School is right around the corner! Back to packing lunch, and managing the nutrition of our kids from a far. In many cases parents may choose foods out of convenience instead of nutritional density leading to a large amount of sugar consumption by kids during the school day. High sugar consumption and processed foods, all be it organic can cause issues for our kids during the school day and beyond!
If your child suffers from:
- Stomach aches, Constipation and diarrhea
- Fatigue, joint pain, and muscle pain
- Frequent infections, especially of the ears and throat
- Skin irritation and rashes
- Behavioral issues
- ADD/ADHD or other problems with concentration
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Frequent bed wetting
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
Take a look at the diet and their lunchbox selections before making a battery of provider appointments and planning extreme measures with the school.
A good list of things to avoid include:
- Sugar and fake sugar substitutes
- Preservatives (like BHT, TBHQ, MSG, etc)
- Food Dyes (red #40, Yellow #5, etc)
Of course, dramatic changes in diet, especially for a picky eater can seem overwhelming. Every parent wants their kid to be healthy and fit in, but sometimes “special diets” (even if they are sugar-less and not processed) can make a child feel left out.
Some easy tips to help your child (and the rest of the family) adjust:
- Empower your child- have your child help with the shopping, teach them how to read labels, or better yet choose foods without labels, like fruits and vegetables. Teach your child which symptoms to look for and how they can articulate or recognize them in their own bodies. Remind kids that food may not affect just their belly that food can affect their brain, skin, and sleep cycles too. And remind them that there is not often a direct ‘eat the food>> have a symptom” relationship.
- Emphasize all of the delicious foods that your child CAN eat, instead of focusing on the few they can’t.
- Eat what they eat. As parents we have an awesome opportunity to set the exact example we want our children to follow.
- Explain to kids about the food industry processing, how sugar (and other substances) can actually change brain chemistry and cause “addiction”.
- Teach your kids how to cook, teach them how to ask questions in restaurants and order food that they can enjoy. SKIP the kids menu, there is likely nutrient poor, processed selections that leave kids craving more junk instead of feeling full when they leave.
- Eliminate the chance for sneaking foods, or making non-optimal selections by taking all the processed foods, sugar foods and other “offenders” out of your home.
- Support them by removing the food from your house. Chances are, the offending food isn’t so great for anyone else anyway. It’s best to remove problematic foods like gluten and dairy before illness has a chance to take root.
- Understand this is a process and healing takes time. Kids taste buds will eventually change and their palates will improve.
- As parents (and our kids) we can educate other parents and teachers. In many cases the information is welcomed and may be a catalyst for changes in their own homes.
- Find support among your peers. The more visibility around healthy eating we can bring the more people will lend support. You many know many people with the same eating philosophy than you think!
Bottom line..change is hard but possible! Kids deserve every advantage we can offer! Enjoy the journey and reap the rewards.
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