Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
how to use this book dynamics within the family and we implemented family meals, changing the focus from how we were going to get the child to eat, to focusing on fun at mealtimes and allowing her father to get more involved with meal preparation and creating a safe space. The results were dramatic and her parents thanked me for not only helping their daughter to overcome her reluctance to eat, but for making the whole experience vastly more enjoyable for the whole family. The Recipes For readers not wanting to follow the 8 Steps, Wholesome Child works just as well as a recipe book. Simply pick and choose the recipes you like most to make delicious, nutrient-packed meals, snacks and treats for the whole family to enjoy. I’ve also created easy-to-follow Menu Planners that use the recipes found throughout the book in a more uniform breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner sequence. And of course, with so much focus on reducing sugar in our diets, I’ve tackled party food too. A word about probiotics There are many probiotic-rich foods that can contribute to the health of your family such as yoghurt, kefir, fermented vegetables and kombucha. However, many children’s diets – especially fussy eaters – lack these nutrients. While it is the ideal for kids to get their daily nutritional requirements from food, when it comes to supplementation there is one exception: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics. A child’s gastrointestinal tract is colonised by billions of friendly bacteria that help digest food, process toxins and manufacture vitamins and metabolites that are beneficial to their wellbeing. Alongside the beneficial bacteria, however, are harmful and benign bacteria. When an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria occurs, a child’s health is compromised, and this can affect their physical and mental wellbeing. The gut-brain connection is not one to take lightly. Mounting research shows supplementing from birth with probiotics can play a major role in maintaining a strong immune system and overall good health. Colic, allergies, IBS, constipation, diarrhoea, eczema, obesity, behavioural problems, depression, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders are just some of the medical conditions and disorders that may benefit from supplementation with probiotics. To choose the right probiotic for your child, speak to a trained health practitioner. Nutrients vs supplements For protein, healthy fats and important minerals and vitamins, a child’s requirements far exceed an adult’s in terms of the amount needed per kilogram of body weight. I had the privilege of working with paediatrician and lactation consultant Dr Leila Masson, the author of Children’s Health A to Z for New Zealand Parents. Dr Masson specialises in ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, behaviour problems, recurrent infections, breastfeeding and allergies and has helped thousands of children become healthier and happier. Like me, she believes that ’real’ nutrition is the cornerstone of a strong immune system and a healthy childhood and advises getting all the minerals and vitamins your child needs from his diet. However, if your child is deficient in a certain nutrient she recommends offering more foods that contain that specific nutrient and if necessary combining with the correct supplements. If your child’s diet is limited and you’re worried that he is lacking essential nutrients have him assessed by a paediatrician, dietitian or nutritionist before using supplements. Together, we compiled the list on the next page, outlining key minerals and vitamins needed to ensure healthy growth and development in childhood. The recommended food sources are a combination of Dr Leila Masson’s wholefood plant-based approach and my approach, which includes animal protein. For more information on probiotics and the gut-brain axis visit www.wholesomechild.com.au 15 Top five ways to increase friendly gut bacteria 1. Breastfeed for at least 12 months if you can. 2. Reduce sugar in the diet. 3. Use antibiotics only if necessary (antibiotics kill all of the friendly bacteria) and always give them with a probiotic supplement. 4. Supplement with the right strains for their age and stage. 5. Introduce probiotic-rich foods into the daily diet.