As a parent we face an on-going battle against the constant exposure of our young children to junk food. It could be the sweets at party packed full with artificial colours, or the fizzy drinks in the vending machine, or the lure of a popular toy with a fast food meal.

Outside influences will affect our children more and more as they get older. The best approach is to provide them with a nutrient rich diet at home to give them the best possible foundation from which to move forward.

Here are some tips for keeping children healthy.

Is your child prone to peaks and troughs in energy or can be irritable between meals?

Include a good quality protein source with each meal and snack, such as nuts, seeds, chicken or fish to keep energy levels stable between meals. Keep them away from sugary foods to as these exacerbate energy slumps and deplete vital nutrients.

Good fats, bad fats.

Some fats are damaged during processing and can block the uptake of essential fats that enable our cells to function well. These essential fats are important for growing brains. Is your child getting enough? They can be found in oily fish and in nuts and seeds. If your child turns refuses to eat mackerel, salmon and sardines then perhaps you could opt for a pure, child friendly, fish oil supplement.
Fats that need to be avoided are found in many packaged foods and fast foods. Check the label when shopping and don’t buy foods that contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. These are fats that have been processed at high temperatures and can prevent the uptake of the essential fats that our children’s brains and bodies need.

Beneficial bacteria.

Try giving your child a pinch of probiotic each day. These live organisms can help keep their gut flora in balance and support their digestive and immune systems. Probiotics can be particularly useful during a bout of diarrhoea and are particularly important after antibiotics have been used. Some strains of beneficial bacteria can be found in natural yoghurt.

Eat a rainbow.

We all know that vegetables are good for us but sometimes getting our children to eat them can be problematic. Try challenging your child to ‘eat a rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables, keep a chart on the wall to show them just how well they are doing! Get your child involved in the preparation and cooking of vegetables. Make it enjoyable; by bringing fun into the kitchen your child can really start to feel positive about good, healthy food.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Hanratty BSc N.Med left her position as a health researcher to complete a degree in nutritional medicine, her background in research and her subsequent training in nutritional therapy enables her to combine an evidence based approach with clinical knowledge.
Drawing on her own experiences, she has a particular interest in the role of nutrition in pre-conceptual health and the health of children.