Healthy Kids, Happy Kids

When I Grow Up… Healthy Kids

We all want what’s best for our little ones, because a healthy kid is a happy kid. To give them the greatest start in life it is critical to ensure they are getting everything they need from their diet. Unfortunately, as many parents know, this is not always easy. There can be hurdles in the way of optimal nutrition such as changing tastebuds and fussy eating habits limiting the number of foods they eat. Poor digestive function may limit the amount of nutrients they absorb, whilst exposure to illnesses at day care and school further increases their need for immune-supporting nutrients. This highlights the importance of covering all nutritional bases to help shape your kids into healthy adults.

Fundamental Nutrients for Kids Health

As many kids restrict the number of foods they will eat, micronutrient deficiency is all too common in children. Insufficient consumption of essential vitamins and minerals can predispose a child to a variety of disorders, and get in the way of healthy growth and development. A great tasting, kid-friendly multivitamin powder is a simple solution to overcome this dilemma. Choose a formula specifically for growing children, containing high levels of:

• Zinc, iron and iodine to support healthy cognition, growth and development.

• Antioxidants, such as vitamin E and vitamin C for robust immune function.

• Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K to support bone growth.

The Good Type of Fat

Your child’s brain and cognitive development relies on sufficient essential fatty acids such as those found in fish oils. These omega-3 fatty acids have wide-ranging benefits as they support all the cells in growing bodies, helping them function correctly. However, the fish oil needs to be of the highest quality and purity to achieve the greatest benefits. Your Practitioner can prescribe a fish oil suitable for growing kids with a great, fresh flavour and no fishy aftertaste that is guaranteed to surpass the purity of many store bought fish oils.

A Balanced Digestive System

Supporting the health of your child’s digestive system is not just important for kids who are prone to illness or upset tummies. There is emerging scientific research demonstrating the role of the gastrointestinal tract in promoting strong immune function and protecting against the long-term development of various diseases such as obesity, poor mental health and autoimmunity.

If you are looking to support your child’s gut health, immunity and future wellbeing; a good quality probiotic will do the trick. Probiotics help to optimise digestive function through encouraging the growth of healthy gut flora, whilst reducing the numbers of bad bacteria responsible for digestive upsets and ill health. Probiotics are particularly needed after a course of antibiotics, to replenish the beneficial gut flora wiped out by these medications and reduce the risk of digestive symptoms such as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Your Practitioner can recommend a high strength probiotic to maintain your child’s digestive system health.

Growing with Confidence

Get your kids prepped for the long term benefits of good health by laying the foundation with quality nutrition. That way, if faced with the hurdles that life may put ahead of them, they can jump right over and be the happy, healthy child you hope for them to be.

Why does my child need calcium?

Picky kids need calcium for good bone and dental structure, for muscle growth, nerve transmission, Calcium Rich Foodsproper blood clotting, regulation of cell division, maintenance of electrolytes and hormone synthesis.

What are the best dietary sources of calcium?

Contrary to popular belief, dairy products are not the only source.  Green leafy vegetables are a great source.  Kale is especially high.  Try using baby kale which is less bitter and easier to incorporate into a picky eater’s diet.  Almonds, Brazil and Hazel nuts are an excellent source and can be ground into a nut meal and sprinkled over fruit or salads or incorporated into treats such as friends.  Sesame seeds, particularly when ground into tahini can be used a spread, in salad dressings and dips such as hommos.  Below is the recipe for a calcium rich treat.

Recipe for Halva – A Great Source of Calcium and a Delicious Snack Treat

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup organic sesame seeds, hulled or unhulled
  • 1 tablespoon (or to taste) raw honey or maple syrup
  • about 4-6 tablespoons spring water

Method:

1. Put sesame seeds in a blender. Grind to as fine a powder as possible.  You may need to stop a few times to stir up from the bottom to make sure all seeds are ground evenly.

2. Transfer ground seeds to a mixing bowl. Mix in maple syrup or raw honey until well distributed throughout. Add enough distilled water (usually 4-6 tablespoons) to form a loaf or press onto a baking sheet.

3. Refrigerate a few hours to firm up before slicing.

This will keep at least a week in the refrigerator (if not eaten before!), much longer frozen.

Variations:

  • add a little raw cacao or carob powder to taste
  • add some chopped pistachios, almonds, walnuts or pecans for and extra calcium boost.

Enjoy!

Keeping Kids Hydrated

Hydrating Kids

Function of Water in the Body

Water is our most critical nutrient and needs to be your child’s beverage of choice. Water is the largest single component of the body. Overall, our bodies comprise around 50 – 70 % water. Some parts, for example our brain, can be up to 85% water.

Water provides the medium in which oxygen, nutrients and waste products are transported throughout the body, through which metabolic biochemical reactions occur, through which body temperature is regulated, and how blood pressure and blood volume (85% water) is maintained. These vital functions cannot occur without adequate fluids.

Water is also a solvent, a lubricant (e.g. joints) and a protective cushion (e.g. spinal fluid). It is vital for all mucous membrane integrity preventing congestion and for proper elimination preventing constipation. Nerve and brain cells and function also require adequate water. Even mild dehydration can cause mood alterations, headaches, irritability and poor concentration. Is you picky eater irritable and picky due to poor hydration perhaps?

Children’s bodies don’t cool down as efficiently as adults so are more at risk of dehydration during summer and hot weather. Taking a few simple steps can ensure your child always stays well hydrated and enjoys summer fun safely.

Don’t wait until your child is thirsty before offering a drink. Kids can get caught up in their activities and are easily distracted and immersed in their games. Offer water frequently and them into the habit early by offering drinks frequently during activity and especially during hot weather.

Children’s Requirements

How can you tell if your child is getting enough fluid?

Children will need around 60ml of pure water per 1kg of body weight. This is best taken in small amounts throughout the day.

Try to ensure that the water you offer is pure. Invest in a good quality water filter, preferably one that is able to filter out chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride that are often added to urban water supplies.

Allow your child free access to water, especially in hot weather or when running around a lot so they are less likely to become dehydrated.

Ways to Help Children Drink Adequate Amounts of Pure Water:

  • Have a cup or bottle of water on their play table or a place that is easily accessible at all times
  • Have bottles of water ready to take with you on outings
  • Keep a jug of filtered water in the fridge
  • Add slices of lemon, orange or lime and/or a few mint leaves to a jug of filtered water. This makes it more interesting and the addition of the citrus assists in hydration
  • Freeze small pieces of fruit or mint leaves in ice blocks and add these to cups and jugs of water.

Other ways to improve hydration:

  • Include high water content foods in their daily meals. Fruit and vegetables contain 80 to 98 percent water. Eating dense vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, spinach or celery with a meal or snack is an easy way to improve hydration.
  • Offer fruit with a high water content an excellent source of fluid as well as being a nutritious snack. Watermelon is a great example (contains 92 percent water, 8 percent natural sugar, plus essential electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene) Most kids love it. Offer bite size pieces to little ones or a large chunk to older kids. Blended and frozen into an ice block or popsicle or cut into interesting shapes should appeal to all and especially that picky kid. Pineapple, mango, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, mandarin and orange can be used in similar ways.
  • Coconut water (95 percent water & only found in young coconuts) is great for hydration and may be something novel for a picky kid.
  • Clear, broth based soups especially when made with vegetables offers an ideal way to get liquid into a diet along with good nutrients.

Do you have any hints and tips on how you keep your family hydrated?