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That's a healthy diet... Or is it?

Martine shares her findings on child nutrition and her advice on how to raise them to become healthy, well informed adults

19/05/2017

 

As a parent and owner of a Tinies Childcare Glasgow, I have a keen interest in child nutrition. I've been reading a lot about it lately and the stats are concerning.

In Scotland, over 83,000 students entered primary school carrying extra weight between 2005 and 2015. That seems like a lot!

We've all been told we are what we eat, but we're in control of our choices. Children are learning and we're in the driver's seat to show them healthy choices - having an unhealthy diet from an early age can expose children to health problems such as heart disease, and the risk of diabetes later in life. So what are we to do to fight this increase in obesity?

Growing up, it was drilled into my head that a low fat diet was the healthiest way to eat. But just like many things, as we do more research we find that things are not always the way they seem. As an adult I'm being told SUGAR is the new FAT. Turning your back on the habits you form isn't easy, and you always wonder what information will come to light in the future.

Let's be honest, hardly a day goes by without us hearing about another health scare and the advice we receive is often conflicting. Most of us will have tried dieting at some point in our lives. I mean how many fad diets have there been over the years? Atkins, 2/5, etc.

But, the question that always comes to mind is, are they sustainable and how healthy are they really? Counting calories may make you thin, but does it help you understand about nutrition? Or how to make healthy choices? You can still maintain 1400 calories a day on a diet of chocolate. I want to make sure the next generation understands the value of food, and not just how to eat it.

Healthy eating patterns are developed in childhood, and as a parent and childcarer I need to help form their choices. But, life is busy. Work, school, activities, and the odd social occasion, coupled with convenience food and the clever marketing it's hard to define what is healthy and what is not.

I'm inquisitive, and while Google and I are thick as thieves, it's a minefield. And I found that the more questions I asked, the more questions I had. Swapping keyboard for actual conversation, I befriended a local Nutritional Guru, or Health Angel, Hailey Thomson.

Hailey had answers to my questions and didn't mind that they lead to... just one more thing. (Sometimes I think I ask as many questions as my children.) We realised that I couldn't be the only one who wanted to understand more about nutrition so we're sharing our passions with groups of childcarers and parents in our area.

I'm always so proud of my children when they learn something new - and as I sat in a room full of adults I realised that we never stop learning.

Keep asking questions. Sense check what you know. Ask others. Discuss what you find out. Never think you have all the answers.

My favourite advice from Hailey was "Read the labels. If you don't recognise something, then your body won't recognise it!"

Martine Nadler, Parent and Owner of Tinies Glasgow

 
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