Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Food for Thought ... And Body

We talked about nurturing healthy eating habits in kids in one of my earlier blog articles. Today let's focus on diets that target development of specific physical attributes and functions.

Food for brain
A healthy diet is absolutely essential along with mental exercises and games in order for kids to develop strong cognitive abilities. Essential Fatty Acids and antioxidants are the key ingrediants of a brainy diet. Salmon is a great natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids, although it might not be too easy to get the kids to like Salmon but there are some great receipes available on the internet which you can try out. Berries (Blueberries, Strawberries ...) are a great source of antoxidants. Not to mention peanut butter - unlike Salmon, kids generally love Peanut Butter and it's full of Vitamin E as well as Thiamine aling with Essential Fatty Acids.

Food for skin
Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, C and E are absolutely essential for a healthy skin. The usual suspects - Salmon and Berries - work for skin as well. Carrots contain Vitamin A and are great for skin and actually are known to provide natural SPF protection. Sweet Potatoes are a great source of Vitamin E and C - both of which are needed for a healthy skin. Remember, healthy skin doesn't come from use of creams and lotions alone - it's what you eat; although creams and lotions can help keep skin moisturized.Yogurt and other dairy products are good source of Vitamin A as well. Yogurt mixed with Walnut crumbs can actually be used to massage the face for exfolation - there's your home-made cream.

Food for height and growth
Kids grow in spurts and the rates are different for girls and boys. It's important to note that growth rate slows down after kids reach puberty. Keep in mind that height, like other biological traits, is largely heriditary but we can definitely maximize what heridity has in store for our kids. Make sure your kids get sufficient Proteins,  Vitamin D and Calcium - protein being the most critical element followed by vitamin D to absorb the calcium for the growing bone mass. Atleast one egg a day for breakfast with cream-cheese on bread is a healthy breakfast that kids would actually enjoy. Low fat milk, Greek Yogurt, Whole grain bread and soybean are an absolute must during growth spurts. And yet again - Salmon , a great good source of Vitamin D. 10-20min daily exposure to sunlight is essential for kids to get enough Vitamin D. A well balanced diet is important but does not substitute for a good regimen of daily exercise. It's important for kids to be actively engaged in sports such as basketball, volleyball and best of all swimming along with stretching exercises on daily basis.

Food to build immunity
The best way to boost your child's immunity is to not over-protect her from germs and provide her a stress free and loving environment at home. It's a medically proven fact that stress lowers immunity significantly. Also, kids need atleast 9 hours of daily sleep in order to keep a healthy immune system. As for the diet, food rich in Vitamin A, C, essential minerals such as Zinc and Selenium, and essential fatty acids are key ingrediants for a healthy immune system. Carrots, Spinach, whole grains (bread, wheat tortilla), strawberries, leafy greens and nuts should be included as part of a balanced diet. Avoid processed foods, such as boxed cereals, canned food, cookies, frozen pizza etc. as much as possible - these foods actually lower the immunity.

It's a long list of food items but you don't need to include each of these on daily basis. For example, having couple of servings of Salmon over a week along with a daily snack of nuts is all you need as far as Essential fatty acids are conerned. The key is to include as much as possible of each of the above listed food items over the week. But if the goal is to focus on, say growth and height, increase protein, calcium and Vitamin D intake at the cost of some reduction in Fatty Acids, for example. The most important point is to NOT force any of these on your kids and rather enjoy the same food with them. Kids learn by watching you - so eat heatlhy yourself and watch your kids follow your foot steps.

2 comments:

  1. Vitamins and minerals develop the immune system and the body especially the children. They will have an energy for the whole day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Healthy foods are always helpful for our kids. So it's our duty to encourage our kids for eating healthy kids foods which is very much helpful for build up their health and mind also.I think healthy foods are also more testy than other food which like our kids.

    ReplyDelete