Pre School Preschool Nutrition

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First trimester do's and don'ts

Preschool Nutrition

  • 01
    Child Hyperactivity

    The type of diet that your child eats will affect their mood. For example, there is increasing evidence that food additives are responsible for hyperactivity in children. Artificial food colourings, preservatives and other additives are becoming more and more implicated in excitable behaviour in youngsters. In one recent study, researchers found that removing food additives from the diet of a group of 3-year-olds caused a reduction in the hyperactive behaviour that had been reported by their parents. When the food colourings and preservatives were added back into the children’s diets, the parents reported an increase in hyperactivity. The study proved to be far from conclusive, but the researchers felt that if the findings were confirmed by further studies, the removal of food additives from children’s diets might help to reduce their long-term risk of behavioural problems.

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  • 02
    Sweet Tooth

    It is perfectly natural for growing children to prefer the taste of things that are sweet over those that are savoury. In fact, one study conducted in the United States in 2009 found that the faster children grow the more they prefer sweet tastes. However, although children may have a much sweeter tooth in their formative years, it does not take away the fact that eating too much sugar is bad for them and can lead to health problems now and in the future. These include obesity, diabetes and dental cavities. Filling up with sugary treats means that children are less likely to get the essential nutrients needed for healthy growth and development.  We’re not suggesting that you should ban all treats for your youngster, as this is impractical and unnecessary – there’s no need to ban candy and sweet snacks completely. Bans tend to have the opposite of the desired effect by making such foods seem even more attractive. However, it’s important to work out how you can keep treats as exactly that – a treat, as good habits that are formed early can be carried on into the future.

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  • 03
    Vitamin D

    Rickets used to be a very common childhood bone disease associated predominantly with a lack of vitamin D, a vital vitamin which is obtained through diet and exposure to sunshine. Rickets is characterised by bowing of an affected child’s legs, swelling of their wrists and ankles and a failure to thrive. Incidences of the disease were greatly reduced with the introduction of vitamin D supplementation of infant formula and milk, leading to the condition becoming rare. However, cases of rickets continue to be reported in the certain areas of the world; both in the developed and developing world. The Middle East has a reportedly high incidence of rickets in some communities, despite the high levels of sunshine found in this region.

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  • 04
    Childhood Obesity

    The number of overweight children in the Middle East and Gulf region has increased dramatically in recent years. In the 1970s the prevalence of childhood obesity in the Middle East was between 4 and 5%. In 2006 this had jumped to 17.6% and in 2008, more than one third of all adolescents and children in the region were obese. The statistics point to a potential healthcare time-bomb for the future, as many lifestyle illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease are related to the condition. For most children, overweight is the result of unhealthy eating patterns (too many calories) and too little physical activity. Obesity in childhood leads to obesity in adulthood and once eating patterns have been established in childhood, they can be difficult to reverse. Making sure that your child eats a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet can directly influence their future good health as adults.

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  • 05
    Vitamin E

    Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it is stored in the body and excreted much more slowly than water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that limits the production of free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules released into the body as a bi-product of normal metabolism and can damage cells. Vitamin E is important for immunity, the repair of DNA repair and other essential metabolic processes.

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  • 06

    Fish is a great food for you to give your child. Fish is a low-fat, high quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). It is rich in calcium and phosphorus and is a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. The nutrients contained within fish help build a strong heart and nervous system and is good for the overall health of infants and young children.

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  • 07

    Zinc is an essential mineral that is necessary to promote immunity, protein synthesis and wound healing. A zinc deficiency has also been associated with damage to DNA. Zinc is vital for healthy growth and development through the childhood years and the best way to meet your child’s needs is to include foods that contain zinc. The recommended daily amount of zinc for 4-8 year olds is 5mg per day.

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  • 08
    High Fibre Food

    Foods that are high in fibre are very good as a part of a well-balanced diet. High-fibre foods help food move through the digestive system and may protect against gut cancers and constipation in later years. It may also lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and help prevent diabetes and heart disease. Foods with fibre are also beneficial because they are filling, with the fibre itself adding no calories. This discourages overeating and can help prevent obesity. There are many tasty foods that are great sources of fibre, including fruit, nuts and whole-grain cereals, so your child can enjoy meals and snacks that are both appetizing and healthy as a part of their diet.

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  • 09

    As a busy mum, you may be grateful that you have a television to act as a form of a surrogate babysitter when you need to concentrate your focus on other activities, such as the housework. But keeping your child occupied by sitting them in front of the screen in the corner can have serious negative consequences for your little one’s cognitive development, as it encourages passivity and can stifle their imagination. Television for all children should be limited. From the age of two years, your child’s total television viewing time should not exceed one hour a day and even that amount is a lot for an active toddler. Your television should be turned off when not being actively viewed, such as during mealtimes and you should restrict viewing to one room only, keeping it out of your child’s bedroom.

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  • 10
    Vitamin C

    Vitamin is probably the best known of the vitamins, with most people aware that it is an essential compound for healthy that is found in citrus fruits. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is the main component of connective tissue and the most abundant protein found in the body. Vitamin C strengthens blood vessels and helps to repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues when they are damaged. It minimises bruising, helps gums to stay healthy and boosts the immune system. It is also vital in the absorption of iron from iron-rich foods, so eating a food or drinking a juice containing vitamin C at the same time as eating an iron-rich food will maximise the uptake of iron into the body.

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If there’s anything you’re unsure about, we’re here to point you in the right direction!