There's no supplement that can replace a good nutrient foundation through their diet. -Jess Donovan

79: Finding Nutrient Balance for Kids and Busy Families with Jess Donovan, Naturopath

Want to hear from a naturopath from down under?

Jess Donovan, with her lovely Aussie accent, shares all sorts of goodness with us today on the Healthy Parenting Connector, like:

  • favorite immunity-boosting foods to recommend to busy families
  • the best way to get probiotics integrated into your family
  • common nutrient deficiencies in kids (and what you can do to seek the best balance)
  • food allergy management, whether the allergy is IN your family or just around you
  • how mom’s health may be related to her kids’

And so much more!

Jess is also hosting an online masterclass on Gut health on March 3rd where you’ll discover 3 PROVEN ways to TRANSFORM your Kids GUT HEALTH to improve their behavior, fussy eating, immunity, and allergies. Grab your FREE spot here.

Can’t see the video? Click to watch “Finding Nutrient Balance for Kids” on YouTube.

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Nutrient Balance Video Time Stamps

  • 0:05: Today I have Jess Donovan with me on the Healthy Parenting Connector. She’s joining me from Australia! Jess is a naturopath and mom to 2 who founded the Natural Super Kids Klub.

No matter what life throws at our kids, we need them to be resilient.

This free download will give you some practical and actionable steps to improve brain health and resilience.


  • 1:24: Jess went on a 13 month RV trip with her family. She tells us a bit about where they went.
  • 2:26: While they were traveling Jess had to work around some challenges to eating healthy. They went to some remote locations without ready access to fresh produce and she didn’t have an oven.
  •  4:01: Jess shares some of the things she observed in her kids during their trip.

Foods that Boost Immunity in Kids

  • 5:11: Two big health worries parents have are too much sugar and germs. They actually play into each other since too much sugar decreases immunity.

It’s like pouring water in a bucket full of holes if you’re giving immune-boosting supplements while your diet and lifestyle suppress immunity.  -Jess Donovan

  • 6:18: Focus on foods high in antioxidants to boost immunity. Lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. Cooking depletes the antioxidant levels so be sure you provide some raw options as well.
  • 7:17: Fermented foods are also good for immune function. You don’t need a lot. Start with a bite of sauerkraut on something else your child likes. Coconut water kefir is very child-friendly.

Getting lots of color on the plate is great for kids' immunity. -Jess Donovan

  • 8:33: Truly fermented foods can be hard to find. Canned sauerkraut is not fermented and alive with probiotics. Living probiotic foods will be in the refrigerator section.
  • 9:07: If you can’t find fermented foods taking a probiotic supplement is a good way to get in probiotics as well and you can make many fermented foods at home fairly easily. See below for some fermented recipes.

Paleovalley Meat Sticks

It can be hard to find healthy snacks that you can take with you on the go. When I want the convenience of a jerky stick, but want a healthy, protein-packed snack option, I grab Paleovalley meat sticks. Paleovalley ingredients have these high standards that you can feel good about:

100% grass fed beef sticks, pasture raised beef sticks

  • 100% Grass-Fed Beef & 100% Pasture-Raised Turkey
  • Never given antibiotics or hormones
  • Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free
  • 0 grams of sugar*
  • Contains no artificial nitrates or nitrites
  • Non-GMO
  • Naturally fermented and contain gut-friendly probiotics!

*With the exception of Teriyaki, which contains 2 grams of sugar from Organic Honey.

These beef sticks and turkey sticks taste delicious! My favorite is the Jalapeño but my kids love Summer Sausage.

Use this link to get 15% off your order at Paleovalley. Read my Paleovalley Review to learn more!

Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Kids

  • 11:02: Jess has a quiz to help you narrow down what area of health your child needs to focus on. I had one of my kids take it and nutrient intake came up. We talk about common nutrient deficiencies in kids. Omega 3s, iron, iodine and zinc are the most common deficiencies Jess sees in the kids she works with.

There's no supplement that can replace a good nutrient foundation through their diet. -Jess Donovan

  • 12:49: Focusing on whole real foods is the best way to prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Anything that comes out of a package is going to be nutrient depleted. Food that comes straight from nature is going to be more nutrient-dense. -Jess Donovan

  • 13:18: The types of grains kids eat can affect their nutrient status as well. Switching from refined grains to whole grains will help add nutrition and get them used to different tastes.
  • 14:04: Animal products can be very nutrient-dense if you choose the right ones. Red meat and seafood contain the nutrients that Jess commonly sees as deficiencies. Chicken is versatile and many families focus on that, but it’s not as nutrient-dense.
  • 15:32: It’s good to get professional help before blindly supplementing your kids. Even if you don’t have testing done, at least have someone look over the child’s diet to see where the gaps may be. That said, the majority of the kids Jess sees are on a multivitamin and omega 3 supplements.
  • 16:49: Jess gives a super handy visual to know how large a serving of meat is.

Three-quarters of your plate should be veggies. -Jess Donovan

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

  • 17:38: Allergies are on the rise in the younger generation. Many times the allergies and sensitivities point back to poor gut health.

Allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are all symptoms of something deeper. -Jess Donovan

  • 18:36: Jess goes through some symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities.

Microbiome diversity is one of the most protective things against allergies. -Jess Donovan

  • 19:54: It can be really tricky when you’re bringing food to shared events and trying to be considerate of others with allergies. A fruit or veggies plate is often a safe choice.

Epigenetics and Generational Health

  • 21:22: We go into some research showing the generational impacts of health. Epigenetics is how genes express themselves. This is so fascinating!

If we have a healthy diet and a clean lifestyle that's going to benefit future generations. -Jess Donovan

  • 23:40: All this information can easily lead to guilt if we weren’t living a healthy lifestyle in the past, or we can use it to make better decisions in the future and nourish our kids well.

Connecting with Kids in the Kitchen

  • 25:32: Of course we talk about the benefits of kids learning to cook! 😉
  • 27:37: So many kids aren’t connected with their food. I’ve heard of kids who have no idea what animal different meats come from or can’t identify a carrot unless it’s a baby carrot.
  • 29:11: The kitchen is a great place to connect with your kids as well.
  • 29:34: Jess shares the top thing she wants you to focus on after listening to this!

Resources We Mention for Balancing Nutrition

I’m an affiliate for Jess’s site, but that doesn’t change your price!
Jess DonovanJess is a Naturopath and mom of 2 kids who founded the Natural Super Kids Klub and is Australia’s resource for transforming children’s health in ways that are easy for parents to understand and implement. She believes children are not simply smaller versions of adults but have unique biochemical needs, require good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits to support their rapid growth ensure that they lay down essential foundations for a long and healthy life. She is all about backpacking, travel and being out in nature and against mama guilt – so she’ll celebrate each step with you as you try to help your child thrive!

Balanced Nutrition for Kids

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

Katie Kimball

I interview experts about kids’ health every week – stay in the loop with a quick Saturday morning email:



2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids

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3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:

Enroll now in the Wall Street Journal’s #1 recommended online cooking class for kids (also rated 5 stars on Facebook). See what fits your family best HERE.

About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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