Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dietary Fat: Is It Good or Bad?

By: Kerry McKenzie

Both. You see, not all fats are created equal.

Here is the “skinny” on fats:
Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. They can compromise the cardiovascular system, immune system, and contribute to behavior problems. They can also lead to weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, and liver strain.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents need to avoid placing any restrictions on the amount of fat your children consumes in the first 2 years of their life. Toddlers need fat to ensure proper growth and early brain development.  Another example of how crucial those early years are for healthy growth and development.

That said, our bodies need fat for insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, and to protect our organs at any age. High-quality fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly. It is important for children as it helps provide energy and promotes wound healing.
Where to Find Healthy Fats
•  Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 rich organic eggs.
•  Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini.
•  Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping.
•  Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.

How to Use Healthy Fats:
•  For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil.
•  When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
•  Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.
•  Massage sesame, safflower, or coconut oil into your skin daily.  You can add a few drops of lavender, rose geranium, clove or your favorite essential oil too.

So now you are surely asking yourself how much fat is enough for a child? For children two and under, about half of their calories should come from fat according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. After age two, their diets can be modified so that dietary fats make up about one third of their caloric intake.

If you find adding dietary fats to your children’s diets is difficult, try this delicious, easy recipe. Our Choosy Mom, Christine, will tell you that her toddler loves avocados!

Avocado Dip
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Makes 1 cup
1 large peeled and pitted avocado
2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt, coconut yogurt, or almond yogurt
1 diced tomato
A squirt of lemon or lime juice
Dash or two of sea salt and black pepper
•  Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth.
•  Add yogurt, tomato, blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender, or with a fork.
•  Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
•  Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables.

Tip: Best when made a maximum of 1 hour before serving.

What other ways do you incorporate health fats into your children’s diets? Let us know as we would love to share your recipes!



About the Author: Kerry McKenzie, B.A., M.S., has been working in education for more than 13 years. She is a Certified Health Coach, a 500 level (E-RYT500) yoga teacher and specializes in early childhood motor development. She has a passion for working with expecting moms, babies, toddlers and preschool age children and their caregivers at Greenville Health Systems pediatric clinic, child care centers and in the community. Click here to learn more about Kerry.

27 comments :

  1. This is full of great information. That dip sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We loooove avocado dips in my home. Hope you enjoy it too!

      Delete
  2. There is so much health and dietary information floating around and this is a good guide for many people who get confused on the good and bad fats! Avocados and olive oil are two of my favorite good fats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks!!

      Delete
  3. This is a great guide! Easy to forget about the good fats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is, especially when there's soooo much info out there.

      Delete
  4. That avocado dip sounds just heavenly! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Let us know if you make it!

      Delete
  5. Dietary Fat = extraordinarily important! I hate people who think fat is not healthy and they should shun it! NO NO NO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right! The right kind of fats are suuuuuper important. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. All these fats you mentioned are great! I love coconut and palm oil, they're my favorite go-to's when trying to replace dairy in a recipe.
    Sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing. I hate when people go on extremely low fat diets (I'm a dietitian) or think all fat is bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be a great, easy to read piece to share with your clients who are considering that kind of diet. Might help them reconsider!

      Delete
  8. I love all those things on the healthy fats list. My two boys can be a bit picky but they each like a few things on the list - thank goodness!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good to know they like a couple things! Keep trying new things too :)

      Delete
  9. We use lots of healthy fats in cooking. The avocado dip sounds delicious for the whole family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay!! Pat yourself on the back :) doesn't it feel good to know you're making healthy choices?!

      Delete
  10. This avacado dip does sound amazing. This is a great article as dietary fats get a bad rap while margarine gets a better one (and many of them are hydrogenated). It's nice to have this so well laid out!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My daughter loves avocado and hardly eats so hopefully this recipe will work for us. Healthy fats are good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter is in the same boat of not eating. She drinks everything so I've even made her smoothies and added in a little avocado!! She loved it!

      Delete
  12. My kiddo loves avocado. I will give this dip a try. Thanks for all the info.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! We are glad you stopped by!

      Delete
  13. We have incorporated coconut oil and grape seed oil into our cooking recently. Both add new, unique flavors. A very informative post. Thank you for the information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooo grape seed oil sounds really interesting!!! Is it sweet?

      Delete
  14. I totally loved this post. Thanks for sharing. It is great to keep reminding ourselves of the nutrition that we are feeding ourselves and our kids, to keep life in balance.

    ReplyDelete

Choosy's Blog Archive