Carbohydrates are getting a bad rap nowadays. Health conscious people are cutting down on carbs to lose weight and stay healthy. But what about kids? Do they too need to banish carbs from their diet? If you ask Gwyneth Paltrow, they should!
But, let’s hear what the real experts have to say about carbohydrates for children.
Do Kids Need Carbohydrate?
Absolutely! Carbs are the largest source of energy for kids and adults alike. Kids, in general, should get 50-60% of their calories from carbohydrates. Unfortunately, today carbs are blamed for the obesity epidemic overtaking the world. But the truth is that not all foods containing carbohydrates are bad. The secret is to eat ‘good carbs’!
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Benefits Of Carbohydrates For Children:
So, now we know that kids do need carbohydrate in their daily diet. But what purpose do they serve? Here are the major benefits of carbohydrate for kids:
1. Source Of Energy:
Kids are a bundle of energy. They a
2. Helps One Lose Weight:
If your kid is overweight, a healthy carbohydrate diet can help her lose weight. This is because carbohydrates are the only source of fiber. And a fiber rich diet will keep your child full for longer, preventing binge eating and weight gain.
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3. Keeps The Heart Healthy:
The diet kids eat today has made them susceptible to all sorts of diseases. But a ‘good carb’ diet can help keep the heart hale and hearty.
4. Improves Digestion:
Make sure your kid has a carbohydrate-rich diet to help her digestive system function at its best. The fiber content in carbohydrate keeps problems like constipation and indigestion far away.
Good Carb Vs. Bad Carb:
If you want to get the benefits of carbohydrate, you need to add ‘good carbs’ in your diet. But what exactly are good carbs?
There are two kinds of carbohydrates – Simple and Complex.
1. Simple Carbohydrates:
Also called simple sugars, this kind of carb is found in refined sugars like candies. Simple carbs are also found, albeit in small amounts, in fruits and vegetables. So, if your child eats fruits and veggies, she is getting ‘good carbs’. Candies, on the other hand, are full of ‘bad carbs’.
2. Complex Carbohydrates:
You can get complex carbs from grain products like bread, pasta, and rice. Like simple carbs, complex carbs too can be good and bad. Carbs derived from refined grains like white flour and white rice are the ‘bad carbs’. These carb sources give the body nothing but starch.
Your kid needs both simple and complex carb to be healthy. But make sure to avoid ‘bad carbs’ to prevent obesity in your kid. If you are wondering about what food to include and what to exclude, check out the list below (1):
Here are the foods that are a great source of good carbs for your kid:
- Sweet Potatoes
Include these items, along with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to give your child a wholesome diet.
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To prevent obesity, and other weighty issues avoid the following foods (2):
- Sugary drinks
- Refined grains
- Processed or canned fruits
- Sweets like candies, cookies (chocolates are okay)
Hope by now you have understood why children need carbohydrates. As you can see, carbs are not evil! They are essential for the growth of your child. If your kid is not gaining weight, though his meals contain ample amount of carbohydrate, you can get him checked for carbohydrate malabsorption(3). Kids with this problem often report stunted growth.
But if you are like the majority and worried about your child’s rapid weight gain, watch what she is eating. Cut out refined foods and include more healthy carbohydrate options in her diet. And don’t forget to encourage her to be physically active.
But don’t banish all carbs from your kid’s diet! And let her have a bite or two of ‘bad carbs’ once in a while too. She is a child, after all! And all kids deserve candies, at times!
So, does your kid gets enough good carbohydrate? If you know any additional information about carbohydrates for kids, tell us in the comments section below!
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