As every parent knows, little people are a roller coaster of emotions and balancing them can be a hair pulling experience. Most of the time those tough to deal with emotions and behavior are caused from the child’s body chemistry being unbalanced and usually, easily remedied with a more balanced diet. Starting the day out right and keeping blood sugar at an even level is key for optimal brain and physical function.
If kids are eating a breakfast meal of just toast and jam or a bowl of sugary cereal with milk, they are loading up on carbohydrates without counter balancing them with protein to prevent the insulin surge into their young bodies. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars (glucose) and digested quickly activating a high concentration of insulin to flow into the blood stream. This sudden increase of insulin causes a burst of energy and often externally interpreted by others as hyperactivity. Just as quickly, the insulin drops, causing low energy and irritable feelings of which those little bodies then crave eating more sweets and carbohydrates to get the energy back. A cycle interrupted and corrected only with better balanced nutrition.
The solution to leveling out blood sugar highs and lows is to consume some protein along with the toast or cereal in the morning. All it takes is adding a protein food to the breakfast, like plain yogurt with no added sugars and flavorings, some cheese, nut butter an egg or a small serving of meat or meat alternative. It not only balances nutrition better, the feeling of being satisfied and not hungry lasts longer. Just a little slows down the sugar from moving into the blood stream too quickly.
Yet adding protein foods when rushed can take time that we don’t always allow for in our morning routine. It is possible to nourish the body with foods that are quick to prepare and that kids will like. I found an easy solution to be a “milk shake” made with a good quality protein powder. Several brands of protein powders are available at health food stores and almost anywhere nutritional supplements are sold. They have been a popular dietary supplement for nutrients and to help build muscle mass for several decades. The kind of protein powder you choose will depend on your dietary needs. Egg and whey protein powders usually have the highest concentration of protein. Soy and pea protein based is also available and all usually come in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry flavors. Personally we use vanilla and flavor it to our preference.
Although I don’t advocate using commercially processed foods as being the main part of our food consumption, good quality protein powder is an exception when our diet looses out because of other life demands and can offer more benefit than harm. However, like all commercially produced foods to protect oneself, one must read the label to avoid added sugars, artificial sweeteners, in particular aspartame and it’s counterparts and artificial flavorings —there are many cheap forms.
Milkshakes-smoothies with some added protein powder are delicious, loaded with support for the body and can be a satisfying meal replacement as well.
This is what has become a mainstay at our house when in a hurry or for an afternoon pick-me-up. If making shakes and smoothies are new to you, keep it simple in the beginning until you figure out your own combination preferences.
Banana Milkshake and Variations:
I haven’t met a kid that wouldn’t drink up this simple nourishing shake.
In a 2-liter blender add:
4 peeled bananas, riper is naturally sweeter
1 liter of milk—cow, soy, almond, rice
1-2 tbsp of flax oil—adding flax oil gives a boost to your omega-3 intake that can help with better brain function and the ability to focus on a task; for both kids and adults. It also adds some smooth texture for more fussy eaters.
Place lid on blender and whirl until smooth.
Add 4 good scoops of vanilla protein powder with the blender on slow speed until well mixed.
If you need it sweeter, add honey or maple syrup to taste or even a small amount of blackstrap molasses for a boost of nutrients if the flavor is desirable.
Top the blender with milk or water while whirling on slow speed.
Serves 4-6 people.
-Banana milkshakes are good to start with as the texture is always smooth and the sweetness is satisfying. If you desire chocolate flavored, add pure cocoa powder.
-Strawberry milkshakes are made substituting the bananas with 2-3 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries. Be creative, use your favorite berry or fruit combination.
-Just protein powder and milk, milk alternative or water is good too!
-In the fall, our jack-o-lantern gets turned into pumpkin pie shake.
-For extra protein and nutrients, add nuts, hemp and or chia seeds to the first step.
The possibilities are limitless, Enjoy!