Should we consider what our children eat as brain fuel for learning? Absolutely!Leading nutritional researchers are learning more every day about the power healthy foods have on growing bodies. A healthy diet and the right supplements can help to build a better brain and a stronger immune system. Frequent colds, anxiety, and low energy are becoming common symptoms in children. It’s easy to forget how stressful school can be for most kids, and a stressed body needs extra nutrients. As well, your kids are growing and have an extra need for key nutrients to keep their body and immune system strong. As a bonus, good nutrition can supply school-aged children with the focus they need to sit through math class, enjoy a good book, and have the energy to play a fun game after school.
BreakfastThis is a meal that can make or break your child’s day. A good breakfast will fuel your child’s energy and mind, but a high carb/high sugar breakfast may lead to energy lows and mood swings all day. Instead, start your kid off right with a healthy, higher protein breakfast. A good breakfast includes a good source of protein, whole grains, and is balanced nutritionally. Some examples of great breakfasts include: a poached egg on sprouted grain toast, 5% fat yogurt with homemade granola, or long-cook oatmeal with hemp seeds, Udo’s Oil (US/CA), and berries.
After School SnackGrowing kids need more than 3 meals a day and an after-school snack is a must. This is also a great time to give them another serving of fruit or veggies that are a great source of vitamins and minerals to help support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can help the body fight off colds and infections. Oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers are great sources of vitamin C. Alternatively, a sugary snack after school may lead to problems sleeping, weaken his/her immune system, and make your child more prone to getting a cold.
Kid-Friendly Supplements - to feed their brain and support their immune systemHealthy fats– Your child’s brain is 60% fat and research has found that healthy fats, especially DHA from omega-3s are key for concentration and brain growth. Add 1 – 2 tsp. of Udo’s Oil DHA 3-6-9 Blend (US/CA) to their breakfast. Probiotics – Good gut bacteria balances the immune system and can help balance our mood too. And adding good bacteria to your child’s day helps to establish a healthy gut bacteria balance for life. Flora’s Children’s Probiotic (US/CA) is a great blend, and the capsules can even be opened and added into their food. Iron– An overlooked nutrient in our children’s health. Low levels of iron can affect your child’s behavior and immune system. A low intake of iron rich foods, like leafy greens and beans, along with a high intake of cow’s milk can set the stage for an iron deficiency. Floradix (US/CA) is a wonderfully absorbable liquid form of iron. Follow the label for the proper dosage for your child. If you’re concerned that your child’s diet or supplements may need some balancing, spend some time watching how they react to different food choices. Notice which meal choices keep his/her energy steady, mood balanced, and body strong. Give supplements at least 1 month before looking for any changes. Provide a healthy variety of food for you and your family, and your child will have fewer sick days and better concentration through this school year.
About the author: Lisa Kilgour
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Founder ofLisaKilgour.com, and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.