Mon | Jun 26, 2017

'Smartie Bites': Kiddies Nutrition

Published:Monday | May 15, 2017 | 5:00 AMKimberly Goodall

Peer pressure and television commercials for junk food make getting your children to eat healthy, nutritious meals an uphill struggle. With the addition of hectic schedules and your child's cravings for tasty goodies, it's a wonder so many children's diets are built around convenience and takeout food. But switching to a healthy diet can have a life-changing effect on your child's health, helping to stabilise their energy, sharpen their minds, and even up their moods.

Good nutrition is vital to children's lives. Registered dietitian, Paul Thompson Jr notes that the most fundamental time of human development is during their childhood, more specifically, between adolescent and preteen. A young adult's physical and mental capacity is heavily supported by the care of their bodies during the development stages. A child is capable of absorbing more essential nutrients and vitamins than a grown adult, so children should consume all the vital nutrients for optimal growth.

According to Thompson, "From consumption of starches (carbohydrates) to give them energy to play, to their daily protein intake to give them strength, the fat content that helps them with organ functions and the vitamins, minerals, and water that keep them refreshed and vitalised."

 

APPEAL TO THEIR TASTE

 

Thompson went on to share that the best way to appeal to your child's taste buds and have them indulge in the goodness of a healthy diet is to include colourful finger foods. "Children are used to eating food in liquid form from the moment of birth, so preparing some meals into a nutritious shake can help. Also, prepare meals that will make children excited to want to eat it all. Children are forced to eat what they are presented with by their parents, which means you have all the power but it doesn't mean you can't give your child options. Giving them meal option makes them feel entertained and not easily bored," he told Flair.

"While it is important to have a nutritionally balanced diet, it is equally essential to have physical exercise. Physical activity aids in the growth of muscles and bones, and aids in the digestion and absorption of the well-balanced diet that your child should be eating." Within the six food groups, starches, fruits, vegetables, legumes/grains, meat, and oils, the six basic nutrients are found. To ensure a balanced diet, Thompson advises that your child's meals contain the six basic nutrients which are categorised in micro and macro nutrients. Carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamin, minerals, and water are all essential in the development of your child.

Last, remember that kids will be kids, they will crave sweets so ensure to satisfy their sweet tooth every once in a while. Also, explain to your child why and how eating healthy can make them strong and become the person they want to be most in life.

Paul J. Thompson Jr. Registered dietitian. Contact him at: paulthompson_4@hotmail.com.

kimberly.goodall@gleanerjm.com