Not focusing on personality nor attitude (though both can take a sharp nosedive if a child is hungry), the mental makeup of the child is dependent on both stimulation as well nutrition. There is just no hiding from that fact. A sick or malnourished child would find it more difficult to concentrate or work on her mental prowess when deprived of important nutrients. Even Maslow’s hierarchy of needs propagates this fact that unless the basic need (including food) is not met one cannot focus on the higher orders. By default, then it becomes important to ensure that the children eat highly nutritious food.
I remember my mom would get my sister and me to eat fish by telling us of a boy in my class who was this super brainy kid (however school defines that) and he ate loads of fish. Years later I realized that she was right on the mark with her fishy tale. An active component in fish is DHA and DHA provides brain boosting benefits in infants! So naturally I went into motherhood all excited with thoughts of my children gorging on fish and sharpening their little minds. But my children had other plans ( as they always do! :)). By choice they were vegetarians and didn’t appreciate non vegetarian food! I started my research into natural foods rich in DHA and apparently other than algae there are virtually no vegetarian sources of DHA. Further reading brought out the fact that the body can synthesize DHA from omega 3 rich foods like nuts but omega 6 blocks the conversion!!!WHAT! There are only so many walnuts that my children would eat but that would still not be good enough. I was stumped with the realization that lovingly cooked home food was not going to be good enough for my children.
A park side conversation with another mother led me to start a health food drink primarily for my super fussy boy but soon I realized that this was not just helping the fussiness but also supplementing his food intake by providing vital nutrients, DHA being the main one for me.
The logic for supplementation is very simple. Our food quality isn’t as pure nor as nutrient rich as it was when compared to the earlier days (and laced with sufficient pesticides and chemicals). Then, one may find it super difficult to serve a little of everything every day. Doctors have started recommending supplements (like vitamin D) right from babies to adults to senior citizens. So I figured a yum chocolate health food drink would be a good supplement to my kid’s diet.
If you are a mother like me who is going down the supplement route, then a little due diligence will go a long way. First and foremost, check for the presence of brain boosting ingredients like DHA. Then of course other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Iron etc. need to be part of the supplement. I am very wary of sugar content and fat levels, so those are the other things on my radar when I chose supplements. Lesser the better when it comes to sugar and as for fat, I prefer they get their fat intake from natural fats like whole milk, ghee and oils that are healthy and essential for our growing munchkins.
All in all, an active lifestyle, a healthy diet and appropriate supplements will go a long way in ensuring our kids have a strong constitution.
Image Credit: Parenting Squad