What are good carbohydrates for kids?
Carbohydrates are an important part of the daily diet of children and adolescents.
Carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy. They are easily digested and used. They are also the brain's only source of energy. Without enough carbohydrates, the brain cannot function properly because it cannot obtain nutrients.
Carbohydrates also contain various vitamins and minerals that are essential for body functions.
How many grams of carbohydrates should children and teenagers eat per day?
The brain alone requires 130 grams to function properly. Since teenage brains are growing and working extra hard, it's important to hit this carbohydrate level.
A healthy diet for teenagers typically requires carbohydrates to make up 45-65% of their total daily caloric intake.
For example, a teenager eating 2,000 calories a day needs 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates per day. That would be 7 cups of pasta, or 20 Oreos, or 5 cups of rice (or a combination of these!).
Foods containing carbohydrates
Although carbohydrates are found in dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, the main source of carbohydrates should be grain foods. These are the most easily accessible foods and provide a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. These foods should make up the majority of children and adolescents' diets.
Best bread for kids
White bread is generally easier for children to eat and enjoy. They are a great source of carbohydrates. They provide energy and are rich in vitamins and minerals that are removed during processing. Additionally, this form often allows children and teenagers to eat protein (e.g., as a sandwich filling) that they would not eat if offered in a different type of bread.
Whole grains vs. multiple grains – Whole grains mean that all parts of the grain are used, including the fibrous outer shell and the inner parts that are rich in vitamins and fats. Multigrain, although it sounds similar, is a combination of multiple grains that may or may not be "complete." Many breads rely on seeds or fruits to add more ingredients beyond various grains.
Sourdough Bread – As a fermented food, sourdough bread may be easier to digest and break down more slowly than non-leavened bread, thus slowing digestion and thus the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Sourdough has a unique flavor and texture that teens may or may not like.
There is no benefit in choosing bread that is slightly better for your health and not eating it! So offer your child a type of bread that they like to eat and gradually introduce them to other breads over time.
Bread comes in many shapes. Changing up the look, such as using a bagel, pita, or wrap instead of bread, can introduce variety to children in a very approachable way.
There are many ways to incorporate grains into your teen's diet. Serve as a dinner side, add to soups or stews, make into porridge, or bake into breads, cakes, muffins, and more. Whole grains provide more fiber than non-whole grains. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat only whole grains. Carbohydrates should be tasty, satisfying, and enjoyable.
Rice – White rice is a grain! It tastes great, provides energy, and for many people connects them to their culture.
Oats – Oats come in many styles, including quick-cooking oats, steel-cut oats, and instant oats. They are cooked for different times, which has little effect on their nutritional value. However, they are both sources of soluble fiber, which helps increase feelings of fullness and provides health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and aiding regular living. Choose your favorite option! The advantage of instant oatmeal is that it's quick to prepare and mess-free, and when combined with protein- or fat-containing foods like peanut butter, milk, or yogurt, it's a satisfying and filling carbohydrate-rich treat. Meal or snack.
Processed foods and convenience goods
We want to avoid limiting access to needed food, creating a feeling of being restricted and often leading to problematic behavior.
Cereal – This is a super convenient meal or snack that provides carbohydrates and protein when eaten with milk. Sweet cereal is also an effective way to consume carbohydrates and can definitely be part of a teen's diet plan.
Waffles – Easy to prepare and eat, and a delicious source of carbohydrates. Plus, because they're stored in the refrigerator, you don't have to worry about them going bad for a long time, so you can store them for easy continued use.
Pizza - delicious, easy to prepare, provides carbohydrates, protein and fat for a filling and nutritious meal or snack. While many children and teens prefer plain pizza, it's a tool to introduce them to vegetables. (like ingredients, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and green olives).
Cookies, candies and sweets
Foods that provide minimal nutrition, such as cookies, candies, ice cream, etc., are important carbohydrate categories to stock up on.