Switching to a healthy diet can have a profound effect on your child’s health.

When it comes to your child’s health, there are a few smart steps you can take to help reduce their number of sick days, boost their brain power, and keep their energy levels at their peak.

You already know, of course, that mealtimes are not just about filling up small tummies. It’s also about choosing foods that will help your little one’s body perform at its best. Sitting down for family meals is one of the safest ways to boost overall well-being and help children establish food habits that will last long into adulthood, says dietician Idonette van Zyl. It also helps to use a variety of foods to produce balanced meals and allow kids to participate in food preparation to get used to a variety of tastes and textures. In addition, you can also try to target specific conditions using certain ingredients, such as these…

Nip allergies in the bud

The thing with food allergies, says Idonette, is that they manifest in so many different ways, from eczema to postnasal drip, sore tummies, and more. To an extent. “Usually, symptoms are linked to specific foods. So once you find the culprit, you can eliminate it to improve the allergic symptoms, as well as the child’s quality of life,” she says. The younger your child, the briefer the period of elimination. You might find that she outgrows the allergy within six months if the allergy is caught early.

Brain foods: Omega 3

One of the easiest ways to fast track your little genius is by snacking on foods rich in omega 3, as early as pregnancy. Adding oily fish like salmon, pilchards, anchovies, and sardines to his diet will also power brain development, or try sprinkling flaxseed over cereal or mixing it into smoothies. Alternatively, Idonette recommends mixing in two teaspoons of canola oil in your little one’s milk.

Ditch the sugar

Let’s get one thing straight: there’s the manic energy that follows a sugar rush, and there’s the slow-burn energy that gets your toddler through a busy day of nursery school. Obviously, we want more of the latter and less of the former. So, skip the sugar-laden drinks and baked goods when you’re packing lunch (even flavoured yoghurts might be a culprit here) and go for foods with a high protein and fibre content that keeps a little tummy full. For example, a wholewheat sandwich with cheese and fruit on the side.

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