and fruits should I eat?
And yes, I purposely listed veggies first as they should get the spotlight over fruits. A good goal to set yourself is to eat 800 grams (measured in weight) of veggies and fruit. You may have to work up to this total grams each day but a great way to start is to get a food scale and start weighing.
It seems like a lot, I know. . . But, if you make room for more than just an apple a day, you might really be able to keep the doctor away!
So as you age and your caloric needs typically decrease, your nutritional needs actually increase.
This is why the “bad” foods make you feel worse as we age and the better foods tend to make you feel that much better. And for someone who likes to eat like myself, I like the fact that I get to eat more volume because these micronutrient rich foods tend to be lower in calories.
Please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have about how you can get more whole food plants in your diet and their importance.