Add fat - the healthy kind - to kids' food, expert advises

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
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"Smart Fat" author Dr. Jonny Bowden advocates using better types of fat to improve children's diet.

WOODLAND HILLS (KABC) -- Like American adults, many kids have a weight problem. Which is why Dr. Jonny Bowden wants to feed them fat. But not just any fat of course.

"We need an oil change is what we really need. We need to take out some of the bad fats, some of the corn oils some of the safflower oils and canola oil - which is a highly processed oil that I wouldn't even have in my kitchen. We need to replace it with things like coconut oil, Malaysian palm oil, avocado oil," said Bowden.

The author of "Smart Fat," Bowden thinks we should cut back on these omega-6 oils because we eat too much of them in our highly-processed diet. Instead, replace them with fats with function like omega-3s.

"With omega-3s, we know that they help with vision, they help with the tension, that every study that's ever been done on attention deficit disorder always shows low omega-3s. So we need to get them on omega-3s and off omega-6s," said Bowden.

So let's get cooking.

Instead of chicken nuggets, dip chicken in palm oil, roll in crushed almonds and bake. Serve with sliced sweet potatoes roasted in the same oil with a cinnamon sprinkle.

Make "no-bake" cookies with oats, honey, nut butter, coconut flakes and cocoa powder.

For lunch, try tuna salad with avocado, celery and avocado oil, and riced cauliflower with palm oil and seasonings.

And while this might sound scary, it's tasty: A yogurt granola parfait with an omega-3-fat orange-swirl topping.

Dietitian Rachel Beller points out these fats help absorb nutrients from produce.

"Adding fat to kids' meals is not a bad idea. It's going to keep them full longer and maybe keep them away from overly processed snack foods," said Beller.

Bowden is also a fan of saturated fat by way of coconut oil, grass-fed beef and butter.

The American Heart Association still wants to limit saturated fat because it raises cholesterol, but Bowden maintains that recent studies show there's no significant association between saturated fat and heart disease.

"They're living in the past with old research. We've known for at least a decade that cholesterol does not cause heart disease," Bowden said.

Both experts are a fan of good fats, but caution there will be no health benefits to adding "good" fat to a highly-processed diet.

If you'd like to try Dr. Jonny Bowden's "Smart Fat" recipes:

Avocado Tuna Salad


1 5-ounce can tuna, drained

1/2 ripe avocado, roughly chopped

1/2 cup minced celery

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix with a fork, mashing the avocado and breaking up the chunks of tuna as you go, until the ingredients are well combined.

Cocoa-nut Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies


Cup coconut oil, well softened (we recommend Barlean's brand)

Cup natural unsalted peanut butter, smooth or crunchy

1/3- cup raw honey, to taste

cup dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Teaspoon sea salt

1 cup coconut flakes

1 cup whole rolled oats

Instructions: Combine the coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt in the bowl of a mixer and beat until well combined and smooth.

Add the coconut and oats and beat until everything is incorporated and forms a loose "dough".

Using a tablespoon, drop generous dollops (about 1.5-inch rounds) of the dough into a glass storage container (or wax paper-lined plastic container). Cover the container and chill in the freezer for thirty minutes or in the fridge for one hour to solidify before serving. The cookies may leave a little oily residue while still wet, but this will harden when they are chilled.

Healthy Chicken Nuggets and "fries"

Chicken Nuggets

1 lb. Organic Free range chicken breast, skinless

1/4 cup Malaysian palm oil

3/4 cups of nuts, almonds recommended

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon chef-blend spices

Instructions: Cut chicken into small chunks, nugget-like in size. In a food processor, chop almonds, salt, pepper and spices until finely ground. Coat chicken stripes in Malaysian palm oil then coat stripes in nut mixture. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes on 400 degrees. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.


3 large sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon Malaysian palm oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Instructions: Cut sweet potatoes into thin disks, about a quarter-inch in thickness. Coat with oil and spices, mix well. Place on baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Serve with favorite dipping sauce.

Flax Butter

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

About 1/4 cup coconut oil

Salt (optional)

Sweetener such as honey, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup (optional)

Instructions: Working in batches, toast pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning and remove from heat when fragrant. Combine cooled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and ground flaxseed in a food processor and process for a minute. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil. Continue processing until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. You may need to occasionally turn off the food processor and scrape it down with a spatula.

Taste and add salt and/or sweetener, if desired. (Add just a small amount at a time and taste frequently.) If mixture is too dry, continue to add a little more oil, processing until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Yogurt Parfait

1 cup whole fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup granola

1 tablespoon Barlean's Omega Swirl Fish Oil - mango or key lime flavor

Instructions: Layer yogurt, granola, berries then drizzle swirl on top. Enjoy.