Keep Your Kids Healthy This Autumn
September is often the time of year that we decide to review our health goals and as children head back to school following an incredibly disrupted year and a half, it’s important to include them in this as well. Especially as, when they mix with others again, they are likely to be exposed to a whole host of bugs and viruses they have managed to steer clear of during lockdown.
A survey by the NHS in 2018 found that only 18% of 5-15 year-olds ate the recommended 5 portions of fruit and veg per day and with no data to suggest this has changed, making meals healthy and varied is a great place to start. In addition, the past year may have made an impact on children’s mental health causing stress and anxiety, which can lead to an increased need for certain nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium. Here are some of the key ingredients we all need to create the perfect plate...
Choose from oily fish, seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, pulses, legumes, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, try ground nuts and seeds in smoothies and yoghurts. Eggs (as well as liver and peanuts) are also a source of choline which is important for learning and memory, how about eggs and soldiers for breakfast?
EAT THE RAINBOW
Try to get at least 5 portions of fruit & veg per day. For picky eaters, similar coloured fruit and veg can provide the same nutrients e.g. beta carotene in carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato and dried apricots. Smoothies, soups, stews and tomato sauces are a good opportunity to blend in extra veggies.. we promise you can’t taste spinach in a smoothie!
Healthy fats are abundant in avocados, olive oil, oily fish, nuts and seeds and their oils and are important for joints, the metabolism, the nervous system and brain function. Sprinkle ground flaxseed onto porridge, add walnuts to smoothies and oily fish to fish pies.
For full fat dairy, ideally organic which tends to have a better profile of omega fats. For those with atopic allergies such as asthma and eczema, goat’s milk may be better tolerated.
A healthy gut = a healthy immune system, and yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut are all great sources of probiotics. Snack on berries and yoghurt, add kefir to smoothies and try sauerkraut in sandwiches.
Supplements can also help to ensure that children are getting their required vitamins and minerals, look for the following: Make sure they’re age specific and sugar free. Contain at least 400iu vitamin D (1 bottle of GMV for kids has 2.5 mcg/100IU (25% of RDA). Include vitamins C & D, essential for healthy skin, bones, teeth, immune system. Vitamin A or beta-carotene contributes to eye health, iron metabolism and immunity B vitamins for heart, blood, nervous system & cognitive function, hormone regulation, energy metabolism. Magnesium, essential for over 300 processes in the body. Choose oral or topical sprays if not keen on tablets. Folic acid/folate is important for growth and development, healthy blood and immunity. Iron, particularly for teenage girls, deficiency symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, bruising, a pale complexion. Probiotics to feed gut bacteria, which form the foundation of healthy digestion & robust immune defences.