Being a parent is a joy for most. But as fun as watching them play is; doing silly stuff and reconnecting with your inner child through them, parenting is a huge responsibility. One of the most significant responsibilities you have as a parent is feeding your children properly. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s tempting to serve them oven chips and turkey drummers, but you really should not.
Sadly, 15% of children in the UK live in a food insecure household. But growing children require a carefully balanced diet for optimal development. The development of a child includes their muscle structure, bone and teeth density and cerebral development. All of these are influenced by their dietary intake from the moment they are born into early adulthood.
Help them Grow
When a child is born until they are young adults, their bones will grow at an alarming rate. Therefore, their calcium intake is essential for health, skeletal and dental development. Milk nutrition is one of the easiest methods for introducing calcium into a child’s diet. This can be done by drinking milk or with cheese and yoghurt. But some kids are lactose intolerant.
Lactose intolerance can cause bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. For anyone with this intolerance, life can be unpleasant after consuming dairy products. Fortunately, calcium can also be found in other foods such as leafy greens, soy foods and fortified cereals with added dried fruits. Vitamin D also contributes to calcium intake, and the best source of this is sunlight.
Stabilise their Energy
Like most kids, yours are probably full of energy, but seemingly at the wrong or sporadic times. This is because their energy levels aren’t being appropriately stabilised. Kids love fizzy drinks, sweets and anything with sugar. And as tempting as it is to let them have as much as they want – since you want to please your kids, you will put their energy levels at risk.
You should aim to provide energy-rich foods such as those containing natural fat and proteins in the morning. This includes eggs, toast, cereal, cheese, yoghurt and nuts. These are natural sugars that provide energy for a few hours. The protein then needs to be topped up at lunch with tuna, chicken, leafy greens, grains and fresh vegetables. Carbohydrates from pasta and red meats will stabilise energy levels at dinner/tea and help promote tiredness for a good sleep.
Feed their Brain
Of course, one of the most important aspects of growing up is brain development. A poor diet can contribute directly to your kids’ cerebral development. New studies have also linked excess fat intake to mental health issues. Therefore you must limit the amount of fat that your kids consume from junk food such as pizzas, burgers and fried chicken.
Foods such as these can be given as rare treats rather than everyday meals. Some of the best foods for cerebral development in children include eggs, fatty fish with Omega-3, such as salmon and nuts and grains. Fresh fruits and vegetables also contain many essential vitamins and minerals for brain health, such as B and C, folate, magnesium, and zinc.
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