Registered Dietitian Alysa Bajenaru, with the brand KIND, a company that encourages peace in conflict areas of the world through working together to bring whole foods to the public as a better option, had this to say about specific nutrients, "Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) are the building blocks of a healthy brain and are best found in two foods, fish and flax. Proper iron levels are essential for daily energy, fighting off illness, and concentration. Iron is best absorbed when paired with vitamin C, so try pairing a bowl of oatmeal topped with California raisins with a small glass of fresh orange juice."
Bajenaru suggested parents consistently offer fruits and vegetables to children at meal time. Their taste buds are constantly changing, so a vegetable turned down today may be eaten tomorrow. Bajenaru added, "Get creative. My kids love making their own pizzas, tostadas, or anything else where they get to add their own toppings. Cut veggies up into small almost "sprinkle size" pieces and let them decorate their food. You'll be surprised at how many vegetables they will eat just because of the fun factor and rainbow of colors."
Another suggestion was to set out a veggie plate at lunch and dinner. "Place a rainbow of assorted vegetables and one or two healthy dips on the table. Allow kids to munch as they please during lunch and as dinner is being prepared. There's usually at least one vegetable that appeals to them."
On the issue of introducing new foods, Bajenaru said, "One of the best ways is to introduce the new food on the same plate as a favorite food. This lessens the anxiety a bit. For our kids, we will sometimes have them take a combo bite and actually combine the new food on the fork or spoon with something they already like. This seems to help tremendously"
Bajenaru suggested kids get involved by helping grow the food, picking out foods in the store or by helping cook and serve the food. She stated that children should avoid energy drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine, adding that adults should also avoid them. " Too much caffeine can cause nervousness, upset stomach, headaches, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure. In young kids, it doesn't take much caffeine to cross the line and feel these effects. Kids mostly get caffeine through sodas and blended coffee drinks. Stick with water, 100 percent fruit juice, and milk. For a special treat, try soda water with a squeeze of citrus or a splash of fruit juice."
According to Bajenaru, "The best breakfast combines protein, healthy fats and fiber. A healthy breakfast doesn't have to take long to make. Try a parfait with greek yogurt, KIND Healthy Grains and fresh or frozen berries, or an oatmeal pancake with nut butter and a little maple syrup. Avoid sugary cereals and bars that can cause a mid-morning crash."
Studies have shown that adding two KIND snacks a day, along with three healthy meals, can help people lose weight. These snacks are made with whole grains, quinoa oats, millet buckwheat, real blueberries and strawberries, honey and nuts. They are also gluten-free.