Eat Well Kids

I originally began this post as an essay on the health benefits of chocolate but have been side tracked (hard to believe any subject could be more pressing than chocolate) this week by kids and nutrition. There have been questions on what’s best to feed kids to concerns over kids’ sensitivity to nutrition information and a cool study done by kids on the safety of produce in Shanghai.  So kids are on my mind.

What may surprise people about nutrtition and kids is that the time to think about what is best to feed your child is when you are thinking about getting pregnant.  Yes, even before the white strip turns blue you need to be getting your diet in shape.  The most pressing nutritional need before pregnancy is getting enough of the vitamin folic acid. Getting enough folic acid is very important before and in the early months of pregnancy to protect your child from neural (spinal) tube defects.  China does not fortify foods with folic acid ( many developed countries do) so if you are thinking about getting pregnant , take a supplement.

I won’t go through every stage of childhood nutrition but if you are struggling with how to feed your kids a nutritious diet  I recommend you check out  a web site called www.feedingyourkids.com   The site has lots of straight forward tips on how to offer healthy, fun and delcious foods that kids will enjoy.  And you can always send questions to me at info@eatwellshanghai.com

When parents ask me how to get kids interested in the food they eat, my first suggestion is to bring them in to the kitchen and get them cooking and baking.  Even small children can stir and wash fruits and vegetables..  All kids need to know what goes into bringing food to the table. And I would suggest going even farther; take them on local farm visit ( see March 4th blog), and show them where the food they eat comes from before it gets to the supermarket.  Another way to get kids thinking about the food they eat is to experiment with food.  This can be as simple as changing an ingredient in a dish to something more sophisticated like the recent science fair project taken on by a group of Shanghai 8th graders.

The group entered an online science fair with a project called Shanghai’s Dilemma, looking at the best place in Shanghai to buy safe, fresh produce.  The study compared the bacteria and pesticide levels of fruits and vegetables from local wet markets and  the  international supermarkets.  I encourage you to check out the team’s  website for the results; radians.weebly.com <http://radians.weebly.com/    The concise  website  documents the project, the findings and the science behind it.

The team will head to Washington D.C. in June to participate in the final round of the competition and I wish them the best of luck.

I will end by reminding you that it is never to early to teach kids to Eat Well and Live Well !

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