We are now into the new year and that means it's time for the kids to go back to school, ready to learn and take on new challenges. We can help support our children by promoting optimal brain function. This can be done through good and wholesome nutrition.
Did you know that our gut and brain actually have some of the same tissue? We have thousands of different neurons connecting the gut and the brain. Neurons send messages through the vagus nerve which goes directly from out gut to our brain stem. Maintaining good gut health helps to promote good brain health and function, which is especially important for children of school age.
Here are some dietary tips that may be beneficial for your child to maintain good gut and brain health:
• Ensure they have a good breakfast with adequate protein and wholegrains. Protein has a low glycemic index. This means it releases slowly into the body, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels preventing cravings for sugars and unhealthy snacks. It also helps to keep you full.
• Disguise vegetables in meals; add vegies like mushrooms, zucchini or carrot into meatballs, lasagna, Bolognese, taco mince.
• Make smoothies and add some greens to it like spinach. Smoothies are great because they are packed full of vitamins and minerals, but they also contain the fiber of the fruit and vegetables, so you're not getting a pure sugar hit, like with conventional fruit juices.
• Fish is a great, due to its high content of omega 3 fatty acids, which is helpful for brain function.
• Good quality complex carbohydrates are essential as an energy source to fuel the brain and body, especially if your children are active.
• Try making healthy versions of unhealthy foods. E.g. Make pizzas with wholemeal pita bread or fish and chips but make your own chips and bake them instead of fry them, or make healthy muffins instead of store brought ones.
Foods To Include In Your Child's Diet
• Good quality sources of protein and good fats include; meat, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, hummus, full fat yoghurt, avocadoes, oils (coconut, olive, sesame, macadamia).
• Wholesome carbohydrates: wholegrain cereals, pastas and breads, brown rice, lentils, chickpeas, peas, corn, sweet potato, pumpkin.
• Fruits and vegetables
Foods To Avoid In Your Child's Diet
• Processed sugar
• Processed Foods
• Soft drink and other sugary drinks. Try smoothies or iced herbal teas. Hibiscus is a great option and you can add other fruits and stevia to sweeten.
Green Smoothie Pops
Here is a delicious green smoothie recipe, that your kids will love!: Ingredients:
1 cup of coconut or almond milk (can use a different type of milk if your child has a nut allergy)
1 cup of baby spinach
½ cup of banana
½ cup of pineapple
2 tablespoons of cashew nuts (can omit the nuts if your child has a nut allergy) Method: 1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth consistency forms.
2. Place in ice block molds and place in the freezer until frozen.
3. Serve when desired
Good gut health equals good brain health. Ensuring your child eats a healthy, well-balanced, whole food diet can be very beneficial in maintaining concentration, good energy levels and sleep.
For more information on kids health please feel free to make an appointment for a free naturopathic consultation with me
Chantal our Naturopath is instore at :
Eastern Creek on Monday
North Kellyville on Tuesday
Colebee on Wednesday
Thursday at Spring Farm.
To book an appointment online click here