Healthy Diets for Healthy Children
by Wendy on 19th December 2019
All living things require a source of energy, nutrients, water, and space to grow. When cultivating your garden, you’d be sure to use the finest seeds and plenty of sunlight, so it should come as no surprise that a similar principle applies to our children. Healthy, thriving kids will benefit from outdoor play, a varied, balanced diet, and plenty of water to drink.
A Balancing Act
It’s not always easy getting your little ones to eat healthily, but by cutting down on processed foods and treats, which often contain unnatural/chemical ingredients, you can help your children to make smart dietary choices. Encourage a balanced diet that includes:
- Low-fat dairy products (cheese, yogurt, etc.) or non-dairy alternatives
- Poultry (grilled chicken, turkey mince) and eggs
- Fish (opt for salmon, cod, or other fish with a low mercury content)
- Wholegrain cereals and bread
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Healthy monosaturated fats (extra virgin olive oil), in moderation
If your child follows a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are plenty of ways you can ensure they are eating enough protein, from serving meat-free mince and sausages to meatless fillets and sandwich slices and everything in between. They come with the added benefit of being lower in fat, too! Your local health food store will be happy to help you, and most supermarkets now stock a wide variety of meat-free products, including alternative milks and non-dairy products.
Food is Fun!
If getting your children on board is a problem (because, let’s face it, kids and sprouts don’t always mix), why not make it fun? Enjoy time in the kitchen with your child, baking wholemeal bread together. Encourage creativity at the dining table by asking your child to make a food-face on their plate, using vegetable spaghetti for hair, olives for eyes, and a tomato for the mouth. They can even make their own healthy juice drink by flavouring water with a dash of fresh citrus fruit.
Good Things Come in Small Portions
Humans are natural grazers, so it’s a myth that we shouldn’t eat between meals. In fact, snacking on a healthy treat (carrot sticks, a handful of nuts, seeds, or berries) can help keep us going. If you eat small portions every few hours, you will keep your hunger under control, your metabolism elevated, and your energy levels high —this is great news for kids who love to snack!
Sleeping Like a Baby
The amount of sleep we need varies according to our age. Pre-school tots benefit from 10-13 hours a night, and schoolchildren require 11-13 hours. Too little sleep can adversely affect your child’s health, and they can experience any number of problems, from mood swings to poor school performance, and even depression. You can help by establishing a bedtime routine. For younger children, this can include taking a bath just before bed, or enjoying story time as they settle down each night.
Step Away from the Device!
Many studies have linked poor sleeping patterns with the use of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This can cause all sorts of problems from poor concentration to chronic sleep deprivation, a major cause of depression. Using a device before bed delays your child’s circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock) and suppresses the release of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. This is mainly due to the artificial blue light emitted by the screen.
Encourage older kids to turn off their phones and tablets well before bedtime. Suggest they read a book instead or get them to write a diary entry before they settle down.
Keep Calm and Keep Fit!
Regular, brisk exercise for children has many benefits; not only does it help keep their bodies in shape, but it helps their minds stay healthy, too. Exercise also helps children enjoy a better quality of sleep and equips them to fight stress. Promoting fitness for children can be fun —disciplined sports are a great way for kids to take regular exercise, but they can also keep fit by walking the dog, playing an active game, or even chasing their parents around the local park!
A Natural Approach
Chiropractic care and massage therapy are both natural, hands-on therapies which work on the premise that we are all born within an innate intelligence to heal ourselves, and this is at the forefront of all the services we provide. As with adults, regular chiropractic care can be beneficial to your child, too. Children with a healthy nervous system may also benefit from a stronger immune system.
Book a check-up with your child’s chiropractor today!