Brain drain? Mood swing? Energy zapped? Does your gorgeous one arrive home from school like this?
New research is revealing that kids can underpin their concentration, energy, emotions, and healthy bodies simply by making some small lifestyle changes.
Did you know that:
- 1 in 10 kids is diagnosed with ADHD, which makes concentration very difficult for them
- 1 in 3 kids has hormonal skin and cycles which affects their happiness
- 1 in 3 kids has allergies related to food, which affects their mood and sleep
- 1 in 4 kids in Australia has more body fat than they require, which zaps their energy
Every child would like to feel good about themselves and get rid of those ‘self-esteem bombs’ that rob them of their energy, brain power and feel-good hormones.
Make the food they eat, count
The good news is that food – quality nourishment – can dramatically improve all of these issues.
There are four key foundations for balancing moods and improving energy and brain power:
- Real food without added sugar
- Some grains
- Fat eaters
- Veggie munchers
Plastic cheese is not something your grandparents would recognise as real food. It is really quite simple, each week start ‘crowding in’ so much good, real food that your family doesn’t realise that the packaged cereals, processed muesli bars, and high sugar lollies are missing.
How to tell what’s real food? A quick and easy way is that it often doesn’t have a label. Real food doesn’t have added, hidden sugar. Natural sugar, in small doses, found in dairy and fruit is quite useful for the active child.
Lunch box idea:
Have fun on Sundays making some homemade muffins, cookies, and bliss balls. You get to control the ingredients and the amount of sugar. Make enough for a few days and store them in the fridge.
There is a bit of grain discrimination going on in the world. One of the issues with grains, like wheat, is that they are often highly processed. Even when bread is wholegrain, we don’t get the same nutrient density from this carbohydrate as other foods and because it has been heavily processed it may cause reactions in our bodies that our grandparents never saw when they ate bread.
Preferred carbohydrate sources are vegetables, legumes and gluten-free grains like basmati or brown rice, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. They are also loaded with vitamin B, which is not only our energy vitamin but we need vitamin B to convert some of our amino acids to serotonin, our happy hormone.
Lunch box idea:
Wholegrain chicken avocado roll with some of the bread inside hollowed out. Why? We like the grain and also to be able to add extra chicken and avocado for blood sugar stabilising. Dinner is the most thought-about meal of the day, so cook enough for the lunch box or lunch Thermos the following day.
Fat feeds our brain, balances hormones, and provides us with a feeling of fullness. Goodbye ‘hangry’ child!
Enjoy ‘good fats’ like avocado, olive oil, walnut oil, chia, linseeds, salmon, trout, and olives. Butter, nut butters, coconut oil, coconut milk, cheese, and a modest amount of saturated fat have also been found ‘not guilty’ so can be enjoyed too.
If your school allows nuts, they are an excellent source of protein and fat, but if they’re off the school lunch menu, think about using seeds like pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds with some preservative-free sultans mixed in. Some cheese with rice or grain crackers will keep a child fuelled and happy far longer than a handful of jelly snakes.
Eat veggies raw, dip them in hummus, and wrap in a tortilla. Stirfry, bake, steam, spice, or BBQ them. It doesn’t really matter how vegetables are consumed. They are full of fibre, vitamins, nutrients, enzymes and nourishment.
Lunch box idea:
Bake a tray of sweet potato cubes. After you cube the potato, coat it in a little melted coconut oil, sprinkle sea salt and bake on 160°C until slightly brown. Or take a handful of leftovers from the tray of roast veggies from the night before, toss into wide-mouthed Thermos with a half a can of drained chick peas, olive oil, lemon and sea salt.
Food is meant to be enjoyed. Bring back the love of the lunch box. It doesn’t need to be extreme; it needs to be easy and tasty. When a child is truly nourished, their food stabilises their mood, hormones, emotions and creates lean, healthy immune systems and bodies.
Michele Chevalley Hedge is the founder of A Healthy View and a finalist as Nutritionist of the Year 2016 by the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. The philosophy at A Healthy View is simple – no fads, no extremes, just good health. We are bringing back the love of food to allow for greater physical and mental wellbeing.
Their Low Sugar Lifestyle 28 day online program begins on 8 October. This program is designed for people who want to get healthy without an extreme approach.