Feeding Growing Minds – Diet
Over the course of this 3-part article we will investigate health benefits and a growing mind in connection with Diet, Exercise and Sleep.
Imagine yourself without sleep, having eaten poorly and without being able to exercise (yes, it does sound like the weeks or even months after delivery). Oh, and you also need to learn to care for a newborn.
Does this sound familiar?
The absolute necessity of these aspects in our life seems so obvious to us as adults. However, often we don’t quite appreciate the value that a balanced lifestyle can offer our children, even our babies.
“Your baby is so calm”, “she isn’t fussy at all”, “he eats so well” – to be on the receiving end of warming statements such as these, we need an action plan.
The beautiful machine that is the body needs a balanced mix of nutrients and an appropriate amount of calories. Please do not worry, I will not begin to ask you to feed your baby kale, track their macros and count each time they chew.
Let’s take things back a few decades, Grandma didn’t know that quinoa would offer additional health benefits but, she did know that if the baby was well fed he or she could sleep. Grandma knew that if she offered vegetables of all different kinds to her little one that his/her taste palate would begin to develop, understanding and accepting simple tasting foods. It was also understood that only after offering a wide variety of vegetables that fruits could come next (taking note to boil berries in particular to remove any harmful bacteria.) The basic principles here are spot on, veggies give the vitamins and minerals that the baby will need to support their developing immune system and adding fruits later in time will widen their taste palate. Slowly introducing grains and dairy will also be a fun and interesting learning experience for you and your child (your floor and carpet may also be included in this learning experience, sorry Mummy and Daddy but babies do not like ALL of those new tastes or textures).
As your baby or child begins to try new foods, it is important to monitor their tolerances to these foods. If you give your child tomatoes and they get a small rash, monitor it carefully. Stop giving the new food, allow the rash to go away and wait for 3-7 days before trying a small taste of that food again. However, if the rash persists or worsens seek medical advice.
Trying new foods can be scary for both you and your baby but getting it right will be such a rewarding experience for both.
- Spinach is great for children above 1 year (but should be given infrequently).
- Beetroot is great for children above 1 year (but should be given infrequently).
- Small children choke easily. Grapes, berries, olives and other spherical shaped foods should be cut into quarters (this technique should be used until a child is above 5 years).
- Dairy and nuts frequently cause allergies; the market is flooded with alternatives but check with your health provider before making radical alterations to your child’s diet.
- Mother’s milk has phenomenal benefits for both you and your child but should this not be an option for you/ your family, Formula was developed in 1865 (150+ years of development!).
- Research shows that our brain needs to experiment with taste 15 times or more before we can make a decision, do we like or dislike that food – the tasting journey won’t be an easy one.
- Drink water – no notes needed.
A balanced diet and eating at regular intervals will regulate your child’s mood. Simply being satisfied allows the brain to focus on the learning world around. Just like you, if you have a task to complete or a deadline to meet be sure to be well fed and …drink lots of water.
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