THE RIGHT FOODS TO POWER YOUR CHILD’S BODY AND BRAIN
We all want the best for our children. We want them to be healthy, we want them to live the best of lives, and have all the great things we didn’t have growing up.
But the thing is that we are so busy these days and find it hard to sit down with our children around the dining table to homemade meals. We then resort to convenience and takeout food. They are indeed convenient, very fast, very easy and sometimes cheaper than cooking homemade meals from scratch.
But these foods can be downright unhealthy and doing a lot of damage to your child’s body.
You can, however, make a change today. You can switch over from feeding your children foods that do them no good whatsoever to feeding them the right foods to power their bodies and brains.
Why your child needs to eat more healthily
Healthy eating is not only for adults. In fact, it has been found extremely beneficial health wise if kids adopt a healthy eating habit right from childhood. Here are some of the reasons why healthful eating for children is the way to go:
It helps them maintain a healthy body weight: This is the most obvious reason for feeding kids a healthy diet. Many obese adults had weight management problems as kids that eventually led them to their unhealthy adult weights. Adopting a healthy diet right from the time your child is little will give him a leg up in the fight against obesity.
Prevents the onset of some diseases: Healthy eating can help prevent your child from suffering from many chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
It helps them build lifelong healthy habits: Healthy eating habits are more likely to stick if we learn them as children, so teaching your children good eating habits will help them stick with the same eating patterns into adulthood.
Great for mental health: Good nutrition helps to prevent mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
Good nutrition for kids can also help them improve their minds and moods, and gives great energy to face their daily tasks.
The necessary nutrients for children
Healthy eating for children is based on the same general principles as nutrition for grownups.
Basically, your child should be getting a balanced diet, rich in the following nine nutrients:
- Protein, which helps your child’s body build new cells, fight infection, break down food into energy, and transport oxygen around the body.
- Carbohydrates, which are the body’s most important source of energy.
- Fats, which are easily stored in a child’s body and are a great source of energy for kids.
- Calcium, which is essential in building your child’s healthy bones and teeth.
- Iron, required to build healthy blood that transports oxygen to cells around your child’s body.
- Folate, necessary for the healthy development of a child’s cells.
- Fiber, necessary to produce bowel regularity in a child.
- Vitamin A, which helps growth, keeps skin healthy, prevents infections and assists the eyes in adjusting to lights.
- Vitamin C, which holds the body’s cells together, helps the body heal wounds, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, and helps to build strong bones and teeth.
These, therefore, are the nutrients rich foods your child should be eating to boost his mind and body:
Seafood, poultry, eggs, and beans for protein. For variety, also introduce lean meat, soy products, peas, as well as unsalted nuts and seeds.
Fresh fruits instead of fruit juice: Let your kids go for fresh (or dried, frozen or canned) fruits rather than drink fruit juice. This is because most fruit juices contain an inordinate amount of sugar, even when the pack tells you its sugar-free. So fresh, dried, canned or frozen fruits instead of fruit juice.
Vegetables: We’ve all had those horrendous moments when we try to get the kids to eat vegetables and have a stressful dinner time we didn’t bargain for. Well, you can get them to love vegetables if you begin at an early age. Serve them an assortment of fresh, frozen, canned or dried vegetables including dark green vegetables, leafy vegetables, as well as colorful ones such as carrots and tomatoes.
Grains: Go for whole grains and limit refined grains such as pasta, white bread, and rice. Whole grains such as oatmeal, popcorn, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, or wild rice can be delicious if cooked just right.
Dairy: The best dairy for children is fat-free or low-fat products, so make sure your pantry is full of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Olive oil, avocados, and nuts that are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, or in flaxseed and walnuts. that are rich in polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggs: This is because the protein and nutrients in eggs help children concentrate.
Greek Yogurt: This can help keep your child’s brain cells in the best shape possible for sending and receiving information.
What your kid shouldn’t be eating/eating in small quantities
- Added sugar such as brown sugar, corn syrup, corn sweetener, and honey.
- Saturated fats (that mainly come from animal sources of food, such as red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products) and trans fats from foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil.
- Caffeine from energy drinks, soda, or coffee drinks.
How to encourage healthy eating habits
- Focus on overall diet rather than pit nick about specific foods.
- Be a role model by eating healthily yourself. never give to your child what you yourself will not eat.
- Cook more meals at home.
- Involve your kids in groceries shopping and in preparing meals. If they help to cook it, they are more likely to eat it.
- Disguise the taste of healthier foods. You can for example add vegetables to a beef stew or mash carrots up with mashed potato.
- Make healthy snacks available at hand so that your kids can avoid unhealthy snacks.
- Never insist that your child cleans the plate. Let him be done once he says he is full.
- Never use food as a reward or as a punishment.
- Have regular family meal times to provide comfort and foster good feelings about food.