Children, fitness and you

It’s no secret that nutrition and an active lifestyle are both key factors of raising a healthy child. However, feeding picky eaters and disciplining them with a healthy routine comprising of right foods and exercise can be challenging. It is essential that a nutrition and fitness regime begins when we are young as the foundation for healthy adulthood and our attitude towards food and fitness is built very early in life.

The benefits of physical activity for children go beyond healthy growth and development. An active child will have an improved self-esteem and a better social interaction with friends. Even simple activities like swimming, field games and dancing; that you can do with your kids will improve their resistance, flexibility and strength. Also, variety in exercise and physical activities is the key to ensure development of strength, promote strong bones, muscles, good posture and in general help them lead a healthy lifestyle.

A definite winner at getting exercises done while having fun is the Fitness First exclusive - XFit for kids. Comprising of activities built around the seven primal movements consisting of squats, lunges, push, pull, bend, twist and gait; qualified coaches ensure they are fitness sessions without disciplining like one. To help improve the three main pillars of physical fitness, strength, endurance and flexibility.

It is proven that kids who eat nutritious food, do better in school. But coming up with healthy and interesting recipes that children will actually eat is a task. A healthy meal should combine nutrient-rich foods from several food groups to supply protein, fat and carbohydrates needed to sustain energy and concentration for several active hours. Nutrition affects your child’s brain and concentration; so, providing them with foods from each of the five food groups (milk and dairy products, vegetables, fruit, grains and meat) will help them throughout their busy and active days.

Essential fats like Omega-3 fatty acids are really important for the development and proper maintenance of the brain. It can be absorbed from a range of sources that include mackerel, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds sardines, chia seeds, walnuts, anchovies, Omega 3 rich eggs, tuna steak, and salmon.

Bones are the framework of your child’s growing body. Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, maximises bone growth and shores up the skeleton during childhood and beyond. A small but significant amount of calcium in the bloodstream is needed for a normal heartbeat, blood clotting, and muscle function. Children need adequate calcium every day and many kids actually do not get enough for their nutritional needs.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in nutrients including antioxidant Vitamins A and C, folate, fibre, and potassium. They are also low in calories. Berries, apples, pears, and bananas are great to eat on the go and can be grabbed for a quick and filling nutritious meal.

Iron helps to combat dangerous diseases like anaemia. Include sources like red meat, egg yolks, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, molasses, and raisins. It is also advisable to encourage kids to drink citrus juice or eat other foods high in Vitamin C to increase the body’s absorption of iron. Although green vegetables contain lots of iron, in many vegetables it comes in a form that is difficult for our body to absorb, but Vitamin C helps.

Vitamin D too is vital and can obtained through eating fish, alfalfa and mushrooms, or even by spending enough time in the sun. It promotes bone and muscle growth in children, and a deficiency has been shown to stunt growth and cause weight gain in teenage girls. You should also devise meal plans to include lots of protein from meat, eggs, tofu and legumes. Proteins provide an essential building block that every child’s body needs in order to grow. At least one (but preferably two) of your child’s meals each day should include a high quality protein. A regular zinc intake with chocolate, peanuts, eggs, peas, asparagus and supplements should be ensured as zinc deficiency could cause stunted growth in children.


Start off their nutritious meal plans with these quick and easy recipes

Breakfast Egg Muffin

Ingredients:

3 whole eggs - Omega 3 rich
Mixed vegetables of your choice (onions, capsicums, mushrooms, parsley, mint)
1 table spoon of whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the other ingredient and mix accordingly. Ladle the egg mixture into prepared muffin cups to about ¾-full. Bake for 15-30 minutes.

Fish Fingers

Ingredients:

500g of white fish fillet or salmon fillet
2 tablespoon of flour
1 table spoon of corn starch
1 teaspoon of cumin
½ cup of bread crumbs
1 table spoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cut the fish fillet into rectangle slices. Mix the flour, corn starch, salt and cumin with water until sticky mixture is formed add the fish to the mixture marinate in about 1 hour, so that the fish strips absorb the mixture well. Remove the fish from the mixture and roll them in the bread crumbs. Meanwhile brush the baking pan with some oil, transfer the fish to the baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

With thanks to Fitness First visit www.fitnessfirstme.com.

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