by Joy Dembo, married, with an 18 year old son and a 25 year old daughter.  Addicted to the www, particularly Twitter. Recruitment Response Handling Consultant and Freelance Copywriter, vegetarian and animal lover. 

We are all into the last school term and your child should has either settled into the school routine  or is in the process of doing so.

You can help by ensuring your  child is getting enough sleep, is not  stressed out,  is getting sufficient exercise, and most importantly, is eating a properly balanced meals  with the essential Vitamins and Minerals needed to stay healthy, energetic and alert?

Make sure your child gets enough sleep. The “Early to bed, early to rise” verse is not as clichéd as you might think.  A child needs ample sleep in order to concentrate and focus at school.

But, what about nutrition? Most people lead a fast-paced lifestyle, which can,  unfortunately, lead to bad eating habits.  Sorry mom, but hamburgers and chips, fried chicken or sausages and…errrr…. chips, and pizza (with or without chips) are NOT nutritional meals. Fruit, vegetables, high fibre foods, dairy products, eggs and lean meat and fish are all essential to your child’s well-being.

IRON is essential in the building of healthy brain tissue. Research has shown that increased iron levels lead to better concentration in children. If your child is lethargic, apathetic and irritable (well, more than usual!), his iron levels could be low.  Lean beef mince, eggs, dried fruits, nuts, whole grains and green leafy veggies (yep, the dreaded spinach!) are excellent sources of natural iron.

PROTEIN is essential “brain food” for children. Your child should be eating small portions of lean meat or fish, eggs, or plant protein such as soya, lentils, tofu and other pulses.

UNREFINED CARBOHYDRATES will provide the body with the necessary supply of glucose. Wholewheat bread, oats and brown rice are great examples of “good carbs” and they will keep your child’s glycaemic index on an even keel and ensure that his blood sugar is kept at optimum level.

CALCIUM is vital for the growth of young brains and bones!  Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium.

OMEGA-3, found mainly in salmon, tuna and sardines, is important for optimal brain function in children, and research has shown that it has proven to be an effective alternative to drugs, in the treatment of ADD and ADHD.

In conclusion, if your child refuses to eat healthy foods, you need to try and re-educate them. Fortunately, there are scientifically tested natural supplements, yummy fruit flavoured vitamins and delicious protein shakes available on the market.

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