Healthy eat­ing for kids

Jamaica Gleaner - - WESTERN FOCUS -

Li­brary staff, ex­hibitors, and pa­trons en­gage in an aer­o­bics ex­er­cise ses­sion on the grounds of the li­brary dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony of last week’s work­place well­ness pro­gramme. JUST LIKE in adults, many of the health prob­lems that chil­dren have are caused, and can be helped, by di­etary choices. Many of the things we give our chil­dren to eat are not healthy, even some that are pro­moted as be­ing so. Here are some tips on feed­ing your child in a healthy way.

One of the chal­lenges that par­ents face in feed­ing their chil­dren is poor ap­petite or a de­sire for the un­healthy foods. Ap­petite stim­u­lants gen­er­ally do not work for more than one or two weeks, then it’s back to square one, so to speak. This can be helped by giv­ing chil­dren sup­ple­ments or foods with pro­bi­otics. This is a proven ef­fec­tive in­ter­ven­tion.

There are many sup­pos­edly healthy foods that are not as healthy as tra­di­tion­ally thought. Th­ese in­clude dairy prod­ucts, par­tic­u­larly milk and cheese. Th­ese have a wide range of neg­a­tive im­pacts on the body, in­clud­ing the pro­mo­tion of in­flam­ma­tion and al­ler­gic con­di­tions. Even though dairy prod­ucts have a high con­tent of pro­teins and cal­cium, be­cause the pro­teins pro­mote in­flam­ma­tion, they pre­vent the bones from be­ing able to ab­sorb the cal­cium.

An­other is fruit juices, es­pe­cially the com­mer­cial ones. Th­ese have high sugar con­tent – even the ones that are 100 per cent juice. Sugar pro­motes in­flam­ma­tion, with all the at­ten­dant prob­lems.


Break­fast ce­re­als also fea­ture among th­ese foods. Th­ese are usu­ally packed with sugar and pro­cessed foods as well as ar­ti­fi­cial in­gre­di­ents. Pro­cessed foods like sausages, franks, and ba­con are also on the ‘naughty’ list. Pro­cessed meats have healthy nu­tri­ents re­moved and ar­ti­fi­cial flavours, colour­ings, and preser­va­tives added. As much as pos­si­ble, fried foods and wheat prod­ucts (whole­wheat and moreso, white flour) should be min­imised.

As much as pos­si­ble, chil­dren should have cooked meals. Th­ese in­clude soy prod­ucts, legumes, ground pro­vi­sions, fresh veg­eta­bles and fruits, egg, ba­nana, bread­fruit, sweet potato, etc. They should be en­cour­aged to drink wa­ter in­stead of fruit juices. If they could be en­cour­aged to have veg­etable juices com­bined with a lit­tle fruit (such as pineap­ple or apple), that would be good. Snacks could con­sist of dried fruits such as prunes, raisins and dates, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, and yo­gurt. Por­ridge can be made from bul­gar, oats, ba­nana, plan­tain, rice, etc. Flaxseed or chia seed can be added to ce­real or yo­gurt to make them even more nu­tri­tious. Honey is also healthy.

It’s very im­por­tant to set a good ex­am­ple for them to fol­low.


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