Our children need a range of vitamins, minerals and trace elements in ample doses to support their energy and metabolic requirements as they grow and develop both physically and mentally.
A wholesome diet that contains predominantly natural whole foods is the best way to ensure our children meet their nutritional needs.
However, according to Biogen-sponsored health and fitness expert Lisa Raleigh, takeaways and convenience foods became more pervasive during the stricter lockdown as parents juggled homeschooling and work-from-home commitments.
“These commitments left less time for healthy food prep,” says Lisa.
Unfortunately, many of these bad eating habits are now entrenched in our lifestyles.
Stock up on wholesome ingredients
“While parents generally do the best they can in the circumstances, 4 of their 5 meals a day must be as good as they can be,” stresses Lisa.
“Opt for good natural ingredients whenever possible and make an effort to cook at least one meal a day.”
In this regard, what you keep in your home matters. Eliminate refined sugars and processed foods as much as possible and include predominantly whole, natural foods in your shopping list.
“Cook and prep on weekends and freeze for the week ahead if things get hectic or kids are home for the holiday. This will ensure you have the right quick-prep meals available for those busy days.”
Control those calories
Portion control matters, too, as do the cooking methods you employ when you’re trying to avoid unnecessary and unwanted weight gain.
“Reducing 200 calories a day from your diet can stimulate weight loss. Grill, bake or air fry as often as possible to reduce a meal’s fat content,” recommends Lisa.
And don’t make it easy to snack on junk by keeping these foods out of your pantry cupboard. “Kids can only eat what you provide in the house, so give them healthy alternatives.”
It is also important to use every opportunity to educate your children about the importance of proper nutrition.
“Teach them to respect their bodies and their health. For example, I share tips with my teenagers about how to make better food choices, like eating the bun or the fries with a burger, but never both. It’s an easy and uncomplicated way to manage their carb intake without creating neurosis around food.”
Lastly, aim to sit down for at least one meal a day. “Make it a time for the family to connect,” suggests Lisa.
Plug any potential nutritional gaps
While following these guidelines will certainly help to improve your family’s diet, it is not always possible to cover all the nutritional bases.
And we all know that some kids are picky eaters while others suffer from food allergies that make it impossible to eat certain foods, which can create potential nutritional gaps in their diet.
In the same way that the odd takeaway meal or a few convenience foods or snacks in a school lunchbox can make daily life a little more convenient, quality supplements formulated for kids also offer an easy and convenient way to ensure your children meet their daily nutritional needs.
For example, the extensive Biogen Kid’s Health range includes products that support a healthy immune system, like sugar-free Zinc-Mune Junior and Multi-Mune Syrup Junior, or provide digestive support from probiotic drops and chews to ensure they get more benefit from the healthful foods they eat.
And Biogen’s new Multivitamin Junior (coming soon) offers a complete daily nutritional solution that can support a balanced and nutritious diet to ensure your children get all the important vitamins and minerals they need to grow, develop and thrive.
It is always best to speak to your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before adding supplements to your child’s normal diet, and always ensure that you first work to create a balanced and nutritious whole food diet before looking to supplements for additional nutritional support.