Stop Giving Your Kids These Foods

One of the major worries of parents is about the food the child is eating.

You worry over the nutritional content of the food but may not also consider that the food your child eats should also help to develop the brain and memory. Foods are not just meant to fill the stomach or keep the body going.

The power of healthy eating lies in its ability to energize your child’s energy, sharpen the mind and affect her mood. Parents need to know that the food given to a child within the first 1000 days of a child’s life will affect their lifelong performance in all areas of life. Children should be taught to avoid sugary and fatty foods while eating healthy food at an early age. This is because nutrition is recognized as the single greatest environmental influence on children.

Here are some foods you should NOT give your child;

Packed & processed food: Examples are packed chips, crisps, burger & pizza, noodles with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is used to sweeten food a large portion of your noodles seasoning contain MSG. MSG causes mood and behaviour changes, headaches and hyperactivity. Giving your kids fast foods may be an easy way out of the burden of cooking yet it dangerous to the health of your children.

Avoid foods containing artificial colouring: Artificial colouring has many negative effects on children who take foods containing them. It is commonly found in sugary packed food such as burger and some loaves of bread and even yoghurt. The intake of artificial colouring is closely linked to ADHD, anxiety, hyperactivity, and headaches and behavioural change in children.

Avoid foods high in trans-fats and moderate your intake of foods with saturated fats: Instead use healthy fats such as corn oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, groundnut oil, olive oil, palm oil.  Nuts, such as groundnuts, cashew nuts are also good source of fat.

Avoid drinks such as soft drinks, cold drinks, caffeinated drinks, tea, coffee, and sugar

Here are some foods that you should give your child:

Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of protein and the yolk has choline, which helps the memory.

Milk & Yogurt: They are filled with protein and vitamins, which is essential for brain development.

Vegetables: colourful veggies such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach and others are rich in antioxidants that help the brain cells to be strong and healthy.

Pulses or Beans: They give your child’s body energy and protein with other essential vitamins and minerals.

Fruits:  Orange, Pineapple, Strawberries, Avocado contain antioxidants and numerous Vitamins.

Whole Grains: such as wheat contains fibre and it provides the brain with a constant supply of glucose, and whole grains provide that in spades.

Oats/Oatmeal: This is a nutritious cereal for kids. It provides an amazing burst of energy that fuels the brain in the morning. It is loaded with fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B, potassium, and zinc.

Meat and Fish: Fatty fish like Catfish, Titus are a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which is essential for brain growth.

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Your Baby Should Eat Nuts

Introducing complementary foods to your baby can be easy if you try out different food options. One of which is nuts- peanuts ( groundnut), cashew nuts, walnut and others.

Nuts are highly nutritious and known to be a rich source of beneficial fatty acids, vitamin E, and protein which very good for babies that require lots of good nutrition for proper growth and development.

If there is no history of allergies, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends you can introduce your baby to nuts as early as six months. Waiting until your baby is older to introduce nuts is not necessary.

Some parents delay giving their babies nuts and other highly allergenic foods like soy, fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, and wheat. This does not help to prevent allergies in the future rather when these foods are introduced early since it reduces the chances of children from becoming allergic to them later in life.

In spite of loads of benefits found in giving your baby different types of nuts, parents need to take caution on the following.

  • Do not give a child less than five a whole nut to eat and giving peanut butter in a spoon to a baby. This could cause a choking hazard.
  • If you are introducing nuts to your child’s meals ensure that it is ground or crushed into smaller piece.
  • If you have a family history of allergies such as Eczema and other food allergies, you need to see the doctor before giving nuts to your baby as a weaning food.

Here are simple ways to infuse your child’s meal with peanut

  • Mix a teaspoon or two of ground peanut into a plate with your baby’s cereal, yoghurt. Ensure that it is not too thick; stir it well before giving it to your baby.
  • You can also use spread peanut, cashew nut butter on bread to serve as a finger food. Toddlers would enjoy this better. Though your baby may not be able to bite off, she can suck on it and lick up the nutritious butter too.

Peanut butter is great for vegetarians and vegan babies. You can either make your peanut butter or get a store bought one. In getting a store-bought peanut butter, look out for the ones that do not contain added salt or sugar.

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