They Are What They Eat….

We know that diet is crucial to make sure kids have plenty of energy to cope with the day to day demands of school life, after school clubs, peer pressure, exams etc. We also know that diet has a huge impact on behaviour, learning ability and concentration levels. So, take this time to review what your children are eating.

A lot of parents are now waking up to the idea that school dinners may not provide their children with the healthy nutritious meals their kids need.

Packed lunches are a good way to control what your children are eating. However, there is a lot of peer pressure when kids take lunches that are different to what’s in their friends’ lunch boxes, so you do have to get a good balance to keep them healthy, but not make them appear too different.

A good packed lunch could include

  • a wholemeal roll filled with organic chicken or good quality meat (no packet meats, please) and salad
  • Or try peanut butter (no salt or sugar variety) and mashed banana
  • Tuna and mayonnaise with bits of cucumber and tomato
  • As a change from sandwiches, give them a cold pasta salad or a brown rice salad with interesting bits in that they like. You could include tomatoes, small bits of broccoli, olives, gerkins, sundried tomatoes, cashew nuts etc.
  • Their lunchbox should also include at least one piece of fruit. Try a little pot of berries, a couple of plums or a pear to vary it from the ubiquitous apple.
  • Add in a few cherry tomatoes, a little pack of nuts and raisins or, even better, a few organic nuts and a couple of unsulphured dried apricots.
  • Give them a flask of filtered water, organic apple or orange juice or include a good quality fruit smoothie such as the Innocent ones
  • Alternatively, give them a food flask that has a good quality yogurt in it – preferably a plain live yogurt to which you have added some honey and berries or stirred in some pure fruit jam such as St Dalfour’s strawberry which is delicious.

Try to avoid rubbish foods like pre-prepared sandwiches and salads, fruit yogurts, sweets, crisps and sugary drinks. Remember, if you give them junk or money to take to school, they will always choose junk. If they have no choice, they’ll eat what they’re given and eventually their palate will start to change for the better.

Remember, that if you can’t control what your kids are eating at lunchtime, try not to worry about it – do what you can, and make sure they’re eating really well when they’re at home. A good breakfast and tea will go a long way to helping you nourish your kids well. If they are eating in this way most of the time, the odd bag of crisps or sugary snacks here and there won’t hurt. We had a rule in our house that there would be no junk foods in the house, but if they had the money and the inclination to walk down to the shop, they could have what they liked. It usually puts them off!


Children’s Supplement Prescription

If you are still concerned or want to make sure your kids are getting enough of what they need to avoid colds etc during the winter months, I have what I call my ‘Back To School’ prescription for children.

I recommend Child’s Play capsules or Kids Complete Complex Powder multi-vitamin and mineral daily to ensure nutrients. The small capsules can be swallowed or split and the powders then stirred into cool food such as yogurt, porridge, apple juice or smoothies. These supplements have been specially formulated along naturopathic guidelines to suit children’s needs and the number of capsules depends on age and size. .

Eskimo Kids essential fatty acids is also recommended to feed the brain and for bone development. This contains all the main fatty acids including 3, 6 and 9. It has a tutti frutti natural flavour with no sugar and is guaranteed free from dioxins and PCBs, unlike many other children’s fatty acid supplements. If they prefer a capsule, I also recommend Omega Smart.

Finally, a short course of Pro-otic  should solve any tummy troubles and boost their immune systems ready for winter. The bowel flora and bacteria in our guts are a crucial but often little understood part of our immune system. Getting these levels right is really important for good immunity and development. Use this especially when children have upset tummies, keep getting infections, don’t pass bowel movements at least once a day or with any course of antibiotics. You might also consider this Elderberry Complex, which is excellent if they keep picking stuff up.

For Babies and under 3s

By far the best thing you can do for your little one’s health is look after their gut so they are absorbing everything they need for growth. I often recommend this Baby Flora. You can also combine that with a baby multi-nutrient if needed, see the Baby Vitamins here. Obviously, be led by your health professionals here; these are guidelines.

See also a post I have written on giving babies and children probiotics – when should you consider them?

For supplies of stuff mentioned, look here and please give my name Micki Rose if this factsheet has helped, thank you.


General Healthy Guidelines

Looking after children’s nutrient health is a real priority, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore their emotional and physical health. It is important they get plenty of fresh air and exercise to encourage muscle strength, Vitamin D conversion for bone growth and to keep weight nice and stable.

Try to encourage them to join after school clubs, football teams or dance classes, for example. Manage their TV viewing and game time. Get out as a family at the weekends and do something active. Emotionally, kids need attention and love. Give them hugs and tell them you love them, even when you don’t feel like it! It’s their job to challenge boundaries so bear with them! And remember, if you’re calm, so will they be…..if you need energy or stress help, look at ideas in those sections in the A-Z!