During the year, balancing work commitments and your children’s schooling and other activities, life can get rather hectic. Because of this it is hard to ensure your children get what they need in their diet. Here are some food tips on how to keep your children happy and healthy.
1. Involve your child. A child is also more likely to eat what they help prepare, so encourage them to get involved in simple tasks, for instance making sandwiches. And try to diversify the choices they are allowed to make. This way they are less likely to get bored with their food. Also try to encourage your child to make decisions about what they eat. For instance, ask your child to choose what fruit they may prefer to pack in their lunchbox.
2. Start with a good breakfast. Breakfast is an absolute must for children, and preferably a healthy one that includes complex carbohydrates and protein to keep them going. A healthy breakfast is associated with a better attitude towards school, improved memory, concentration, and learning. This also helps prevent hunger and reduces the risk of over-eating later in the day.
3. Be organised. Plan your child’s lunches in advance and include the required ingredients in your shopping list. The more organised you are, the better the chances that your child’s lunchbox will be stocked with healthy food, rather than relying on processed foods, or the school canteen.
4. Use quality carbohydrates. Include low glycaemic index (complex) carbohydrates in meals. This assists children to maintain their stamina. Such foods include multigrain or wholemeal bread, or you can use a high fibre white bread if your child doesn’t like bread with seeds. Also include other complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes.
5. Include lean protein. Use lean meats such as fish (fresh or canned), chicken, and red meats including beef, lamb and pork, with the fat removed. These are preferable to smoked and boiled meats like ham, salami, pastrami, corned beef or devon as these are often treated with preservatives. Oily fish, such as tuna, is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. DHA provides the building blocks for brain and eye development, health, and function. Other protein alternatives you may include are peanut butter, hummus, and white cheeses such as ricotta and feta.
6. Sneak in vegetables. Try to add lettuce, cucumber, tomato or roasted vegetables such as capsicum, eggplant, zucchini or red onion into sandwiches, etc. Vegetables add nutrients and fullness with minimal kilojoules. Roasted vegetables for instance can be used in a mash (for example including onion in mash potato), or some vegetables can be pureed into a sauce.
7. Stay fresh. Try to only use fresh foods in meal preparation. And for your child's lunches, keep them fresh by wrapping sandwiches in plastic wrap or snap-lock plastic bags. Keep it cool and free of bacteria by freezing drinks such as milk, watered down juice or water and use the frozen drink bottle as an ice brick in their lunch box.
8. Limit the “lolly” drinks. Try to provide your children with water or skim milk, and avoid soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices or cordial. Unless your child is lean and very active, they don’t need the sugar-loaded empty kilojoules that are contained in these drinks.
9. Snack on fruit. Fruit is sweet and tasty, and a much healthier alternative to potato crisps, biscuits, chocolate and lollies. Other fruits that are easy to eat are mandarins, grapes, cherries, apples and pears, or cut and wrap fruit such as oranges, mango, kiwi fruit and pineapple.
Following these tips will help to ensure that your children are living on a balanced diet. A child’s diet is reflected in their behaviour. A child with a poor diet is less likely to develop properly, mentally and physically, and have behavioural problems, with difficulty in learning and concentration. This can lead to other problems later in life.
A balanced diet is the best start and support you can provide for your child’s development. And while it is difficult to ensure your child’s health, we can make it easier. The following ingredients can further assist your child’s health.
Acetyl L’ Carnitine is an amino acid essential for proper development of the central (brain) and peripheral nervous systems, improving learning, response time, and memory.
Fish oil (including tuna-derived oil) provides health benefits which are attributable to essential omega-3 superunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is crucial to brain development during infancy and childhood. A number of conditions are connected with deficiencies in the essential fatty acids, including children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), or adults suffering from Parkinson's disease, depression, dementia including Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia. Fish oil, while providing benefits for neural and eye tissue, has also been found to provide other health benefits including promote muscle growth, improve blood pressure and blood circulation, and reduce the risk of inflammation in some conditions (e.g. in the case of asthma and some allergies).
Folic Acid is crucial for proper health and in particular, brain function, playing an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in DNA and RNA synthesis, essential for cell production. Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to regulate the formation of red blood cells and to aid iron utilisation, an important factor particularly in active young children.
Zinc is integral in all cells and is particularly important in neurotransmission, being essential to learning and development. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) has been associated with low zinc plasma levels.
Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) has traditionally been used for the last 2000 years as a brain and memory tonic. Bacopa improves learning, memory and cognitive functions. Children suffering from ADHD-like symptoms have also shown an improvement in sentence repetition, logical memory and paired associate learning. Being beneficial to blood circulation, bacopa is also found to improve symptoms of anxiety and stress, which are normally associated with reduced memory retention.
These ingredients are found in one convenient source. PM Kids Intelligent, along with a balanced diet, is formulated to provide your child an added advantage, assisting concentration, learning, and memory, and encouraging their growth and development.
So when you think of your child’s health and development, help them along with PM Kids Intelligent.