Our diet and the fuel we put into our bodies is an important aspect of how we approach our general health, especially for our children as the habits they form in their infancy can have lasting effects into their adulthood. Our dietary habits influence our ability to focus, our ability to learn and our ability to concentrate - all critical as our kids approach 'back to school'.
Children are influenced by their environment and pick up food habits from their parents and carers, good and bad.
So why not decide together to adopt a healthy lifestyle? Making it a family objective stirs up fun and excitement in children, and gives them a feeling of contribution to dietary changes, in turn giving them a sense of ownership about the choices they make. This is especially important when you have children in secondary school who make their own choices about what to eat. We want to empower our children to make the best choices possible for their general health and wellbeing:
Whilst healthy fats are an essential part of our diet, saturated fats are not good for our health. These food types include pastries, cakes, butter, cream and biscuits. These saturated fats contribute to an increase in diabetes 2, and are not good for our hearts or our waistlines. On the other hand, good essential fats - DHA and EPA - are critical to the concentration levels of our youngsters, helping to contribute to normal vision and brain function. These are found in oily fish, unsalted nuts and seeds, and avocado.
Sugar is an often hidden element of many foods marketed to children, and can be found in breakfast cereals, cereal bars and handy kid snacks for school break and lunch. It is definitely worth checking the labels of the favourites in your house, as an excess of sugar can have negative affects on our children's energy levels and can also negatively affect a child's concentration levels throughout the school day. Water can be easily swapped for juice during the school day, and fruit snacks for biscuits.
Daily nutritional recommendations made by health officials include the importance of vitamin D for the mind, the immune system and the development of bones. A good probiotic is another supplement that is recommended for gut health and a strong digestive system as well as immune support. Daily doses of vitamin C and A are also recommended by the Department of Health for children ages 6 months to 5 years.
Making small but consistent changes to your child's diet is the easiest way to make lifelong positive changes for their optimum health.
Ref: The Health Store Magazine, Sep/Oct '17