Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Every Kid Needs Nutrients

Are school lunches stabbing you (the parent) in the back? You are trying so hard to get your child to eat right but once they go to school, the cafeteria ladies place junk onto their lunch tray and disintegrates all of your hard work in one slimy ‘splat!’

Your mindset needs to be: I’m in competition with my kid’s school lunch foods! How do I keep my kid eating healthy instead of the unhealthy processed foods they serve?

To those of you who don’t put that much of an emphasis on healthy foods where your children are concerned, consider this: Research suggests deficiencies in nutrition can be the cause of behavioral problems. I know some parent’s ears would perk up if they caught wind of this. I can hear them now! “Eating the right minerals and vitamins will improve his behavior? Which ones? I need to know!”
Deficiencies in nutrition can also lead to everything from asthma to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.  There is a world of nutrients they might be missing.

“Nope, nope, nope. Spit out the mouth full of skittles you just put in!” You watch as your child’s filled cheeks deflate as they spit the candy into the trash. You make them open their mouth checking for any hidden treasures. Once you find none you reward them with four skittles .They aren’t too ecstatic but take an angry monstrous bite showing you how they feel about the wasted candy.  While giving your children the essential nutrients they need, banning sweets is unnecessary. But a less frequent intake is highly advisable.

Los Angeles-based dietitian Ashley Koff, co-author of Mom Energy (Hay House) states, “Any food found in nature will provide a healthier balance of nutrients than a processed, fortified ‘food product’ can.”

Magnesium serves a very important role that corresponds and works together with calcium. Calcium is a muscle contractor while Magnesium is a muscle relaxant. Does your child have restless leg syndrome, inability to settle down at night, muscle cramps, etc.? If so, your child is not receiving enough Magnesium.

•Ages 4-8 need 110 mg
•Ages 9-13 need 350 mg.
•Magnesium is found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables

Potassium: “If your child isn’t getting enough potassium, he may be dehydrated – even if he’s drinking plenty of water,” says Koff. Potassium ensures that muscles, the digestive tract, and the heart are functioning properly. It also keeps the body hydrated by drawing water into the cells. Lack of this mineral can cause weakness and fatigue, muscle cramps, and digestive problems.

•Ages 1 to 3 need 3,000 mg
•Ages 4 to 8 need 3,800 mg
•Ages 9-13 need 4,500 mg
•Potassium is found in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and greens.

Vitamin D is essential to building strong bones and decreasing the risk of diabetes, asthma, allergies, and some autoimmune diseases. Studies have showed that low levels of vitamin D affect our mood. Although it’s labeled a vitamin, it’s actually a hormone that most foods don’t have. Children today don’t spend much time out in the sun which leads to the lack of vitamin D.  Sunlight exposure is the best source. Lack of this hormone leads to muscle pain, weak bones or teeth.

•Infants need 400 IU
•Children need 600 IU
•Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified milk or other “vitamin D fortified” foods.

Feed your child real foods.  Tell the school’s food for lunch (not the lunch lady, please) to take a step back and watch itself when dealing with your child! Your kid may feel extremely embarrassed when they see you smack talking their food; but it’s totally worth it when you see your child as healthy as can be.

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