Fats help to slow the digestion process, keeping your kid's blood sugar balanced and feeling fuller for longer. If you're kids eat animal protein, they are already getting phenomenal animal-derived fats that provide fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. I talk about the importance of these vitamins in my kid's nutrition course online. Whether you are serving animal protein or not, adding a fat component to your meal not only helps with satiety but it is an easy way to add flavor and fun to a meal. One of my favorite ways to add healthy fats to my kid's lunchbox is using dips, dressings, and healthy oils such as olive, avocado, and coconut oil.
Five of My Favorite Dips that are Filled with Healthy Fats:
- Guacamole: For dipping veggies, meat, burritos, or grain-free tortilla chips in. Whole Foods 365 single serving guacamole are a great addition to pair with my grain-free California burrito lunch box. Avocados are rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in fiber to keep kids fuller for longer and improve digestion.
- Tahini or Hummus: Buy it made or try out my home-made Garlic Tahini recipe that you can add to a lunch box, paired with grain-free crackers or veggies. Tahini is high in fiber, protein, copper, phosphorus, and selenium, providing antioxidants and heart-healthy fats for your kids. If you are buying store-bought, opt for ones with minimal ingredients and without inflammatory oils such as safflower, sunflower, or canola oil.
- Seed or Nut butters: Wild Friends offers a variety of nut and seed butters with minimal ingredients. For nut-free schools, sunflower or pumpkin seed butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and magnesium. I like to pair nut and seed butters with fresh fruit to slow the digestion process of carbohydrates and limit glucose spikes.
- Black or Pinto Bean dip: Beans are an excellent source of plant protein protein, fat and fiber for kids who have a hard time with eating animal protein. Bean dips can also be served with chicken, in a burrito, with peppers, or Siete Foods grain-free chips.
- Avocado Oil Based Dressings: Mayo, ranch dressing, vinaigrettes, Ceasar, or any oil based dressing can be used as the fat source to dip protein or veggies in. They are a great way to add flavor to your kid's plate while increasing the fat content. Primal Kitchen Foods is my favorite because they don't add sugar and offer a wide range of condiments made with avocado oil. Primal Kitchen Foods also has dairy-free ranch and queso dips for kids who can't tolerate dairy.
I always like to put a fun dip that is rich in fats in my kid's lunch box to not only help increase the likelihood of them eating their protein and vegetables, but it also offers up more fiber and protein content to their plate.Other sources of fat:
- Green, Black, or Kalamata Olives - a phenomenal fat and fiber source. We love Thrive Market olive packs for school snacks!
- If your kids eat capers, those are loaded with polyphenols and are an excellent source of fat.
- Mild Cheddar Cheese sticks, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese can also be used as the fat source, and add extra protein to a meal.
I'll normally serve up the protein and fat, and then get Bash involved with the fiber and greens! That’s up next.