Pediatrician Speaks on What Kids Should Eat! (with Dr. Elisa Song) (HPC: E52)

Remember the brilliant Dr. Elisa Song? We last talked about poo with her and today we get to hear about what kids should eat.

Um, yes, that’s going backward on the digestive system but bear with us. 😉

We all know that most pediatricians get about 2 hours of nutrition training, which means some of them give food advice and probably shouldn’t and most don’t bother with food at all.

But FOOD is the ROOT CAUSE of so much of what ails our kids!

Dr. Song goes above and beyond normal MD training with all her holistic background and she’s 150% qualified to tell us a little about our kids’ diets.

Today we’ll talk about:

  • What has changed in the “kid food” scene in the last 50 years
  • What is the worst “food” kids are eating these days
  • How food additives can affect behavior
  • What kids should be eating to fuel their bodies
  • Practical tips for how we as parents can feed our kids well (and teach them to make healthy choices for themselves!)

Don’t you just love Dr. Song? She’s about the only reason I’d ever consider moving to California, just so that she could be our kids’ doctor. I’m so honored to share her wisdom with you today!!!

What Kids Should Eat Video Time Stamps

  • 0:12: Dr. Song is a holistic pediatrician. That means she can do everything a regular pediatrician can do, but she balances traditional treatments with a functional medicine approach.
  • 1:32: We’re going to talk about the good, bad and ugly about what kids are eating in America these days.

What’s so Bad About What Kids Eat Anyway?

  • 1:45: Dr. Song explains some of the ways that kids’ diets have changed over the last couple generations, and why we need to talk about what kids are eating.
  • 2:46: In the last 50 years or so we’ve seen the introduction of microwaves, TV dinners, packaged food and infant formula. These “advances” were seen as freedom for the modern mother. However, we’ve seen an alarming rise in rates of childhood disease along with the prevalence of these dietary changes.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Snacks Kids can Make


  • 4:20: Along with the processed foods came food additives. We know food additives are linked to gut dysregulation and autoimmune diseases.

Processed foods have changed the way our brains, guts and immune systems work. -Dr. Elisa Song

  • 5:31: Glyphosate and GMOs are another problem that has entered our food supply recently. GMOs are created to be glyphosate resistant so they can be sprayed with more pesticides. Glyphosate was first patented as an antibiotic, so consuming foods that contain it can kill your good gut bacteria.
  • 6:58: It all sounds very daunting, but there is a lot of good we can focus on. If you have the knowledge, you can make better choices. You can look at ingredients on packaged food and choose foods that have fewer (or no) additives.

If we need convenience in our lives, we can have convenience, but have it be healthy convenience. -Dr. Elisa Song

The Sugar Crisis and Kids

  • 8:26: Dr. Song shares what she thinks is the worst food that kids are eating. You can probably guess her answer! Estimates are that if we don’t make changes, by 2025 80% of kids will have a chronic diagnosis.
  • 10:05: Fruit is great, but if your kid is eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, it should be mostly vegetables. Feeding pouches and applesauce is convenient, but so high in sugar without as much fiber as the whole fruit.
  • 11:48: When they determine the scale of where foods fall on the glycemic index they’re measured against a teaspoon of white sugar, or a slice of white bread. They cause the same rise in blood sugar! 😮
  • 12:14: Sugar affects the brain when blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day. Getting healthy fats and proteins in every meal or snack will keep your kids off this sugar roller coaster.
  • 14:21: A study was done with elementary school kids and they found that kids had much better focused attention throughout the day if they had a breakfast containing fat and protein.

We really want to focus on making breakfast nutrient dense. -Dr. Elisa Song

  • 15:07: Teachers would be doing themselves a huge favor if they didn’t give out sugary rewards and snacks at lunchtime.

Behavior and Artificial “Foods”

  • 16:28: The other food category to look at if your child is having any issues with behavior, attention, anxiety, depression, sleep, sensory processing, etc. is artificial food colors, preservatives and flavors. There are studies going back to the 1970s showing that kids can be really sensitive to these additives.

We do our best as parents but we just need that knowledge and information. -Dr. Elisa Song

  • 18:16: The European Union has required a warning on foods with artificial dyes or preservatives that the food might contribute to attention or behavioral problems in kids. We don’t have those types of warnings in the US. Food manufacturers make separate versions of the same foods for the US and EU.

How Can we Improve Our Kids’ Diets?

  • 19:57: Start by reading labels and choose a few ingredients to avoid. As you get used to cooking and eating more real food continue cutting artificial “foods” out of your diets. You don’t have to be perfect from day one! It’s a process of learning!

We want to look at cooking and eating real food as something we’re doing because it’s so amazing for us. It makes us feel great! It’s not a chore or drudgery. -Dr. Elisa Song

  • 20:55: It’s important to involve your kids in the preparation, decisions and excitement of eating real food. We want to do this because it fuels our bodies and makes us smarter, stronger and faster.
  • 22:19: Phytonutrients are vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that we want to get in our kids’ diets. A rainbow of vegetables ensures a range of phytonutrients. Elisa shares a tip for making smoothies appealing to kids.
  • 24:00: Bone broth is cheap to make and can be stored for a long time in the freezer. It contains so many healing elements.
  • 24:24: Omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in wild caught fish. If you don’t eat fish in your family there are supplements you can take.

Get Your Kids in the Kitchen with a Free Lesson

  • 24:42: Many kids are deficient in zinc which is essential for immune function and skin health. If you have a child with any sensory issues, try to incorporate more zinc in their diet. Pumpkin seeds are super high in zinc. You can grind them up and add them to smoothies or pancakes to make them easier to get in.
  • 25:38: If you aren’t allergic or sensitive, eggs are the perfect food. They’re great for brain development.

Try to get in as much as you can through foods and then supplement if needed. – Dr. Elisa Song

  • 26:16: It’s really difficult to get in a wide enough variety of vegetables throughout the day if you don’t start until lunch or dinner. Vegetables can be part of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks! Start getting vegetables in at breakfast one day a week and work up from there.
  • 27:38: Elisa ends with some practical strategies to get real food on the table for your family. Have a plan, prep on the weekends, keep the junk out of the house, and have the good stuff easily accessible to set yourself up for success. If you need encouragement, listen to this part!

The time you invest in teaching your kids to cook will pay off immensely. -Dr. Elisa Song

Resources We Mention About Feeding Kids

What Should Kids Eat?

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