With Lucinda Miller, Naturopath and Author
Although dealing with staying at home has had its own major stresses, one of the benefits has been just that: being at home more, which means we’ve been given an opportunity to experiment more in the kitchen. We’ve gained back the time we’d have otherwise spent commuting to work and school, and we’ve rediscovered the joy of simple things again. Healthy eating needn’t be stressful, and if we get back to the basics of real food, without reaching for convenience items, we’ll be doing our bodies and minds a great service.
With our delight in all things delicious, we wanted to learn more about the power of food. We spoke with naturopath and author Lucinda Miller, who gave us more insight into nutrition and taught us about the incredible benefits of certain superfoods.
Convenient or Not?
Quick-fix foods can be really misleading. That jar of fat-free pasta sauce might seem ‘healthy’, but the 24 ingredients would suggest otherwise. Often brands may remove the sugar or fat, but add in starches, aspartame, preservatives and additives. Our bodies don’t understand these substances, and they won’t nurture us. Before you reach for the jar, take a moment to look at what you’re actually putting into your system.
What Can Good Food Do?
Great food not only makes our bodies operate better, but it also helps with IQ, curiosity, creativity and self-esteem. Research has shown that kids who eat more fruit and veg are less likely to get bullied or be bullies. Also, getting the right nutrients will ensure your immune system stays strong, which means you’ll stay healthy. Eating well can also lead to improved sleep and mood!
So, what are some of the best foods to feed our kids? Here are 5 superfoods that basically have superpowers…
1. Blueberries: Just a handful of these at breakfast can help kids with concentration and focus all day, even into the afternoon! These are great for eyesight and building immunity too.
2. Kiwi Fruit: These are full of vitamin C, which will help to keep kids fighting fit. They also have prebiotics to help good gut bacteria thrive, which means your kiddos will have smooth digestion and calm tummies.
3. Broccoli: These mini green ‘trees’ are great for little bellies, and keep livers healthy.
4. Salmon: This oily fish is full of brain-boosting goodies including omega-3, vitamin D and choline (which helps our brains function better). Give these Superhero Salmon Fishcakes a go if you need a kid-friendly recipe!
5. Oats: These powerhouse grains are full of fibre, including the amazing fibre beta-glucan, which lowers cholesterol, improves blood sugar management, and boosts the immune system. Try these yummy Raspberry Snack Attack Balls to get a delicious serving of oats!
Got a Fussy Eater?
Knowing what foods are healthiest is a great start, but what do you do if you’ve got a little one who’s reluctant to try new things? If your kiddos turn up their noses at anything that isn’t nugget-shaped, fear not! First of all, you’re not alone, and secondly – habits can change. The most important thing is to never, ever force your kids to eat a particular food. Instead, start by appealing to their curiosity. Take your kids to the farmer’s market to explore a variety of foods, meet the people who grow them, and even sample new flavours without pressure.
Make mealtimes more fun! Involve your kids in the kitchen and ask them to help you prepare the veggies or stir the sauce. Including your kids in making a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner with you may encourage them to nibble something they might not have otherwise tasted. Encourage a communal atmosphere around meals, so it’s a relaxed and social experience.
Also, find ways to be more playful with food. Veggies don’t have to be in their ‘raw’ form to be beneficial. Try making carrot & poppyseed waffles or courgette brownies. Texture can be a huge factor for kids, so try to experiment with a variety of ways to serve food. If your kids aren’t interested in chomping carrots, try grating them into a sandwich, or steaming or mashing them. You could also try making edible art with your kids so they can munch their masterpieces!
Whole Foods For Our Whole Selves
Speaking with Lucinda reminded us that good nutrition really feeds us in ways beyond our bellies. Eating well can have a positive impact on our mood, sleep, patience, and family dynamics. If you provide a calm atmosphere where kids can explore and try tasting new dishes, you’ll create healthy links between emotions and food. We all want to raise kids with strong bodies, and the foundation begins with us as parents. Be the role model, but not the enforcer. Help your kids to create good habits by showcasing your own, and let them learn by example that choosing nutritious treats is a way to feel better inside and out. Not only can tucking into superfoods charge our bodies and strengthen our immunity, but these healthy choices can make us feel like superheroes too.
Lucinda Miller is the founder of NatureDoc, and runs a team of UK-wide nutritional therapists specialising in pregnancy, baby, toddler and child nutrition. She also runs an online www.naturedoc.shop stocking child-friendly food supplements and natural skin care. She has been practising as a naturopath for over 20 years, qualified in Functional Medicine and is author of the bestselling book The Good Stuff. She is the mum of three and lives in Wiltshire. www.naturedoc.co.uk