Children's Nutrition is passion of mine since as a busy mum of 3 young children, I know that we all want to do the very best we can for our children. What we choose to feed our children during the first few years of their lives will directly affect their growth. It will also affect their energy levels, their mood and resistance to disease and ability to concentrate and do well at school. Children's Nutrition is crucial to their wellbeing.
In Ireland, the obesity crisis is now affecting children as young as three and four years of age. The Growing Up in Ireland Study showed that almost 20% of nine-year-olds were overweight in 2011 and a further 7% obese. Ireland's only dedicated Childhood Obesity Treatment Programme is at Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin. It has had a 400% increase in just one year in referrals of children under five years of age.
Children's Nutrition Research has shown that the health implications for children in the short term include hip, knee and back pain, breathlessness, higher risk of asthma, bullying and stigmatisation, as well as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Long-term effects include poorer educational achievement, risk of heart disease and certain cancers as well as a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
During the first 2 years of your baby’s life, you can always dictate what your child eats but as preschool and parties start to happen, it becomes less easy.
It is important for parents to have a healthy attitude to food. After all, food is one of our greatest pleasures, as well as being our main energy source. We know it’s not possible to eat healthily 100 % of the time but trying to eat as well as possible 80-90% should be fine.
Teaching our children about food and cooking and chatting about health gets them interested from an early age. Many of the simple family meals we cook at home can be cooked with our children. I also believe in children making their own choices from an early age. This allows them the freedom to choose what they eat when they are away from home and is another part of growing up that is fun and should be encouraged. This should also help them ensure they are making good dietary choices as adults.
TESTIMONIAL FROM A MUM
We met during the summer when you gave my 11 daughter Clodagh some wonderful advice re her diet and food choices. Clodagh has done tremendously well since then and I am indebted to your for your wisdom!
Marie, Mum to Clodagh age 11
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Children's Nutrition Tips
- A child’s diet needs to contain nutrient rich foods such as;
Fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish (especially oily ones like salmon or mackerel), pulses, dried fruits, ground nuts, seeds and their oils.
- Children need water and a little fresh juice if available.
- Children should not be having any fizzy drinks or squashes, which are full of sugar, colours, artificial sweeteners and stimulants like caffeine and all of these can affect children’s teeth.
A healthy immune system comes from a healthy diet and with so many chemicals now being added to our food, we must arm our children with an immune system that can cope with this daily bombardment.
Young children will always get ill while building up their immune systems through exposure to bacteria and viruses. However, with the right approach, using diet and simple guidelines, cold and infections can be dealt with naturally. A child’s body has the most marvelous capacity for self-healing if it given the right nourishment and care. Whatever a child’s age, it is never too late to start them on the road to health by feeding them a fresh, wholesome and varied diet to last them a lifetime.
If you would like Mary to help you with planning your family’s meals, give her a call now on 087 2884461 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary can help you choose the healthy options for you and your family.
Food Intolerance Testing is available for children and babies from 3 months onwards. See more details on the Food Intolerance Testing Page. Lorisian Testing is available from age 2
CLICK TO READ MORE ON FOOD INTOLERANCE.
I came to Mary with various digestive issues, tiredness and stress. While I try to eat healthy and sensibly, as a full-time working Mum, (outside the home), with 2 children, I was disorganised at home and always rushing from A to B! However, since my consultation with Mary, not only have 1 been doing great, all my family have benefitted.
I never realised how much sugar we were consuming as a family when we thought we were eathing “healthy” by eating low fat! Now I plan what the family eat for the week and shop in advance and I always have plenty fresh vegetables & fruit available for snacks.
All my digestive issues have disappeared! The children enjoy cooking with me so it’s now a family fun experience and they have become much more adventurous in their tastes.
As a family, we now find time to be more active as we all have much more energy. I feel that I am calmer and more able to cope with the hectic family and work schedule life that I lead – thank you Mary.
Mary - Cork