Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Helping our kids achieve balance

AS a children’s nutrition and weight management adviser, I see how vitally important energy balance is

AS a children’s nutrition and weight management adviser, I see how vitally important energy balance is to a child’s wellbeing. Getting ourselves fit and well is one thing, but are we investing in our children’s wellbeing?

We know that the media, family habits, culture and environment all play a big role in our eating choices and habits, but children are also affected by this. Young children rely on our choices driven by the above factors to give them the best possible start in life.

When it comes to influences on a child’s diet, children work out very quickly how the reward system works — ie “Eat that up and you will get a sweet / to stay up late and watch TV.”

But using food as a reward or punishment can bring about serious eating concerns for the child as they mature. Think carefully before entering into the circus of your child’s eating habits as it can undermine healthy eating habits. Children need to understand the balanced diet as they start understanding why we need to eat.

Speaking of which, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you are eating? Are you hungry? Bored? Did it look good? Smell nice? Convenient?

Can you walk past the doughnuts and not cave to the one winking at you — the one covered in chocolate and fancy sprinkles with some jam/cream oozing from the edges ready to be licked off and treasured? Or the beautifully made cake with pretty swirls, intricate icing and stunning wrapping!?

The answer is most likely to be no — if you really want it you will have it regardless of whether you need it. Our temptations/impulses/choices are driven by boredom, look, smell and convenience.

Ask yourself, do you ever eat to balance your energy needs or eat when you are truly feeling hungry?

We are inclined to cave in to our children’s desires for the pretty cake with the intricate icing. But we satisfy ourselves by saying “You can have it when you have eaten your dinner/fruit/vegetables.”

Why not educate your child to understand why eating a good balanced diet is important and follow the Eatwell Plate Model? Five to seven portions of carbohydrate a day, five to seven portions of fruit and veg a day, two to three portions of meat, fish, eggs, beans a day, two to three portions of dairy a day and keep fatty and sugary foods to a bare minimum (eating them in small amounts).

There are all sorts of contra-indications if your child is not gaining the correct amount of nutrients or energy and therefore we must continue to educate children to eat a healthy balanced diet.

The next generation is already hugely influenced by social media and the “thin” pretty pop stars/film stars — without the correct guidance our children will be missing out on the vital ingredients to a well nourished start in life. Let children be well, nourished, happy and functioning the healthy way, the right way and the balanced way.

For further information please email nutritiousworks@gmail.com and I will do my best to advise you. I visit local schools educating children and will be organising a FREE talk to all local parents later in the year. To reserve your place, please email nutritiousworks@gmail.com

Enjoy September and contact me at any time with any questions.

Emma-Jane Taylor www.nutritiousworks.com

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