If you can make a difference to your digestion at a young age or give your kids a healthy start then there’s a lot less unravelling to do when they are older.
Below are my top ten tips that you can use to solve your child’s tummy problems naturally:
1. Give your child foods that are easy to digest
Eating foods that are easy to digest and combining them well puts less stress on your child’s digestive system. Ensure they drink water between meals, and incorporate leafy green vegetables with every meal. Using lemon in your cooking helps digestion.
It’s easy to make your own baby food using fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. Avoid processed and sugary food as much as possible with children – in fact, this is a good approach for the whole family!
2. Add herbs to your cooking to improve digestion
When cooking, incorporate herbs such as: ginger, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, dill, oregano, and thyme. These herbs are all digestive aids and will help your whole family’s digestion.
Young children may often need to try a new food up to 15 times before they’ll eat it; so don’t be afraid to use herbs in your cooking to introduce your child to new flavours.
3. Ensure your child eats at regular meal times
Eating similar food groups at roughly the same time each day helps regulate digestion. Regular healthy meals help regular bowel movements. Children also like routine from a very young age, and meal times are an effective way to break up their daily activities.
4. Be conscious of the portion sizes and what your child is eating
Eating too much is the number one cause of indigestion. The brain signals the feeling of fullness about ten minutes after you are actually full. Children are often more likely to stop eating when they’re full than adults are. If your child says she is full, don’t force her to finish what’s on her plate. Include healthy fats, such as coconut oil and avocado, as well as nuts and seeds (once the child is old enough for them to be included in their diet), as these will help keep your child full for longer.
If your child is hungry between meals, offer healthy vegetable snacks such as carrot or celery sticks. Good habits start early!
5. Teach your child to chew properly
Chewing well makes it easier for food to be digested properly in the stomach. Using child-sized cutlery will help ensure they put only a small amount of food in their mouth at one time, and encourage them to chew their food well before swallowing.
6. Give warm liquids to your child
Ice cold drinks can slow down the digestive process; the digestive muscles contract and water is not absorbed as well. Warm or room temperature water will encourage proper digestion. Drinking too much water at meal times can dilute the digestive juices; so it’s best to drink water in between meals.
7. Relax during mealtimes
Ensure your child sits when they eat, and avoid any distractions in the background such as TV. Rushing meals or eating on the run can increase stress and slow down the digestive process. Create a calming atmosphere for your child when they are eating and after they are finished, get them to sit for a few minutes.
8. Ensure your child practices good posture
When your child slouches they put extra pressure on the digestive organs in their belly. This can cause poor digestion. The best position is for them to sit with their shoulders back and their chin tucked in. This allows more room for the digestive organs and will help improve digestion.
9. Don’t feed your child late at night
Small children need to eat early in the evening and you should avoid having any family meals after 7pm, as this is when the digestive system starts to weaken. Eating late prevents the production enough enzymes and other digestive juices to digest food well. The food will sit in their stomach, which can disturb sleep and make your child tired and bloated in the morning.
10. Go for a family stroll after eating
Going for a short walk after a meal can help kick-start the digestive process.A 15 minute walk, within an hour of eating, will work wonders. As the weather warms up and we have extended daylight hours, it’s a lovely opportunity for a family activity, too!
Here are some ideas for their lunches, at home or in their lunch box.
20g coconut oil or butter
Palm-sized slice of turkey or meat of your choice
200g sliced mushrooms
80g baby spinach
¼ cup chopped basil
250g halved baby cherries
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Whisk eggs and parmesan together.
- Mix all ingredients in a pan.
- Lift and tilt pan to spread egg mixture evenly.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes or until frittata is almost set.
- Wait until cool then cut into slices.
Will last three days in the fridge.
½ cup rice flour
2 eggs lightly whisked
½ tsp oregano
500g chicken tenderloins cut into 3cm lengths
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Place the flour, egg and oregano in separate shallow bowls. Season the flour with salt and finely ground white pepper
- Place the chicken into the flour and gently toss to coat. Dip a chicken piece into the egg then roll in the flour to coat. Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Lightly brush with sesame oil
- Bake in preheated oven, turning occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
2 1/2 cups gluten-free self-raising flour; if it’s not self-raising add 1/2 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut nectar
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut oil melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 banana or 1 cup of berries
- Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan-forced.
- Grease a 12-hole, 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan.
- Combine flour, cinnamon and 2/3 coconut nectar in a bowl.
- Make a well in the centre.
- Add milk, oil and egg.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined.
- Add fruit chopped into muffin mixture.
- Spoon mixture into holes of prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
- Stand in pan for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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