Healthy food, healthy kids
It’s already Back to School! As you and your children settle into your Fall routine, with daycare drop-offs and lunchbox planning for the grade school kiddos, it’s a good time to reflect on how you nourish those growing bodies. Heidi Seidman, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist whose main focus is helping families eat healthier, shares her top tips on planning healthy, balanced meals for your family.
“Remember that starting their day off with a healthy, nutritious breakfast will go a long way. It is the most important meal of the day. However, don’t forget the significance that a healthy lunch plays in sustaining your children's energy and keeping them focused.”
Packing a lunchbox should be a collaborative effort!
Involving your child in the process of packing healthy lunches will ensure they're eating nutritious foods they enjoy. Here are a few tips and tricks for making nutrient dense lunches and delicious after school snacks. Keep in mind eating organic or sustainably grown whenever possible is best.
ELIMINATE THE WHITE STUFF
Eating white, refined, packaged and over-processed sugars and flours leads to sugar spikes and crashes, which can seriously affect your child's energy and ability to focus at school. Over-processed foods also rob vital nutrients from their growing body. Over time, these foods can cause cravings, behaviour challenges and inflammatory diseases.
- Instead, switch to whole grains.
- Complex carbs will keep blood sugar balanced and provide vital nutrients.
EAT YOUR RAINBOW
Encouraging your child to eat a variety of colorful, whole foods daily will almost certainly ensure they are getting most of their daily vitamin and mineral needs.
• Strawberries, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, broccoli, blueberries, and grapes are all great choices.
INCLUDE ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Providing your little one's with healthy doses of EFAs in the form of Omega 3s help with proper functioning of their brain, nervous system, among other benefits.
• Eggs (yolk and all), chia, flax seeds and hemp hearts are all great choices, as are dark leafy greens.
IRON FOR STRENGTH
Our kid's diets often lack iron, which carries oxygen in our blood and keeps us energized.
• Great choices are eggs, lean beef or turkey, fish and dark, leafy greens.
• Pumpkin seeds are also loaded with iron, so don’t chuck those pumpkin guts
• Combine iron rich foods with vitamin C to help with iron absorption. Enjoy eggs with orange wedges or strawberries or squeeze fresh lemon on a salad.
You can reach Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website at www.heidiseidman.com
If mealtime always seems to be a struggle and you’re dealing with a picky eater, especially during those terrible two’s (and three’s and four’s), you might want to try:
- Eating at regular times every day.
- Try to make mealtime family time, which means everyone eats together
- Lead by example. If your little one sees you, and older siblings perhaps, enjoying certain food they’re more likely to give them a try.
- Eliminate distractions. Turn off the television and any devices and take away toys.
- Don’t pressure your children to eat. No child has ever starved themselves. However, do not offer alternative meals to the one you have prepared. What’s on the table is what’s for dinner, even if your child has to go to bed without dinner. They’ll wake up eager for breakfast!
- Don’t pressure your child to eat, you want them to feel like mealtime is a happy time.
- Cut pieces up in appropriate sizes. It’s also ok to make their plates fun, with food arranged in happy faces, for example.
- Keep trying to offer food they’ve refused in the past. Eventually, they will end up trying it.
- Try including your kids in the cooking process and meal planning. They’re more likely to eat what’s offered if they feel they had a say in it.