Healthy Eating for Active, Happy Children
Our friends at the Little Brown Book Group have recently published the superb Super Food for SuperChildren book, full of fantastic healthy recipes for young your explorer. Read on to find out why healthy eating is important for your children. A balanced diet free from processed, sugary foods and high in healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates forms the fundamentals for a healthy, happy child. Providing children with the tools to maintain healthy eating habits as early on in their lives as possible will lay the groundwork for healthy adulthood and will lower the risks of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, to name a few. Bridget Surtees, registered dietician, specialising in low-carb eating and co-author of Super Food for Superchildren believes that healthy development starts even before a baby is born, and is based on the mother’s nutrition. She says that it is equally as important for a baby’s mother to eat a diet free from processed, sugary foods, high in healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates in the form of leafy vegetables, while pregnant and while breastfeeding, which has been shown to lead to higher IQ and cognitive development for baby. Protein is vital for muscle development, and is a source of energy, providing iron and zinc. Iron, in particular, is important for brain tissue development. Protein foods include meat, chicken, fish, and eggs. Fat is essential for development as the human brain is made up of 70% fat. Our organs are also protected by a layer of fat; fat soluble vitamins need fat in order to pass through the intestinal wall, and our hormones rely on fat to function. Healthy fats include those from saturated sources like animal products, eggs, butter, coconut oil; omega 3 fats from fish; and monounsaturated fats from olive oil and avocado. Getting nutrients from a variety of colourful vegetables is also important. Additives, preservatives, and highly processed, sugary foods affect a child’s concentration. These processed, sugary foods provide quick spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by massive drops. This roller-coaster effect on blood sugar levels has a huge effect on children’s concentration as they become excitable from the burst of sugar and then become tired, moody and lose focus when it has been worked out of their systems. By avoiding these foods and focusing on giving children foods rich in healthy fat, protein and complex carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, fruit and whole grains like quinoa, will provide them with a sustained, slow release of energy, which will result in happy, healthier, more energetic children. Each recipe in Super Food for Superchildren has been specifically developed to provide them with everything they truly need to be super-children.