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The Tranquil Way | Healthy eating for kids

Published:Tuesday | October 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Just like in adults, many of the health problems that children have are caused, and can be helped, by dietary choices. Many of the things we give our children to eat are not healthy, even some that are promoted as being so. Here are some tips on feeding your child in a healthy way.

One of the challenges that parents face in feeding their children is poor appetite or a desire for the unhealthy foods. Appetite stimulants generally do not work for more than one or two weeks, then it's back to square one, so to speak. This can be helped by giving children supplements or foods with probiotics. This is a proven effective intervention.

There are many supposedly healthy foods that are not as healthy as traditionally thought. These include dairy products, particularly milk and cheese. These have a wide range of negative impacts on the body, including the promotion of inflammation and allergic conditions. Even though dairy products have a high content of proteins and calcium, because the proteins promote inflammation, they prevent the bones from being able to absorb the calcium.

Another is fruit juices, especially the commercial ones. These have high sugar content - even the ones that are 100 per cent juice. Sugar promotes inflammation, with all the attendant problems.




Breakfast cereals also feature among these foods. These are usually packed with sugar and processed foods as well as artificial ingredients. Processed foods like sausages, franks, and bacon are also on the 'naughty' list. Processed meats have healthy nutrients removed and artificial flavours, colourings, and preservatives added. As much as possible, fried foods and wheat products (wholewheat and moreso, white flour) should be minimised.

As much as possible, children should have cooked meals. These include soy products, legumes, ground provisions, fresh vegetables and fruits, egg, banana, breadfruit, sweet potato, etc. They should be encouraged to drink water instead of fruit juices. If they could be encouraged to have vegetable juices combined with a little fruit (such as pineapple or apple), that would be good. Snacks could consist of dried fruits such as prunes, raisins and dates, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and yogurt. Porridge can be made from bulgar, oats, banana, plantain, rice, etc. Flaxseed or chia seed can be added to cereal or yogurt to make them even more nutritious. Honey is also healthy.

It's very important to set a good example for them to follow.