Most adults know that sugar can wreak havoc on their systems and too much of it can eventually lead to diabetes. It is interesting then why, if adults are so concerned with their personal sugar intake, they find no problem in giving their children sweets, candies and cake from an early age.
It is very evident within children who are at such a vulnerable young age that sugar definitely affects them. Too much cake and icecream at any birthday party and children turn into 'energizer bunnies’ who bounce off walls as they need to burn off their excess energy. It is no surprise then, that it has been well documented that children who eat more nutritiously have more stable minds, can focus more and end up healthier and happier. Of course, this is the same with adults. Many grown-ups also find taking a nutritional supplement or two helps them stay healthy and happy. So let’s look at the food we should be giving to our children:
Carbohydrates can be a complex topic. Not everyone understands that once simple carbohydrates like croissants and cookies are swallowed they simply turn into sugar. Children need to ingest more complex carbs with a good, healthy fiber content which allow digestion to be an easier process. Examples of such carbs would be:
- Green vegetables
- Beans, lentils and peas
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and corn
- Whole grains found in oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and whole-grain breads
Protein is very important because it helps build muscle and and it repairs tissues. Protein is the building block of bones, cartilage, muscles, blood and skin. When your child falls and scrapes his or her knee, it is the protein inside his body that helps him recover faster and makes his wounds heal quicker. Good sources of protein are:
- Seafood - especially fish like salmon which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps boost the brain’s memory and concentration ability
- White-meat poultry - especially the breast part of poultry which is low in fat
- Dairy products - like milk, cheese and yogurt
- Eggs - Which carry a nice supply of Vitamin B12
- Beans - Such as lentils and white beans
- Soy - Tofu is great as are edamame beans
- Lean Beef - Such as sirloin
When it comes to treats there really are healthy alternatives to sweets and chocolate such as dried fruit and nuts as well as popcorn.
Fruits & Vegetables
Of course, it’s very important that your child get fruit and vegetables as it provides a multitude of healthy vitamins and nutrients as well as antioxidants for your child. The great thing is, there is so much variety in color and taste. Great options are: *
- Baby tomatoes
- Baked cauliflower with hummus
- Celery sticks
- Carrot sticks
*Just make sure to cut certain fruit and vegetables into small pieces so that they don’t cause a choking hazard.
Don’t make the mistake of giving your children sugar packed fruit juices. If you can, dilute them with water and give it to them in a water bottle. Herbal teas that are tasty on their own or with a teaspoon of raw honey are also lovely. The best fluid to give them is plain water as it quenches a thirst like no other.
Conclusion: Better Nutrition, Happier Children
The food we give our children determines how they will grow up physiologically so it really is our duty to make sure they get the absolute best of whatever we can offer them!