Are we filling their tummies or nourishing their bodies?

Healthy Kids are Cool sponsored by Faithful to Nature and Flora Force organized a one-day workshop on Optimum Nutrition for Kids. My colleague Giselle and I jumped at the opportunity to attend this event and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Dr Werner Kerschbaumer, a homeopath and co-founder of Flora Force shook many of the general beliefs regarding health. We were asked questions like what do we need to eat:
– to have strong bones?
– to get protein?

Raw dairy is a good source of calcium however due to its high inflammatory nature, it might not be the best choice. Sardines, leafy greens like spinach and kale, seeds and nuts are excellent sources of calcium and possibly healthier choices especially when we don’t have access to dairy from a reliable farm. Most of the commercial dairy farms use excessive amounts of antibiotics, feed their animals genetically modified grains and are generally only interested in profits not in health.

Meat, eggs and dairy are well known sources of protein but, once again, unless we know where they come from, we might want to look into alternative options like beans, pulses, seeds, nuts and wild fish.

There is a lot of vested interest in the food and health industry so Dr Kerschbaumer urged us to become aware, inform ourselves, question the “norm”, what we have been told by media, society and our families.

He emphasised that we can all start improving our health right now with few simple changes. His golden list includes:

  • Think beyond – don’t stop on the surface, go deeper, ask questions
  • Start with taking care of your primary nourishment (this includes all our experiences, love, touch, tolerance and acceptance)
  • Water/hydration – start the day with a glass of water and a little squeeze of lemon. Remind your children to drink water
  • Vegetable/plant based diet – follow this kind of diet as much as possible
  • Remember to include fat and protein in your breakfast and have coffee later in the morning
  • Exercise (move your body, dance, laugh, just get out and move!)
  • Sleep – make sure that you get enough sleep. Children need between 9 and 13 hours of sleep, adults need between 6 and 10 hours of sleep every night

If asked to choose 1 food as the most nutritionally rich, he would choose blueberries.

Catherine Barnhoorn, author of Mila’s Meals, introduced us to the concept of intuitive eating. I truly resonate with this concept and believe that each one of us has the potential to find one’s own path to optimum health. A person with a healthy body and mind would be able to choose food based on their own current necessities and change according to any changes that happen in their bodies.

Catherine showcased a series of options to include in the children’s lunchboxes and emphasised the importance of nutritionally dense food.

To have a balanced lunchbox, one should include some protein, unrefined carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruit and vegetable.

Here is a short list of nutritionally dense food that you might want to include regularly in your meals:
Wild salmon
Kale/dark leafy green
Red onions and Garlic
Sardines and anchovies
Nuts and seeds
Cruciferous vegetables
Olive and coconut oils
Fermented vegetables

After attending the workshop, I felt very inspired to include more nutritionally dense food for our children.  So I have introduced food like sushi (nori sheets is a nutritionally packed wonder food), quinoa bread and super-power burgers (here I add anything from barley to oats to chickpeas or beans and all the beautiful veggies that can so easily be disguised!). My pasta tomato sauce is no longer a simple tomato based sauce but has vegetables and pulses all sneakily blended in. We also have a magic sprinkle (made with toasted almonds and seeds) that goes well with most savoury food and I absolutely love it when the children ask for more sprinkles!

Paulo Mondati-Muirhead, Pre-school Aftercare teacher