There is no doubt that we are what we eat. Foods play an important role in regulating our mood, intelligence, stress and much more. Growing children are in most need of extremely nutritionally balanced foods, their energy requirement is much more than that of an adult. But that energy should definitely come from whole foods instead of instant foods.
Gone are those days when the word ‘stress’ was only associated with adults, now it is an ordinary term for children as well, which also leads to lifestyle diseases like migraine, myopia, obesity, slow growth, Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD) in girls, hypertension. Including plant based wholesome foods and excluding processed and stress-inducing foods in your family diet can improve your family’s wellness quotient to up to 40 per cent. Here is a list of effective steps that you must change in your child’s routine for his overall well-being:
MAKE SURE THEY GET AN 8-HOUR SLEEP: According to studies, children between the age of 6-12 years need 9-12 hours of sleep while teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep. Most of the parents especially when both are working are surviving on 5-6 hours of sleep, and thus it’s tempting for both to sleep late to spend maximum time together after parents come home. This sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviours and health problems-irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression. Students who get good number of hours of sleep have healthier immune system, and better school performance, behaviour, memory.
CUT DOWN ON PROCESSED CARBOHYDRATES: Processed or refined carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, and white rice have become children’s favourite these days but unfortunately, they have lesser to no nutritional value and cause fluctuating sugar levels. They make children extremely dependent on sugar and irritated when they don’t get it.
They can also make your children lazy; less focused and can lead to obesity. Instead of these refined carbohydrates, choose whole grain or wheat products. High sodium intake can cause children to become extra thirsty, thus retaining more fluid from drinking which can cause a bloated feeling.
PROVIDE AMPLE CALCIUM AND IRON: Calcium as a mineral is vital for building strong bones and teeth, promoting nerve and muscle function, helping blood clot, and activating the enzymes that convert food into energy. About 99 percent of the body’s calcium is stored in the teeth and bones. Children who consume more calcium and iron do grow up with strongest bones; it helps them later in life. The science says that children need Iron for a healthy brain development. Iron deficiency during the growing years adversely affects the child’s metabolism, myelination, neurotransmission, and gene and protein profiles.
BRAIN FOODS FOR THEIR WIN: Including tonnes of brain foods every day in your child’s meals will strengthen their nervous system and affects their memory (for good) and concentration. Some examples of these foods are eggs, beans, berries, whole grains, oats, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach etc.
BE THEIR ROLE MODEL: Children learn by watching and not by being told to. If you are living an unhealthy lifestyle as a parent, you should start making conscious choices. Parenting come with a lot of responsibility, children are like blank state and their first instinct is to imitate the first humans they see. Being a positive role model for your children is one of the most important and rewarding things you can do for your child.