Everyone is keeping multiple plates spinning right now as we are all adjusting to a new way of life in light of the ongoing global pandemic. Millions of people are currently working from home, and kids are learning from home to slow the spread of the virus. We live in stressful, uncertain times, and it can be easy to let some things fall to the wayside. However, as tempting it might be to relax on nutrition and eat whatever sounds or feels good, nutrition is too important to toss aside. It is one thing to eat whatever you want as an adult, but children are dependent on food to develop and grow properly. Our daily lives have been upended, which is all the more reason to focus on your child’s diet to ensure they are receiving the nutrition they need to weather this storm, prevent complications like leaky gut, candida, or anemia, and have every advantage for the future.
For children under six months of age, breast milk provides all the nutrients they need. After six months, breastfeeding is no longer enough to be a child’s only source of nutrition, but that doesn’t mean you should stop breastfeeding entirely. Once a child is older than six months, breast milk should be complemented with other foods, but not replaced by other foods. Breast milk is still an invaluable source of nutrients that should be a part of your child’s diet until the age of two or further. Breastfeeding is not always easy, but it is worth the effort because of the advantages it provides your child later in life, including preventing or lowering risks of illnesses.
Simple Early Nutrition
As children age, their nutritional needs change. Until children reach age 1 or 2, they will be entirely dependent on caregivers for food. Stick with essential or pure foods. Children under a year old will need small meals multiple times a day; focus on giving young children fruits, vegetables, and other healthy organic foods. This is a chance to introduce new flavors to children early, so they have a broader palate later. Do not be surprised if your child doesn’t love every unique taste; be patient, don’t force anything, and watch for signs that your child is full. Once children reach an age where they can feed themselves, more options open up.
Snacks And Water
Growing children need more nutrition than adults who have already reached maturity. While you are working from home, it can be easy to only focus on your personal eating schedule, but don’t forget children have different needs. Take the time to set up healthy snack options you can quickly give your kids in between your work and their schooling. This is also a perfect opportunity to instill the habit of drinking water. Proper hydration is critical to a healthy life, and the sooner that children adopt the practice of drinking water throughout the day, the better. Drinking enough water is also a way to cut down on all-day snacking as a lot of the times we are hungry, we are actually thirsty or dehydrated.
Why A Healthy Diet Matters
Your kids may not appreciate healthy foods now, but they will later. Most kids would take pizza every day over whole grains or rice, but the benefits of a healthy diet in growing kids is undeniable. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts, eggs, and whole grains help your child’s immune system and prevent illness. A poor diet can create a domino effect that leads to more severe complications like leaky gut, anemia, or diabetes. Avoid processed or overly sugary foods; these foods can be ok as a special treat, but avoid relying on them as meal replacements or dietary staples. Processed food might be easy to serve, but they will not provide your children with the nutrients they need and can cause more problems than they solve.
If your kids are old enough, have them help with meal preparations. Teaching children to cook at a young age helps them later in life and instills the lessons of a healthy diet. Having your kids help prepare also gives them some control over what they are eating, leading to healthier eating and better mental health. We are all going through uncertain times, and a healthy diet can be a foundation that lets you kids cope with the other things happening.
As we all adjust to a new normal life of primarily staying home, it is essential nutrition is not neglected. Keep your kids on the right track and protect them from further complications by giving them a healthy diet. Breastfeed for as long as possible, but once a child is older than six months, breast milk must be complemented with other foods. As your children grow up, have them help cook and explain the importance of a good diet. Start the habit of proper hydration and healthy eating young to give your kids tools they will appreciate later in life while protecting their immune systems and encouraging healthy growth.