Nutrition, together with genes and the environment, constitute one of the three most important factors that determine kids’ both physical and mental development. Especially in the first years of their life, the quality of nutrition is decisive as to how kids’ health and mental performance will evolve.
The first three years of your kid’s life are a period of rapid growth and a unique opportunity to build a solid foundation for their body and immune system. Their mental and physical development is very quick; their brain size doubles and their body weight becomes quadruple. You realise that such growth is very demanding as far as body needs are concerned.
Kids of all ages should follow a balanced diet regime, which will provide them with all necessary vitamins, minerals and basic nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Bad nutrition makes kids more resilient to infections. They get easily sick, they are more likely to miss school and face difficulties in keeping up with their everyday school tasks.
At this age, kids’ eating behaviour patterns are shaped, the same patterns that will define them as adults.
A kid that doesn’t eat properly will become an adult with bad eating habits, who will get easily sick, have lower cognitive performance and face greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and many more nutrition-oriented diseases.
What we certainly know about organic products is that they are free of chemicals and pesticides, which have been linked to certain forms of cancer.
Organic is a product that is grown and processed without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, sewage sludge, GMOs and radiation. Organic meat, eggs and dairy products come from animals that do not consume antibiotics and growth hormones.
Organic products should be a conscious choice for all of us, not just for our kids. They should be part of our daily eating routine, ideally integrated into a diet based on the principles of the Mediterranean Diet. This, at least for kids, means high consumption of olive oil, vegetables, legumes, fruits and unprocessed cereals, average to high consumption of fish, average consumption of meat and meat products, and low to average consumption of dairy products.
However, our everyday life is so hectic that it’s impossible to prepare our own meals and have total control of the ingredients we consume as a family. So, many times, we turn to packaged foods, the quality of which is most of the times questionable. A safe trick is to always read the ingredients indicated on the food labelling. All ingredients, additives and water are given in descending order of weight. Labelling also informs us about possible sweeteners and other chemicals, some of the most unhealthy ingredients for our kids.
This article was published in “MEDI-ΣΥΝ”, Issue 41, Winder 2016-2017