CHILDREN’S NUTRITION

Hi All,  I’m Mr Nathan. I run a children’s health program called Healthy Active Kindys. The reason I developed this program is because I am passionate about trying to make a difference in our children’s futures. I believe that children are very impressionable, so if we can teach them good habits from a young age they will then grow up to be fit, healthy adults.

kindy-kitchen

Your child’s nutrition is very important to their overall health. Proper nutrition can also prevent many medical problems, including becoming overweight, developing weak bones, and developing diabetes. It will also ensure that your child physically grows to their potential.

You as a parent can also promote good nutrition by setting a good example. Healthy eating habits and regular exercise should be a regular part of your family’s life. It is much easier if everyone in the house follows these guidelines, than if your child has to do it alone.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO GET YOUR FAMILY STARTED.

  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Balance the food that you eat with regular exercise.
  • Choose an eating plan that includes plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits.
  • Choose an eating plan that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Choose an eating plan that is low in sugar and salt.
  • Choose an eating plan that is high in protein, calcium and iron to help support their muscular and skeletal systems. 

Click here to download more information and recipes from the Healthy Lifestyle Clinic.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BREAKFAST

Breakfast every day is an important part of a healthy eating routine for children.  Breakfast literally breaks the overnight fast providing valuable energy to start the day.  Children who eat breakfast, whether at home or once they arrive at kindy, are more likely to consume enough nutrients for healthy growth and development and will also enjoy their day more.

Relationship between eating breakfast and healthy weight

A trend has emerged whereby children who skip breakfast are heavier for their height in comparison to children who regularly eat breakfast (Williams, 2007).  Eating breakfast also means that children may be less likely to overeat later in the day (Williams, 2007).  Given that one fifth of Australian children are classified as overweight or obese before even reaching school age (Wake, Hardy, Canterfold, Sawyer & Carlin, 2006) these findings suggest that eating breakfast may be useful for maintaining healthy weight and moderating appetite.

The health implications of carrying extra weight in childhood include physical problems such as impaired glucose control – potentially leading to diabetes – joint pain and difficulties with mobility (Ebbeling, Pawlak & Ludwig, 2002).  Compounding this, overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, extending weight-related problems in to later years (Summerbell et al., 2003).

Children who are small eaters or are underweight will also benefit from eating breakfast.  For these children, breakfast provides an opportunity to consume valuable energy and nutrients.  Eating breakfast on a regular basis helps children to establish a healthy meal routine which they can maintain throughout their life. 

Nutritional content of breakfast

Data from the Australian National Nutrition Survey (1995) identified that breakfast consumption by children and adolescents was associated with a more nutritious diet than the diets of those who did not eat breakfast.  The typical breakfast consumed by young Australians was a healthy breakfast, low in fat and high in fibre and carbohydrate – for example, a bowl of wholegrain cereal with milk.

Not only is breakfast a valuable source of nutrients, but also a valuable source of energy for children.  Breakfast has been found to provide up to 20% of the daily food energy of children aged between 12 and 24 months (Skinner et al., 2004).  Children prefer meals and snacks at regular times and tend to eat small amounts frequently throughout the day (National Health and Medical Research Council [NHMRC], 2003).  Children who do not eat breakfast may miss out on important energy and nutrients that they could be getting from a healthy breakfast.

Healthy breakfast options for young children

Some healthy breakfast options include:

  • wholegrain cereal, milk and fruit
  • porridge with fruit and a glass of milk
  • rice porridge or congee with vegetables
  • yoghurt with fruit, or a fruit smoothie
  • wholemeal toast and slices of fruit
  • pikelets topped with ricotta cheese and fresh fruit
  • noodles or steamed rice with vegetables
  • injera, roti or other flatbread with curry or stew.

Offer water as a drink at breakfast time and make sure water is available for children throughout the day.  Fruit juice is not recommended as the high sugar content and acidity in fruit juice present a risk for tooth damage (Gussy et al., 2006).  This is especially important in childhood as damage to ‘baby’ teeth is closely linked to decay in permanent, adult teeth.

Healthy breakfast options for babies

For babies aged around six months and just starting out on solid foods, breakfast may consist of their usual milk intake, such as breast milk or formula, plus small amounts of solids.

Bland food that is easily mashed or pureed, such as rice cereal is an ideal first food.  Mix the cereal with a little of the baby’s usual milk to a soft, smooth consistency with no lumps.  Most babies can manage soft lumps soon after starting solids.  As each baby progresses with solids, their breakfast may consist of oats or a wheat breakfast biscuit softened in plenty of milk.  The next progression is to finer foods such as pieces of soft fruit or wholemeal toast or flatbread cut into squares or ‘soldiers’.

More ideas for healthy breakfasts for young children can be found at www.health.gov.au.   For more information see www.daa.asn.au or www.raisingchildren.net.au.

Taken from: Childcare and Children’s Health Vol.13 No.3 September 2010

 

LOVE AND CANDLES

A great idea for helping your child deal with the arrival of a new baby

by Meg Parkinson, Child Behavioural Expert.

For weeks, a six-year-old boy kept telling his Grade One teacher about the baby brother or sister that was expected at his house. One day the mother allowed the boy to feel the movements of the unborn child. The six-year old was obviously impressed, but made no comment. Furthermore, he stopped telling his teacher about the impending event. The teacher finally sat the boy on her lap and said, “Tommy, whatever has become of that baby brother or sister you were expecting at home?” Tommy burst into tears and confessed, “I think Mummy ate it!”
 
Misunderstandings can be prevalent before the baby is born and it is no secret that while the arrival of a new baby is very exciting, many parents watch on nervously, waiting to see how the older sibling is going to react. Mostly, older siblings alternate between loving their new brother or sister and resenting him or her because of the time mum and dad are spending with the baby.

I recently read about a great idea to help explain to a child that even though there is now someone else in the family who needs a lot of your attention, you still love them as much as you always did.

Candle flames and love

Get as many candles as there are family members, of different lengths. Tell your child that the candles represent your family. Light the first candle, explaining that the flame represents Mum’s love (or Dad’s, depending on who is telling the story).

Pick up the ‘Dad’ candle and light it with the ‘Mum’ candle. Say that when Mum married Dad she gave him all her love, but she still had all her love left. Take the ‘older child, let’s call her Nina’ candle and light it with the ‘Mum’ candle. Show that now Mum has given all her love to ‘Nina’, Dad still has all her love and she still has all her love left.

Now use the ‘Mum’ candle to light the ‘baby’ candle and repeat, now the baby has all Mum’s love, ‘Nina’ has all Mum’s love, ‘Dad’ has all Mum’s love, and Mum still has all her love left. Explain that you can give all your love to everyone you love and still have more to give.

Promoting positive behaviour

Our beliefs shape our behaviour. Nina is learning that there is enough of Mum’s love to go around, so she doesn’t have to be resentful of the new baby or misbehave to get Mum’s attention; a misguided attempt to feel belonging or love.

Just make sure you do this in a room with no drafts – you don’t want any of the candles to blow out during the ‘love’ demonstration!!! It might be a bit of a challenge to explain your way out of that one!

Source:  Little Tummy Tucker Website www.littletummytucker.com.au