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Sunday, March 23, 2014

books - feeding them the good stuff

I read a few interesting books recently about what we feed our children and how it impacts their behaviors, attitudes, emotions and physical bodies. GREAT information! If you find your child having strange reactions to food, or if you have some unexplained behavior issues with your child, these books are great resources.

I've broken down the basics for you. I encourage you to pick up these books though if you are struggling to determine what is happening with your child's nutrition, or in general for better food for your kids.

 Images from Google

Optimum Nutrition for Your Child's Mind
by Patrick Holford and Deborah Colson

I really enjoyed this book. It is a great resource for anyone who is trying to figure out if diet and nutrition is affecting their child's behavior, moods, and physical symptoms. I'd highly recommend it to parents who are struggling to find answers. There are checklists and questions, short surveys, etc. at the start of each chapter to help parents in figuring out if a certain symptom means something more nutritionally. 

A few things I learned from the book:
  • 5 essential brain foods: slow-release carbs, essential fats, phospholipids, amino acids and vitamins and minerals. These are good!
  • 5 anti-nutrients, as the author calls them: refined sugar, damaged fats, certain chemical food additives, toxic minerals, and food allergens. These negatively impact the brain and other body processes. 
  • Brains are mostly made out of fats. 
  • Too little sugar in kids could result in: fatigue, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, aggression, anxiety, sweating (especially at night), poor concentration, excessive thirst, depression, crying spells, or blurred vision (page 15). 
  • Protein + Fiber = perfect! "the more fiber and protein you include with any meal or snack, the slower the release of the carbohydrates," (page 15). 
  • If your child doesn't like to eat in the morning (breakfast is the most important meal!) then gradually increase what they eat. First give one strawberry. Next day two strawberries. Third day the strawberries with some nuts. Over a few weeks they will be eating more. (page 29)
  • Include protein with each meal. 
  • Antioxidants food = carrots, yams, dried apricots, squash, broccoli, peppers, kiwi, berries, tomatoes, citrus, seeds, beans, nuts, fish, wheat germ, tuna, onions, garlic, red grapes, beets, prunes, etc. (page 64) These foods help fight medical issues.
  • Many research studies show that eating foods with preservatives and food colorings negatively impact kids' behavior. 
  • Top allergies among kids: wheat and gluten grains, milk, eggs, yeast, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, garlic, soy. (page 83)
  • 1 in 5 adults and children have allergies. (page 80)
  • If you think your child has an allergy to a food, simply stop feeding your child that food for a few weeks to a month to determine if there are changes physically and behaviorally. 
  • Hyper children eat more sugar, studies have found. (page 133)
  • Feeding hyperactive children good fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6 helped decrease the irritability and other hyperactive behaviors. (page135)
  • More than half of hyperactive children test positive for a food allergy, especially MSG or food colorings and flavorings, additives, milk, chocolate and some to oranges. (page 136)
"From the very start, eating should be a matter of satisfying appetite, not something done for Mommy (or even starving people). Nor does it need to be a tidy activity. So let your child's appetite, not your desire to feed him, be the governing factor at mealtimes. If he wants more food one day, give it to him - he could be preparing for a growth spurt. Equally, if his hunger wanes the next day, don't force-feed him. He may be unwell or just tired." (page 190)

What's Eating Your Child? 
By Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND
  • Encourage you to feed children a fruit or vegetable with each meal for optimum heart health. 
  • "Most parents are unsuccessful with eating issues because the steps they are taking are too big and overwhelm the picky eater, and they are not prepared for how long it can take to change habits. ... picky eating was caused by  parents indulging in kids' natural tendency to restrict their food choices." (page 46)
  • Dairy is the most common food irritant.
  • Signs that your child may have a food allergy: pale, pasty-looking complexion; skin anomalies (eczema, hives, dermatitis, rashes); bowel issues, especially constipation, or frequent diarrhea); sick all the time; craving beyond reason dairy or wheat-based products (page 48).
  • E.A.T. system = Eliminate any irritants that are maybe causing negative reactions. Add one food at a time. Try one bit of this food each night for two weeks. (page 52)
  • "Resisting the urge to respond immediately to a child's initial dislike of a food takes a lot of patience on the part of parents and caregivers... it does require you to stay calm, cool and collected and to persevere. Don't stop after one success or failure - keeping going!" (page 53)
  • Tips for picky eaters: (page 56)
    • Give the child a choice of two foods so he has some control. 
    • Choose a food with some "familiar characteristics and try it at one meal or snack for two weeks." 
    • Be consistent - new foods can take 10-14 days to get used to. 
    • Ask children to eat one bite, and offer an incentive "eat one bite and we can go watch your show or play that game." 
    • Remain calm. 
  •  There is a great chapter on reflux, why it happens, why it's common, etc. 
  • Great resources, Web sites, etc. about being gluten free, including: (page 96)
  • Constipation in children is typically caused by either withholding or too little fiber in the food they are eating (page 122).
  • Adding fruits or vegetables to kids' food intake is the best way to avoid constipation. 
  • Some fiber foods include: baked beans, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat English muffin, raisin bran, carrots, strawberries and watermelon. peanut butter, popcorn, raisins. 
  • Every child should poop at least once or twice a day. What goes in the body in a day should come back out the same timeframe. (page 133)
  • Great chapters on anxiety, ADHD, processing, and ear infections. 
  • A good chart on page 257 about which foods to purchase organic. These are the ones that are best bought organic:
    • apples
    • peaches,
    • sweet bell peppers
    • celery
    • nectarines
    • strawberries
    • cherries
    • carrots
    • pears
    • frozen winter squash
Overall an excellent read, very informative!

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