Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yes, I am going to write about peanut butter. Again.

For those of you who don't already know, I love peanut butter. Like, a lot. Because my son can't have it at school, I make sure to give him a pb&j at least once a weekend. In addition to peanut butter being crazy yummy, I love that I can use the Omega 3 variety of peanut butter to help him reach his Omega 3 daily requirements.

Image by Shawn Carpenter
What's Omega 3? Let's pause this post for a quick & dirty science lesson.There are 3 types of Omega 3 fatty acids: 
1. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
2. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
3. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

These fatty acids are important for brain, nerve and eye development in infants. And in children and adults these fatty acids are helpful with protection against heart disease, reducing symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia, joint pain, other rheumatoid problems and they can boost immunity. 

But after reading this new study in Maternal and Child Nutrition, I realize that he still may not be getting enough Omega 3. The study says that children between the ages of 1 and 8 are consuming less than 93 mg of DHA daily, which is well below the recommended 250-500 mg of EPA + DHA for children. 

So, how do we fix this? Well, at home we only serve him an organic milk that has DHA added to it (which, looking at that list of health benefits up there, I should probably be drinking, too.) But, I need to start including more foods that have these fatty acids naturally, such as certain fish, walnuts, flax seeds and dark leafy greens.

Some of the items on that list might be a problem with a picky eater, so I may need to find more recipes that incorporate them in a way he will eat. Sounds like I have more work to do in my 100 challenge.

What about you? Do you think your family gets enough Omega 3? Were you even aware of all its benefits?


  1. My son doesn't eat near as much PB as his Daddy does, but I am glad you are highlighting that these fats are so important! We add walnuts to our morning oatmeal, which also has a lot of omega-3 (I think) and he also has a glass of organic (DHA added) milk with every meal.

    1. The family that eats peanut butter together, stays together! I like the addition of walnuts to breakfast - such an easy way to add DHA (and it's yummy!) Thanks!

  2. Lauren, it's really difficult to get kids to eat walnuts or flax seeds for Omega 3. Walnut has a bitter after-taste and thus is not exactly popular with kids. Mine spits it out even if I secretly add a small piece in her daily dose of dry fruits and nuts. Flax seeds, I don't even want to get started. But recently what I did was, dry roasted flax seeds and then ground it in a mixer. The coarse powder is easy and tasty to eat and can be added to milk/food.