Feeding Your Children Right

by Sheila McKenzie-Barnswell, B.Sc., R.N.C.

Children who are properly nourished have less behavioural problems, are more stable both mentally and emotionally and have a higher I.Q. They are less hateful and make more friends, have longer attention spans and do better in school. These findings have been confirmed by researcher David Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and Martin Radice Yarrow of the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S.

According to Alexander Schauss in his book "Diet, Crime and Delinquency", 75% of prisoners were hyperactive as children and 60% have abnormal glucose tolerance curves. Dr. Ben Feingold, M.D., a well-known pediatrician and allergist, states that 30—50% of hyperactive children can be cured or improved by proper diet alone. Other factors may play a role but the most important aspect is diet.
As a parent of this generation, we are totally responsible for the future of the next generation. How can we help our children, and possibly lessen the crime rate by going back to basics?
Here are some things we can do to help improve our children's diet and help to improve their health and learning ability.

First: Avoid

A. All food with additives like artificial colouring, flavouring and preservatives.

B. Sugars of all kinds (white, brown, corn syrup etc.). Keep raw honey to a minimum.

C. Refined foods, (white flour, pastas, breads etc.), as you know by now, contain sugars and refined starches, and are only empty calories. When sugar is combined with food additives the effect can lead to low blood sugar and sometimes even diabetes. Giving your child a bowl of "sugar puffs" is equivalent to giving him a bowl of sugar. Most breakfast cereal contains from 3% to 60% sugar and the remaining ingredients usually includes white flour, artificial preservatives, colouring and flavouring agents.

D. Avoid caffeinated food like chocolate, cocoa, colas, coffee and regular tea. Most parents would not give a child a cup of coffee but would give him a chocolate bar. You would be better off if you gave the child a cup of coffee, since you can control the amount of cream and sweetness consumed. In the chocolate bar, there is the caffeine, several spoons of sugar, preservatives, colouring etc. What is my point? Well, don't give your children coffee or chocolate bars, cocoa or any caffeinated food served or combined with any dairy product unusable by the body. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine and are helpful for children especially with allergies. For more information on herbs for children, read "Today 's Herbal Health" by Louise Tenney.

Second: Do

1. Read all food labels. Choose supermarket foods that have the least amount of unwholesome ingredients.

2. Frequent health food stores for whole-some alternatives and educational information (they have a wide selection of pamphlets, brochures and books).

3. Prepare a wholesome meal for your child before she/he goes to school. Example, fruit or fresh juice, a dairy or nut product or egg and whole grains.

4. Send them off with a nutritious but not boring lunch. If you make lunch interesting children will not want to skip, trade or throw it away. Include a fruit or vegetable, whole grains, a protein like beans, nuts or seeds, peanut butter (peanuts only please), vegetarian meat substitute or egg.

5. Dinner should be similar in content sure to divide your child's protein equal amounts between the mom midday and evening meal to keep bk. sugar stable. Also, the body hand protein better if eaten in equal amount: different intervals than if all at once.

6. If your child suffers from allergies other diet problems, or for moi information, please consult a prevents five health professional (nutritionist naturopath, holistic medical doctor, etc.;

7. Try to learn about preparing natural vegetarian foods. Contact the Vegetarian Association for more information on classes.

Getting Your Child to Change to Wholesome Foods

As parents we need to set good examples. Don't try to let your child try foods that you would not eat.

Gradually introduce foods one at a time, preferably when a child is very hungry or in a good mood. Appearance of food is very important. Try several attractive foods and those that can be eaten with their fingers. Here are some snacks to try.

- moderate amounts of raisins, dried apricots, prunes or other dried foods (remember to brush teeth afterwards).

- nuts and seeds. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds etc. (don't give to small children under three years old).

- yogurts with fruits added (home made is preferable).

- carrot or celery sticks with dip like cream cheese, peanut butter, tahini, etc.

- homemade granola bars

- crackers, bread sticks and cheese

- homemade pop corn (easy on the butter)

- stuffed pita pockets

- whole grains, pancakes served with applesauce, yogurt or sugarless jam.

The list could go on and on but try experimenting with some ideas.

Let your children help with food preparation. This gives them some time together with their parent and a lesson on the importance of wholesome eating.

Don't force children to eat something because it is good for them. This can cause resentment and a total dislike for that food. Instead, suggest that they try a bite or two. Because children's taste buds change rapidly, you maybe surprised to find they love a food now which they disliked only a month or two ago. Children will be more willing to change their diet if they have not been forced to do so. Buy good wholesome food to stock your shelves with and give your children choices. Some unhealthy and unhappy children are sometimes created by parents with good intentions. Go easy. Before you know it, your child will actually love eating wholesome foods.

For additional information, read some of the following books.

Foods for Healthy Kids
by Dr. Lendon Smith

Healthier Children
by Dr. B. Khan

Feed Your Child Right
by Dr. Lendon Smith

Dr. Cook discusses Hyperactivity
by Dr. William Cook

How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of your Doctor
By Dr. Robert Mendelsohn

Sheila McKenzie-Bamswell is a nutritional and wellness consultant and also a registered Dental Hygienist and Editor of Lifestyle and Wellness magazine.

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