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Healthy Kids in School

By October 2, 2012December 3rd, 2020Baby and Kids, Breakfast, Desserts, Vegetarian


“We put our 10 year old son on your diet plan in November, with the hope that it would help his ADHD symptoms. We do not use medication and did not want to, but his gluten free diet was not enough. In December, his teacher remarked that he seemed more focused in class, especially after snack time, which used to be marked with bursts of energy and lack of self control. Although the diet takes more planning (on my part) and required him to try new foods, my son said he felt better. Well, last night he got his report card. His grades went up in every subject. His change is remarkable. Thank you.” – Stacy

Click HERE to get started on a happy and healthy family!



It is Monday morning and the whole family is running late. The bus is about to pick up the kids and they haven’t eaten anything yet. So you pour them a glass of no-sugar added, “all natural” grape juice and toss a Pop-Tart their way. But they made it onto the bus and no one was late, WHEW! Thank goodness for pre-packaged “food.”

No time for breakfast meant no time to pack their lunch either, so your children ate school lunch that day; chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, a bun, fruit cocktail and chocolate milk. After school programs and sports keep your kids at school until 4:30, so they grab a granola bar and Gatorade from their backpack to keep their energy up. Once all of the activities are over, mom is tired from driving all over the place and picking up the kids so she throws in frozen pizza with a side of garlic bread with some skim milk. Then a bowl of Lucky Charms for a bed-time snack (they are made with “Whole Grains” now). Does that sound like you?

Tuesday was a better day. Everyone had time for breakfast so the kids had Honey Nut Cheerios (10 tsp sugar), Skim milk (3 tsp sugar) and a banana sliced on top (6 tsp sugar). You packed a lunch of Lunch-ables turkey and cheddar sub (14.75 tsp sugar), Goldfish crackers (4.75 tsp sugar) and a juice box (6.75 tsp sugar). The after school snack was yogurt covered raisins (5 tsp sugar) and Gatorade (3.5 tsp sugar). You had time to make dinner so you made spaghetti (10.75 tsp sugar) with a side of garlic bread (5.5 tsp sugar), salad with fat-free French dressing (2.25 tsp sugar) and skim milk (3 tsp sugar) for dinner…oh, and fat-free frozen yogurt (5 tsp sugar) for dessert! You think you did better today…but did you? That comes to a total of 80.25 teaspoons of sugar in the blood for the day (4g effective carbs equals 1 tsp of sugar in the blood).  Do you know what a normal blood sugar level is? 1 cup? 2 cups? NO, 1 TEASPOON of sugar is a normal blood sugar! For adults, children, teens and babies. Blood sugar increases insulin and insulin is TOXIC to our bodies and cells. I feel terrible for the kids diagnosed with ADD and ADHD… maybe it is just too much sugar.

Dr. Stephen Sondike, Program Director for NEW (Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management) Kids Program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, disagrees with the assertion that low-carb diets make kids sluggish. He says the opposite is true. “Kids get tired when they eat a breakfast high in carbohydrates and their blood sugar drops at around 10:00 am.” Sondike says that a breakfast consisting of a bagel and a glass of orange juice—both high-carb items—causes a temporary spike in blood sugar for a high-energy early morning, but results in a mid-morning “crash” that leaves bodies listless and craving sugar. “When you eat more sugar, your body makes less sugar, so you need more sugar,” Sondike explains. “The candy and coke makers love it when people eat high-carb breakfasts because they need that fix around 10:00 am when their sugar drops.” We need to start healing our body with food so adult diseases don’t happen. We are too accepting to put a “Band-Aid” on our issues once the problem has already happened. We need to fix the source of the problems.

Insulin and its counterbalancing hormone, glucagon, are in charge of controlling metabolism. The word insulin may immediately call up an association with diabetes, and this is totally valid. Controlling blood sugar is insulin’s most important job. Many people with heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure in their families have inherited a tendency for their insulin sensors on the cells to malfunction by years of high sugar and starch consumption. As these sensors become tired, insulin resistance develops. Since it’s essential to get the sugar out of the blood and into the cells, the pancreas overcompensates by making more and more insulin to force the tired sensors to work. This starts a detrimental cycle of needing ever more insulin to keep the process going. If we start our children on a diet of high starch, they become so resistant to insulin that the amount necessary to make the sensors respond and clear the sugar from the blood is more than their pancreas can make; they becomes diabetic.

Excess insulin causes a variety of other detrimental problems; it increases the production of cholesterol in the liver; thickens the walls of the arteries, causing high blood pressure; the kidneys retain salt and fluid; and it tells our fat cells to store excess starch and sugar.

Insulin’s actions are countered by glucagon. Glucagon alerts the liver to slow down triglyceride and cholesterol production, for the kidneys to release excess salt and fluid, to the artery wall to relax and lower blood pressure, and to the fat cells to release stored fat to be burned for energy. But, insulin is a stronger hormone and when it is high, it suppresses glucagon’s actions. After a childhood of sugar and starch consumption, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance happens. This is why what we feed our children is so important.

What we eat controls the production of these hormones. In my recipes, you will be able to stimulate glucagon by keeping insulin low, which will allow the metabolism to heal and the malfunctioning sensors to regain sensitivity. Once this healing occurs, the metabolic disturbances that elevated insulin has caused will improve or disappear; cholesterol and triglycerides return to normal, blood pressure returns to normal, blood sugar stabilizes and you can achieve a normal body weight.  There’s no need to spend huge amounts of money on medications to put a “band-aid” over these problems. I have seen it time and time again; nutrition is key to a healthy body. You can pay the doctor or you can pay the farmer.

Sure, it takes time planning and preparing meals, but we all make priorities with our time… When your kids attitude and grades improve (as well as YOU lose weight, feel great and look amazing), you will never regret the time you put into it!



1. “Healthified” Cereal or Granola: If you use coconut oil, no refrigeration is needed so this is perfect for those days you are running late. Just place in a Tupperware and the kids can munch on it on the way to school. (0.5 to 0.6 tsp sugar)

2. “Healthified” Shake: This can be made the night before and frozen. Take it out right away in the morning, as it thaws, it reminds us as an ice cream treat! (1.8 tsp sugar)

3. “Healthified” Waffles: Instead of buying Eggo Waffles, make a triple batch of my waffles and store in the freezer. All you have to do is pop them in the toaster and top with my homemade syrup or Nature’s Hollow Syrup. (0.5 tsp sugar)

4. “Healthified” Muffins: I make a variety of muffins (the Chocolate Muffin is a favorite) and store in the freezer for easy breakfasts and snacks. (0.5 tsp sugar)

5. “Healthified” Pizza Quiche: Top with marina and it is pizza for breakfast! (0.5 tsp sugar)



1. “Healthified” Tortilla Wraps: Use to make Sunflower butter (or peanut if allowed) and berry sushi (recipe in KIDS cookbook). (0.65 tsp sugar)

2. “Healthified” Granola or NutriGrain Less Bars: No refrigeration required if made with coconut oil (0.5 to 0.6 tsp sugar)

3. Thousand Hill Farms or Applegate Farms grass-fed Hot Dogs or Beef Sticks (0 tsp sugar)

4. “Healthified” Fruit Roll Ups (1 tsp sugar)

5. “Healthified Cake Pops




1. “Healthified” Oreos (0 tsp sugar)

2. “Healthified” Cupcakes  (0.5 tsp sugar)

3. “Healthified” Shortake Pops or Orange Creamsicle Pops (0.6 tsp sugar)

4. Cute Deviled Eggs (see photo)  (0 tsp sugar)

5. Quest Protein Bars: I have to throw out something store bought for people who don’t like to bake! lol. You can also click HERE for crackers and cookies that are pre-made and gluten free and no sugar.

So many ideas like this can be found in my cookbook: The Art of Eating Healthy: Kids. 




Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • France says:

    ooh what a fantastic post!! I need all those ideas as I slowly convert my family 🙂
    Your photos are gorgeous, and it all looks so yummy!

  • Anonymous says:

    What can I do about being allergic to coconut and nuts? I would love to use the coconut flour etc., but can’t help!

  • Jana Czahor says:

    Maria….on my way to a “healthified” lifestyle. Thank you for making it easier!

  • erica white says:

    Thankyou for your great ideas! I have the Nutritious and Delicious cookbook and just ordered the kids cookbook, can’t wait to get my kids healthier! As a full time working mom, student, wife, and mother to three, do you have any advice for how to prioritize? I want to feed my family healthy, but it’s hard to find the time, any advice would be awesome! Also, in the cookbook I have you recommend truvia, but I notice that you no longer recommend it, why is that? I have an allergy to sulfites and am very sensitive to any chemicals, what sweetener do you find to be the best? I just ordered Just Like Sugar, is this the least chemical? Thankyou for leading a healthified lifestyle!

  • Maria,fortunately I will have the chance to buy one of your books this coming Friday to start the journey to a healthier life style. I thought we were eating healthy but what I have discovered with you will change our lives in 180 degrees. I hope little by little gather all your books. My only concern is I don’t see much fruit in your recipes and I think fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals… Just guide me If I can find more about it in your blog. Thanks

    • Fruits are also packed with sugar and fructose. Here is a post with some facts on fructose. Also, much of the “Packed with vitamins and minerals” is marketing from the companies that want you to buy more fruit juices. For example, oranges are touted for their vitamin C content. Well, green chili peppers, red bell peppers, parsley, kale, broccoli, etc are all higher in vitamin C per gram all without the added fructose. There is more potassium in 1 teaspoon of Parsley than in a one small banana. 🙂 http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/2011/05/rhubarb-crisp-and-fructose-facts.html

  • Trina says:

    Hi Maria, I’ve been sugar free/grain free since early this year. I’ve lost 40 pounds and discovered numerous health benefits I didn’t even know would happen. My two boys (9 and 6) have always been fairly “healthy” eaters (limited sugar) but now that I’m aware that “healthy whole grains” are not so healthy, I’m trying to get them off of wheat. I’m finding it such a struggle. One doesn’t like eggs (he will eat them if forced as long as they come with cheese and meat). Our school is not only peanut free but tree nut free as well so that rules out any of my almond flour items they like. I feel like I only have a few things to feed them and they are going to get bored. I plan to get your new cookbook for kids … any other advice?? Thanks!

  • Maria, I have some Jay Robb egg protein powder and really do not care for it at all in shake form–I am fine with the whey, however. Local health food store will not take it back. Can I use it interchangeably in your baking recipes that call for the whey powder? Thanks1 Clarissa

  • Jude says:

    I love this post. Well, I love all your posts, but this one speaks to me now. My boys just started 5k all-day and it’s been really hard losing my control over their food. They are so healthy when we are home listening to our bodies and having sugar/fructose free meals. But the school is nuts. They have ‘breakfast’ 1/2 hour after they get there, then another snack at 10, then lunch in the cafeteria at noon. They give them Pop Tarts and Fruit Loops, then graham crackers then chocolate milk then, well you know what’s in the lunch menus. Thankfully my boys have peanut allergy and gluten intolerance so I send all their food, but I get stumped as to how to keep it sane. And the boys sit and force feed themselves 3X/day whether hungry or not. Gah. I just ordered some stuff off your site this week. Whey protein, save me! 😉

  • Stacy says:

    I had a question … we are slowly converting to grain free sugar free for a myriad of reasons. But the one thing that I have trouble with, for my kids, is vitamins. All kids’ vitamins seem to be loaded with sugar.

    I suppose if you eat right, you do not need a vitamin as a kid, but my oldest has ADHD and low muscle tone. How do you get vitamins into your kids, especially vitamin D/magnesium? Maybe I should do a consult for him?

  • Anonymous says:

    Where did the spinach artichoke tart recipe go? I was at work when it popped up and when I went to look again later it was no longer there.

  • Nancy says:

    Can you adopt me please? I promise to pick up my room if you just feed me that wonderful food. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lola says:

    Hi Maria,

    I would like to know what is pictured in the third photo first from left in the second row (under Oreos). It looks yummy! Is there a recipe?

  • ashley mae says:

    can you state why you go for QUEST Bars?
    Is there any other protein bars you recommend? Thnak you in advance! I love protein bars, call me weird but I love their taste and weird textures. lol

    • I like them because they use non-Soy proteins, no junk ingredients and natural sweeteners like Stevia (a couple flavors use sucralose so I avoid those).

      • Kristin says:

        The Questbars are awful for my diabetic kids. They state that they are “low carb” but there is no way that is accurate with the way their numbers go. I think they are in a lawsuit for false advertising (at least that is what the guy working at GNC said). I would say the Kind bars are better based on my experience.

        • cemmerich says:

          Yes, I have seen that with people who have metabolic syndrome or are diabetic. This is a good emergency thing for people that aren’t but otherwise, I don’t recommend quest bars. I would just fast if I was in a pinch. 🙂

  • ashley mae says:

    Have you heard of NUGOBARS? would you reccomend them or no?
    also what about the think thin bars?
    i am trying to buy some good for me protein bars becasue I love them so much especially when I am on the run and its all I can grab

  • ashley mae says:

    i AM TRYING to get Dr. johns sugar free xylitol salt watter taffy and chocolatew caramels and apple caramels..pretty much I am trying to stock up. LOL. But whats up with the artivifical flavors?

  • Luz says:

    Hi I’m sorry but is there a recipe for the NutriGrain Less bars? I’m trying to have something like this on hand for my son when we are on the go. I have your Kids cookbook but it’s not in there 🙂

  • Luz says:

    Yay thank you so much!

  • Saundra says:

    I have been sugar free for many years and then grain free for the past couple of years. Allergies and autoimmune diseases have been the reason for this. I’ve been so glad to have found your blog a few months ago!! I have the hardest time with meal planning. I always put it on the back burner instead of being better organized. Do you share meal plans for the week/month somewhere that I might have missed? I see weekly meal plans on some other blogs out there,however they usually include foods & ingredients I don’t eat.

  • Sunflower says:

    Hi Maria! I just bought this book and it looks great! I was especially looking forward to the nutrigrain bar recipe… but I can’t seem to find it anywhere in the book! I purchased the “kids” version of your book… this is the right one, right? Thanks! 🙂

  • Tara says:

    The link to the chocolate flaxseed muffin is broken, but I’m anxious to try it – could you repost it? Thank you so much!

  • Tara says:

    You just made my day! Can’t wait to surprise the kids with these! I have been cooking strictly from your recipes for 2 weeks now, and I’m in love! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your responses to all of my questions, too. Thank you for taking the time to answer everything. It means a lot!

  • Tabitha says:

    Any suggestions on how to get a child to eat the healthified way if the are not used to it? My son is 7 and is the pop tarts and go-gurts and cheese sandwich kid. I have tried several recipes from the books and the only one he will eat so far is the fudgies. He also has had constipation problems his whole life. Not sure what to do.

    • cemmerich says:

      Well first, I have a constipation supplement plan for kids here:

      Second, it is all about try and try again. They say you need to try something new 15 times before they get a taste for it. We always make our boys try something before they can get something different, no matter what. Hopefully over time their pallet will open up to the things they keep trying. 🙂

  • Sodapop says:

    Hello Maria I was wondering if you have ever been confronted with people dealing with eating disorders? If so I was also wondering what type of meal plans you reccomend for them because eating disordered people already have a distorted image about food so I would think that limiting their options might not help them fully recover. I have also read that in order to treat these types of people that nutritionists allow them anything that want because they feel that these types of people need to get rid of “fear foods” what is your take on this? I am trying to recover from an eating disorder and everywhere I read I see that other people who are also recovering are saying that their nutritionist says that they can eat whatever they crave and it will do them no harm because they shouldn’t limit themselves to anything and I’ve read your stuff and what you reccomend and it is so different from these other nutritionists. Supposedly if wheat and fructose is so bad why do these nutritionists reccomend whole grains and fruit to their eating disordered patients? And what do you advise that I do?

    • cemmerich says:

      Yes, I have worked with many clients with eating disorders. I find that this lifestyle is very beneficial for eating disorders are you lose your cravings and stay full all day. You don’t really think about food so much anymore. Here is a testimony from a recent client.
      “”My name is Tamy Blanding and I known in the eating disorder community to be a bit of a rebel. I don’t do a whole lot of whining about getting well, and I don’t believe in most of the traditional methods of treatment. I suffered with Bulimia & Anorexia Nervosa from age 11yrs to 43yrs. I now spend my time helping others get well from an eating disorder. It was a journey most could not comprehend , but as I began to get well I realized that even though my eating disorder behaviors were disappearing…I still had no clue as how to FEED myself! Yes, food was still a huge issue. I stumbled across Maria by accident! And I have to go a step further and admit…the only thing that kept me interested at first, in reading her page, was the beautiful boys in the picture! Lmao! I could relate to them. As I began to fall in love with Maria’s lifestyle, I began to try the things she was suggesting. I bought two of her books right away. I am not unfamiliar to low-carb, atkins, and keto. However, I have never really stuck with it 100%. I have been fallowing Maria Emmerich for about a year now. am on my 20th day at 20-30carbs!!!! What was different this time? I believe the book Keto Adapted was what did it for me. Yes it has some of the same info as some of her other books! That is totally normal! That’s what authors do! But, in my case I needed to hear it again. I needed this simple explanation of suggestions and why she was making the suggestions. I loved the book! It is her BEST book yet! And the resources she provides on top of her books goes above and beyond her call of duty! “”

  • Sodapop says:

    So nutrition wise what would you reccomend to someone like me? I’m 16 years old, 5’3.5″, and female. I have been on a low carb diet for a while now as carbs have become a “fear” so to speak so I don’t eat high carb foods anyway, but aside from that I don’t know what to do to get started on this lifestyle.

    • cemmerich says:

      It is really about becoming keto-adapted so you are fueling your body off of fat instead of glucose. That is when the cravings go away. So eating 80% fat, 15% protein and 5% or less total carbs. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Was checking out your other recipes but saw your pictures here. Your sons are so cute!

  • Amelia says:

    I just purchased my third book…kids😃recipes. I have been keto for 8 weeks and down 21lbs. I’m slowly converting the entire household. I’m so excited to get the kiddos going this week. Thank you for all the info and wonderful books.
    Sincerely ,
    The Vercoe’s

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