Grains have been a staple in human diets for thousands of years, and for good reason! Packed with essential nutrients, grains offer numerous health benefits, particularly for growing babes. In this blog post, we will explore the remarkable advantages of incorporating grains into your child's diet, and share some easy ways to work grains into your every day routine! Let's discover why grains are so important for kids' overall health and well-being.
1. Rich in Essential Nutrients:
Grains, whether whole or refined, provide a range of essential nutrients vital for children's growth and development:
Carbohydrates: Grains serve as an excellent source of energy, supplying the fuel children need for their active lifestyles.
Dietary Fiber: Whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice, and oats, are high in fiber, promoting healthy digestion and preventing constipation.
Vitamins and Minerals: Grains contain important vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins, supporting various bodily functions and overall wellness.
2. Sustained Energy and Brain Function:
Carbohydrates are fuel for our brains, which helps kiddos learn and play throughout the day. Whole grains in particular are rich in fiber, which provides a sustained release of energy. By incorporating whole grains into meals and snacks, you can provide a lasting source of fuel for our kiddo's growing bodies and support optimal brain function.
3. Beneficial for Digestive Health:
Grains contribute to a balanced diet and the fiber content in whole grains promotes satiety, helping children feel full for longer periods of time. Additionally, the fiber aids in proper digestion, preventing GI issues like constipation and promoting a healthy gut microbiome.
DID YOU KNOW...?
Whole grains are made up of the entire grain including the tougher outer shell while refined grains have that part removed. While opting for whole grains when possible is great, there is still great benefit to consuming refined grains like white rice because they are often easier to digest, which can be helpful for our young babes.
Different types of grains include:
& that's just to name a few!
Most grains are mild in flavor, so they are super easy to work into your little one's diet!
My favorite ways to enjoy grains are:
Rice in burritos
Oats in baked goods
Quinoa in smoothies
Farro with stir fry
The options are endless!
In my family we eat a lot of rice because it's easy, affordable, accessible, and versatile. Rice is a staple food for many cultures worldwide!
Recently I've come across a lot of news looking at the high levels of arsenic found in rice and what that means. When I dug into the research and this is what I found:
Arsenic is a metal found naturally in our environment in both organic and inorganic forms. Extensive research has shown the connection between long-term, high-level exposure to inorganic arsenic and poor health outcomes.
Inorganic arsenic is more toxic than organic arsenic, but in most food products only the total arsenic is reported because it is hard to differentiate between the two forms. Many factors contribute to the total arsenic level like the type of rice, region of growth, the water used and type of processing.
Many plant foods have trace amounts of arsenic and other heavy metals because it can be absorbed from the soil or water.
Thankfully, arsenic does not build up in the body and is excreted in our urine, usually within a few days.
A lot of foods intended for infants and kids are made from rice or rice byproducts which makes this all sound scary BUT the AAP acknowledges that rice can still be a part of a normal balanced diet that includes a diversity of fruits, veggies, and grains.
You can minimize the potential exposure to arsenic by including a VARIETY of grains in the diet such as oat, barley, wheat, quinoa, bulgur, rye, amaranth, and more.
The inclusion of grains in a child's diet is a wonderful way to provide them with essential nutrients, sustained energy, and support their overall health and well-being. By embracing the versatility and deliciousness of grains, you can ensure that your child receives the necessary nutrition for their growing bodies. Remember, variety is key!
Share with us your favorite ways to enjoy grains in the comments below!
Stay tuned to The Cardamom Nutrition for more insightful articles on children's nutrition and wellness.