The Best Healthy Fats For Kids

Healthy Fats in Kids

For years we’ve been led to believe that fat is bad for our children and that we should make sure we put our kids on a low fat diet for better health.  But, after all of this time, can you believe the experts were wrong and there are healthy fats that can really benefit our children? Well it appears to be true.

Many studies have shown that including certain healthy fats in our children’s meals is actually extremely good for them and helps their bodies absorb nutrients, maintain low cholesterol and even protect internal organs. In addition, these good fats or Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are also beneficial to their immune systems which is very important early in life to build immunities to the multitude of viruses and illnesses they will encounter.

So the good news is that some fats are really good for kids but the question remains, which fats should you choose to include in kids’ diets? Casey Seidenberg from the Washington Post recently posted a list of the best healthy fats to use when preparing meals for our kids.

5 HEALTHY FATS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR CHILD’S DIET

Olive oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage. It is ideal for use in salad dressings and to toss over cooked veggies for extra flavor. It needs to be heated over a low to medium fire, never high.

Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil is full of heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. It turns rancid when heated, so we use it in pesto, hummus, salad dressings and other foods that are not cooked. (Tip: Anytime a dressing calls for oil, use half olive and half flaxseed oil.) My boys love their air-popped popcorn tossed with flaxseed oil and sea salt. So simple, delicious and healthy.

Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil has a clean, neutral flavor that works in most recipes, is ideal for stir-fries and other high-heat cooking, and is full of Vitamin E, flavonoids and antioxidants. Always buy organic, as grapes are often heavily sprayed with pesticides, and, according to the Environmental Working Group’s study, grapes retain pesticides even after washing.

Walnut oil

Walnut oil is wonderful for baking because of its slightly sweet flavor, and it contains omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a fun alternative in baking and when roasting vegetables. Many naturally bitter vegetables become more palatable to children when roasted in coconut oil. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, so you might wonder why it is healthful. It is a natural saturated fat, meaning that it is found this way in nature. It is not chemically hydrogenated like many other, unhealthful saturated fats.

Coconut oil has been shown to support a strong immune system and have anti-bacterial properties due to its content of lauric acid. It has also been shown to help externally, when rubbed on eczema and skin rashes. You want to buy an extra-virgin non-hydrogenated coconut oil. It comes as a solid, so scoop out however much you need and melt to use.

Source

So remember, when we’re talking about “GOOD” fats we’re strictly talking about non-saturated fats which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. It’s best to steer clear of saturated fats such as anything that says “Hydrogenated” or the dreaded “Trans Fats” which are commonly found in bakery items (donuts, cakes, pastries, etc.)

Make sure you are reading labels to be sure your children are getting the right healthy fats in their diets. It may take some time to get used to reading labels more carefully but in the end you will be assured your children are eating as healthy as they possibly can.

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