Getting on top of what your child eats and drinks can help you see a clearer picture of what is really going on with their mental health. Cut out sugar and is the hyperactive child calmer? Increase omega 3 fats and is the anxious teenager more balanced? Swap refined carbohydrates for complex carbs and are the sugar highs and lows reduced allowing better concentration?
4 easy ways to improve your child's mental health with nutrition for the new school year:
1) Reduce refined sugar, especially at breakfast. Take note of cereal and yoghurt labels in particular and aim to keep sugar content of any packaged food below 10g per 100g. This may mean changing cereal brand or breakfast style.
2) Aim for a serving of good fats every day. This could be a smoothie for breakfast made with banana, blueberries, almonds & coconut milk, my "It's got it all" after school snack bar (recipe below) or teriyaki salmon for dinner.
3) Talk to your child about how much water they are drinking during the day. Try to ensure they have a glass of water with breakfast and that they have a water bottle to take to school that they like & will be happy to use. Try drinking out of it yourself to check it tastes okay and works properly! Being well hydrated is vital for concentration and energy levels.
4) Come and see me, for a personal consultation. I will help to refine how you are feeding your child and get to the heart of specific issues and concerns, creating a personalised nutrition plan that works for you all.
"It's Got It All" After School Snack:
Seeing your kids eat yummy treats that you know are tasty AND good for them, is the ultimate in satisfying.
80g coconut oil
50g date syrup (or maple or other equivalent)
150g finely grated sweet potato
2 tsp cinnamon
20g desiccated coconut
20g flaxseeds (also known as linseeds)
20g sesame seeds
20g chia seeds
20g sunflower seeds
2 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp icing sugar
Approx 1/4 cup boiling water
Melt oil, syrup & honey in a medium saucepan.
Add all other ingredients. Mix well. Lay on a baking sheet & bake for 15 mins at 180 degrees.
For topping, melt butter in a small pan. Add peanut butter, & sieve in cocoa & icing sugar. Stir to mix and add boiling water a spoonful at a time to loosen to pourable consistency. Drizzle over bar. Leave to cool, slice & serve. These keep in the fridge for a week.
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