Got Questions?


Robin Strathdee

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What are the nutrient ratios for toddlers and how to get them...specifically for calcium. I need ammo to fire back at people who I tell that my kids don't drink milk. I know that there is calcium in broccoli but I want some hard data for my rebuttal. Also, is there such a thing as too much protein? (taxing on small kidneys being a question of mine)

Is too much organ meat a bad thing? my husband was wondering about this as the girls ate very large portions of heart over 2 days

These are just the ones off the top of my head.

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This might be an appendix to my first question but are toddlers and kids just like mini adults or do they have any different specific dietary/nutrient requirements (more fat, more of certain vitamins, less of anything etc)

What are servings of fruit and nuts and are there any nuts that are better than others or is it the same as the table in ISWF (which has a big old sticky note on it in my book) and are there any fruits that are "better" than others....nutritionally speaking of course (my girls think medjool dates are candies)

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What would a perfectly balanced day's worth of meals look like for a toddler? What about a pre-schooler and a young child? I'm talking about 3 meals and a snack, plus drinks.

I also have wondered about the calcium question, even though my kid drinks a moderate amount of milk.

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My girls are nine, so I don't need toddler-specific advice, but I have all of the above questions. I'd also like to know what foods I can start to teach them to cook for themselves. At the moment they can boil water and cook stuff in it. I think they are ready to expand their cooking, with some supervision - so I need ideas and nutritional goals to aim for that will include them in the preparation process.

Excellent thread, Robin, thank you!

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Hold on to your hats, friends!

What are the nutrient ratios for toddlers and how to get them...specifically for calcium. I need ammo to fire back at people who I tell that my kids don't drink milk. I know that there is calcium in broccoli but I want some hard data for my rebuttal. Also, is there such a thing as too much protein? (taxing on small kidneys being a question of mine)

Is too much organ meat a bad thing? my husband was wondering about this as the girls ate very large portions of heart over 2 days

These are just the ones off the top of my head...

This might be an appendix to my first question but are toddlers and kids just like mini adults or do they have any different specific dietary/nutrient requirements (more fat, more of certain vitamins, less of anything etc)

What are servings of fruit and nuts and are there any nuts that are better than others or is it the same as the table in ISWF (which has a big old sticky note on it in my book) and are there any fruits that are "better" than others....nutritionally speaking of course (my girls think medjool dates are candies)

Essentially, we think your kids' plates should look like your plates. Some protein, plenty of fat and tons of veggies. That said, an overwhelming majority of kids who eat Good Food will balance their diets on their own over time. We don't think tracking or balancing is any more important for them than it is for you. A good rule of thumb with kids is (in the context of protein, fat and veg): If they'll eat it, let them. Encourage them to be balanced, but let them learn to trust their bodies. Their requirements change as they go through periods of physical growth, brain growth, immune building, activity, etc. Give them plenty of good food and let 'em at it.

Unless your kiddos have specific kidney disfunction, it would be VERY difficult - virtually impossible - for them to get too much protein. The (healthy, young) body is extremely efficient at dealing with food and totally has it covered. Allow them to decide when they're finished (within reason) and they'll be done LONG before they get too much.

When it comes to the calcium question, I LOVE this article M&D wrote earlier this year! What About Calcium

I think organ meat follows the same guidelines as protein...if they'll eat it, let em.

Nuts follow the same table as in ISWF, and I would limit them for the same reasons you limit them for yourself. A handful is probably a good gauge?

Fruits - again, which would you consider the best? Probably those with oodles of antioxidants, vitamins, etc (bright or dark colored flesh). I don't, however, think you need to worry about fruit having too much sugar for your kiddos (well, maaaaybe dates). Just make sure they're eating their meat and veg and don't allow fruit to take the place of other important foods.

What are some healthy alternatives for the junk that the SAD offers for older kids? Simple, easy-to-grab foods, especially when they are having friends over. The old offerings of Doritos and pizza aren't compliant anymore for some reason ;)

I think the key here is to avoid the "substitution" temptation. Nothing you concoct is going to taste like Doritos. Even Doritos have to be chemically engineered to taste like Doritos. Chat with your teenager and ask what healthier foods they might like to have. Chicken skewers, deli meats, meatballs, fruits, veggies - those are all great snacks.

What would a perfectly balanced day's worth of meals look like for a toddler? What about a pre-schooler and a young child? i'm talking 3 meals and a snack, plus drinks?

I also have wondered about the calcium question, even though my kid drinks a moderate amount of milk.

I don't know that there is such thing as a generic perfectly balanced meal, as our kiddos grow and change so rapidly that what was perfect for them yesterday may be too much, or not enough, today. I know it's a little harder to allow freedom of choice in packed meals, but I use the MealSimple template for my girls meals (when they can't portion for themselves). I use their little palms as a gauge for protein and then pack in the veg and fat (and usually a fruit).

Once kiddos are past the nursing stage, the best drink for them is really water. My girls have recently (in the last 6 months) made the transition away from drinking primarily watered down juice to drinking primarily water. Sometimes we do fruit flavored herbal teas with stevia, and they bring fruit/veg juice boxes (4oz) in their lunches.

My girls are nine, so I don't need toddler-specific advice, but I have all of the above questions. I'd also like to know what foods I can start to teach them to cook for themselves. At the moment they can boil water and cook stuff in it. I think they are ready to expand their cooking, with some supervision - so I need ideas and nutritional goals to aim for that will include them in the preparation process.

This is such a fun age!! I say let them help cook WHATEVER they want to eat for that particular meal. My kids are Montessori girls, so they are familiar (and handy) with all kinds of kid-sized kitchen tools. They help me crack eggs and snap green beans. At nine, I might start introducing the basics of knife skills (with incredible supervision) and teach them some basic protein prep techniques. For example, I think I learned how to make baked chicken at that age.

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Yeah I was thinking that baking skills would be a good next step. I was thinking about spaghetti squash, but chicken would be good too. (I hate baking chicken, so it would be nice to train my replacements. Ha!)

I'm really just starting to sort out my own menu, so including them in the food choices has been simple stuff so far. Boiled eggs for breakfast today, then some sugary stuff (they are not on Whole30 with me) from friends, some sugar snap peas and ranch dressing, some raspberries, and I'm thinking maybe enchiladas tonight for dinner. They also boiled and served themselves pasta.

I like the idea of encouraging kitchen independence. I think when I start my January Whole30 I'll plan meals with them in mind.

The other responses you gave are really helpful for me too. My kids are definitely still growing, tons, every day. Some days they don't eat much, and some days they don't stop eating.

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