Sugary snacks and packaged foods contain sneaky ingredients that can trick bodies into thinking they are super-hungry, resulting in obesity, mood swings, poor concentration and low energy levels.
“Processed foods like chips, biscuits, dressings and noodles contain flavor enhancer MSG,” says nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin. “It interferes with insulin and blood sugar regulation, causing an increase in hunger.”
Breakfast cereals and ready-made baked goods should also be avoided. “Some contain high fructose corn syrup which is linked to a reduced ability to suppress the areas of the brain that control appetite and motivation to eat, leading to increased hunger levels,” she says.
Foods containing artificial sweeteners, like fat-free yogurt and diet cordial, contain little energy and trick the body into thinking it’s going to eat. “Because the body is geared up to eat, it will feel excessively hungry and this can result in poor concentration,” says Zoe.
Developing young palettes with colourful food that is low in sugar, fat and salt, will condition their bodies to expect and crave the healthy stuff.
Here are Zoe’s top five favourite foods for happy kids.
Chia seeds are a source of fibre and omega-3 essential fatty acids critical for brain development. Chia seeds are incredibly versatile and can be added to smoothies, made into porridge, sprinkled on salads and used in baking.
Whole rolled oats are brimming with fibre and B-vitamins. Starting the day with oats as opposed to a refined grain supplies children with a slow release of energy to assist concentration and stable energy levels. Use to make muesli bars, porridge or add to smoothies.
Avocado is a source of monounsaturated fats and given the brain is around 60% fat, healthy fat and healthy fat have been linked to improved mood. Serve mashed on toast, as a dip, or stir into mashed potatoes for a boost at dinnertime.
Natural yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium and healthy bacteria. Protein provides essential amino acids, which play a critical role in production of neurotransmitters that act as chemical messengers within the brain and are responsible for mood. Serve at breakfast, as a snack with fruit or as a dip.
Eggs are a source of protein and the nutrient choline, which assists during brain development to improve cognitive and neurological function. If allergic to eggs, other sources of choline are spinach, milk, soy beans and beans.
THE SUPER ELIXIR Super Kids Peanut Butter Shake
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1-2 tsp peanut butter
- 300ml of rice or almond milk
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 scoop of THE SUPER ELIXIR Super Kids Chocolate Protein
Blend all ingredients in high speed blender and serve with extra peanut butter and granola.
KIDS NOURISHING PROTEIN
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