Nutrition for children under the age of 5

Our fantastic Auntie Janis, our head chef and co-owner, has collaborated with our amazing nutritionist Julie Montague.

Julie Montagu is an American, originally from Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University, a Certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University and is a certified Holistic Health Counselor through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.

She further trained under two master Baptiste teachers, Claire Este-McDonald and Gregor Singleton from Boston, Massachusetts. She has experience in such areas as pregnancy, nutrition for children and adolescents as well as nutrition for depression and anxiety. She currently lives in London with her husband and 4 children. For more information on julie please visit her website www.inourish.co.uk Janis and Julie are hugely passionate about nutrition for children and feel that there isn't enough help out there for new parents. Julie has developed some fantastic helpful tips to help you on the road to giving your children fun and nutritious food to help them grow big and strong.

Top Tips

1) Green vegetables are the foods most missing in modern diets. Learning to cook and eat greens is essential to creating health. Greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A,C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Blood purification, cancer prevention, improved circulation and strengthened immune system are some of the benefits of eating dark leafy greens.

2) Swap refined grains like white rice and pasta to whole grains like brown rice, barley, bulgar what, quinoa and wild rice. Whole grains are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fiber, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Because the body absorbs grains slowly, they provide sustained and high-quality energy.

3) Calcium comes from many other sources than dairy and often better for us. It is important to understand how much calcium children actually need. Children who are 1 to 3 years old need 500 mg a day and children who are 4 to 8 years old need 800 mg a day. Here is a list of some calcium-containing foods that are dairy-free, with the amount of calcium you’ll find in a single serving. Collard greens (375mg), Fortified soy milk (368mg), Black-eyed peas (211mg), firm tofu (204 mg), baked beans (154 mg), Kale (94mg), Oranges (72mg), almonds (70 mg)

4) Use natural sweeteners as alternatives to sugar and other processed sweeteners. These can be found in natural food stores. Having a couple of different natural sweeteners in your kitchen will ensure that you have one for every need. Coconut palm sugar is wonderful in tea because it tastes great and dissolved easily. Brown rice syrup works well in your favorite cookie or cake recipe. These natural sweeteners are slower to enter the bloodstream, so do not cause a burst of energy followed by a steep drop.

5) Eat Organic! Since the advent of chemical farming and food processing, the soils and foods of much of the world have been depleted of many important minerals and nutrients. Our food these days, whether of vegetable or animal origins, is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and farming chemicals. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.

Top Tips for Helping Children Eat Healthy and Like it!

1) Make it fun and educational at the same time. Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip such as hummous, sweet potato hummous or guacamole. For example, let them know that broccoli contains a high amount of vitamin C, which helps to heal boo-boos.

2) Recruit your child’s help. At the supermarket, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, let your child help you rinse veggies, stir, or set the table.

3) Be clever. Add chopped broccoli or shredded kale to tomato sauce, top whole grain cereal with fruit slices, and mix grated courgette and carrots into stews, casseroles and soups. Serve veggies first at mealtimes, when children are hungriest.

4) Don’t offer pudding as a reward. Withholding pudding sends the message that pudding is the best food, which may only increase your child’s desire for sweets. You might want to select one or two nights a week as pudding nights. Or redefine puddings as fruit, yogurts or other healthy choices.

5) Go for the grain. Whole grain pasta, rice, breads and cereals can give your children energy with some staying power.

6) Pull out the blender and make delicious fresh fruit smoothies or frozen fruit sorbets.

7) Use you imagination and offer something new once or twice a week such as pineapple, dates, red or yellow peppers, whole-wheat pita with hummus.

8) Set a good example. Let your children catch you munching on raw vegetables or snacking on strawberries. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

9) Replace high-calorie sweetened beverages with water or unsweetened fruit juice.

10) Design a snacking zone. Restrict snacking to the kitchen. You’ll save your children countless calories from mindless munching in front of the TV.

If you would like any further information on nutrition for your children please do not hesitate to contact us as, our experts will be more than happy to help, please email info@littlemonkeysnursery.co.uk

Look out for Janis and Julie's new cook book helping you create tasty nutritious food for all of the family.

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