Posted to Nutrikids by Marina Da Silva
After you begin to understand how the food your little ones are eating could be influencing their behaviour, the next question is, what can I do about it?
Since my little sister convinced mum to buy a Nutri-bullet (nice one Carla!), the first thing she reaches for after school is frozen raspberries! Then she usually goes straight to her desk to work on her homework. Yesterday she came home with some flavoured milk and a quick ingredient scan revealed refined sugar as the second ingredient followed by a long list including letters and numbers. I waited half an hour and surely enough, homework was forgotten in favour of running around like a nutcase and speaking in strange tongues. This culminated in me yelling “Told you!! Food-mood!! Food-mood!!”, and her attempting a rap-battle. Homework was eventually completed, I also have great rap-battle footage, but the point is; food-mood!!
After you begin to understand how the food your little ones are eating could be influencing their behaviour, the next question is, what can I do about it? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are three simple but highly effective steps you can try today. Each of these steps addresses the three issues outlined in the post [How food affects behaviour]. Comment below to let us know which of these three easy steps you’re going to try out, or which one you’re already doing!
1. Add in naturally sweet food
We all know kids need to eat less sugar, old news! This idea is based on the premise that it’s easier to say “Mmm have a delicious banana smoothie!” than “Grrr no more lollies!” right? Adding in a couple extra servings of fruits or naturally sweet veggies (think sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, corn) each day will do a few wonderful things. For starters, these colourful whole foods pack a nutritional punch. Just as importantly,sweet tooths will be naturally settled, and there’ll be less room in that little tum for handfuls of gummy lollies!
2. Start scanning labels
Food has changed drastically in the last 30 or so years, and coincidentally (or not..) so have food related problems! Products once considered healthy can sometimes be worlds apart from what they used to be. Seemingly harmless foods like bread, yoghurt, juice and muesli bars can either be perfectly natural and healthy, or they can carry a slew of unwelcome additives! This tip is super easy! Get in the habit of scanning ingredient lists so that you bring more awareness to your grocery shopping. You might be surprised at the vast difference amongst similar products!
3. 5 ingredients or less
We can dream of having a kitchen bursting with fresh produce from the markets, but let’s face it – I’m busy, you’re busy, and there’s a lot of convenience in packaged food, especially snacks! This tip will help you easily avoid the potentially scary additives that can wreak havoc on behaviour and development. Now that you’re a label scanning pro, think about choosing food options that have 5 ingredients or less. If it has any more, (especially if you can’t pronounce the ingredients!) it’s probably more of a ‘food-like product’ than an actual food, and that’s not going to do anyone’s health or wellbeing any favours, especially highly sensitive growing little bodies!
These suggestions may seem simple, but simple changes are often the most effective.Not to mention, they’re doable right? Choose one and let us know in the comments which one you are going to try out, or which one you are already doing!
Marina Da Silva is a Holistic Health Coach in her final year of completing a Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied with the world's top health and wellness experts. Equipped with cutting-edge knowledge in holistic nutrition and lifestyle management, Marina is passionate about inspiring people to develop a deeper understanding of food and lifestyle choices that can improve overall energy, balance, and health.