Who says ensuring a balanced diet cannot be fun? As your children start to grow older, it is important to set strong foundations for them to reach their maximum potential.
All great reasons to give your child yummy and nutritious jelly!
As your children start to grow older, it is important to set strong foundations for them to reach their maximum potential. A healthy lifestyle coupled with a balanced diet is essential for their development especially their eyes, immunity, and bones and teeth.
These days, children and technology are practically inseparable. The increasing screen time is fuelled by the increase in availability of smartphones and tablets around them, be it in school or at home. Parents are also often guilty of using our phones or tablets to keep their children busy so that they can take some time out to catch a breather. Whether it is for educational purposes or for entertainment, children can be spending a good portion of their day staring into screens.
In a study done in 2017, 12-year-olds in Singapore spent almost 46 hours a week in front of a screen - that’s almost 6.5 hours a day! Another study published in 2015 indicated that children below the age of 7 spent at least an hour a day on smartphones or tablet and the number is just increasing.
This is a cause for concern as excessive screen time limits children’s exposure to actual social interaction and can have a negative impact on how children eventually grow up and learn to interact with others around them. A research in South Korea on children aged 24 to 30 months showed that the delay in language-learning increased proportionately with time spent in front of the TV. Additionally, too much screen time can also lead to overstimulation that is disruptive to a child’s sleeping habits causing restless sleep or develop irregular sleeping patterns. It also increases your child’s risk of developing an unhealthy posture. One thing for sure, with so much screen time, blue light emitted from mobile devices can cause damage to children’s eyes, causing eyestrain, dry eyes and increase their risk of eye diseases later in life.
Unfortunately, modern technology is here to stay so it is important to ensure that there are precautions put into place to help reduce the risk of vision problems for your child. One way would be to limit the amount of screen time. Set aside time for the entire family to unplug from all technological devices. Instead, bring your child out to a park or playground. It is also important to eat right. Eye-nourishing foods such as avocado, spinach, broccoli and kale are high in Lutein, Vitamin A and B12, which can help protect your child’s eyes from within.
The key to a healthy child is a strong immune system. Young children will need time to build up their immunity and it is important that children receive adequate nutrients to fortify their immune system.
During toddler stage, tods tend to explore the world by putting things they find in their mouths and some of these items may not be as sanitized as we hope they are. As children grow older, they get increasingly exposed to the environments such as daycare and playgroup where germs are abundant, making it virtually impossible to germ-proof them.
While being exposed to germs is a part of life and exposure to different bacteria and viruses can build a child’s immunity, it does not mean that we cannot take active steps to fortify their immune system to help reduce the frequency and severity from bugs that they might catch.
In order to maintain a healthy immune system, having a balance of gut bacteria is key, both in children as well as adults. They help protect your children’s digestive tract and support their immune system. When gut bacteria becomes imbalanced, the body’s ability to fight off infections weakens, increasing the chances of experiencing colds and flu.
Foods like yogurt contain probiotics which can boost your child’s friendly gut bacteria. Opt for plain or greek yogurt instead of flavoured ones to reduce the amount of sugar your child eats. Instead, add honey, maple syrup or fruit for some sweetness. Avoid highly processed foods such as instant noodles as they can be challenging for the digestive system to break down, robbing the body from nutrients rather than providing any.
Bones and teeth
Strong bones make strong bodies. Bones provide structure to the body and play an important role of protecting your organs. Bone health is usually only thought of as we age but do you know that the earlier your child builds their bone health, the stronger their bones will be later?
Skeletal development happens most rapidly in infancy and strengthens during childhood. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 90% of peak bone mass is achieved by the age of 18 to 20, making youth the best time to build strong bones.
Building strong bones and teeth require intake of calcium on an ongoing basis. The calcium absorbed into our body creates some sort of a calcium bank. Each day our body loses calcium through our skin, nails, sweat, urine and faeces. As we are unable to produce calcium on our own, it is important to get it from the food we eat. If daily calcium is not met, your body will start taking calcium from the bones instead.
According to SingHealth, the recommended intake of calcium for children age 9 and below ranges between 500mg to 700mg, and increases to 1,000mg in adolescent years. A well-balanced diet consisting of milk, yogurt, green leafy vegetables and cheese can build up your child’s calcium bank. Give your child at least 2 – 3 cups of low fat milk every day. Other types of calcium sources can also come from bread, almonds, tofu, and soybean products.
It is also important for your child to receive the recommended amount of Vitamin D as it helps the body absorb and retain calcium. If your child is not getting enough sunlight, foods such as cheese, egg yolks and oily fishes can also help.
However , with today’s hectic and busy lifestyles, a balanced, home-cooked meal might not be a luxury that is readily available to all on a daily basis. While we can try to make healthier choices to avoid foods that are high in unhealthy oils, salt and MSG when eating out, it is still a challenge to make meal choices that allows us to obtain all the nutrients we need from food alone. When it comes to children, some might be picky with certain foods making it an even greater challenge for children to adequately obtain all the essential nutrients they need to meet healthy growth milestones from just food alone.
Who says ensuring a balanced diet cannot be fun? With our new LAC jellies, parents can now give children something they will enjoy eating with much relish and more importantly know that their child is getting the nutrients they need to maintain healthy vision, boost their immunity, and build strong bones.