As a child is growing, the brain grows the most from birth to age five. Bad health and poor nutrition effect the neurological functions in growing children. Did you know that egg yolks supply the cholesterol needed for mental development? Or, that 75% of the top 20 chemicals used in the United States are toxic to the human brain?
Not only is it important to feed our children good, nutritious foods based on a traditional diet, but it is just as important to eliminate the artificial stuff that can cause problems. Refined sugars, allergens, chemicals, genetically modified foods, and even some yeasts can wreak havoc on a child's growing body.
There has been a lot of study done on the effects of artificial food coloring and how ADHD children respond to it. I have a friend who's son will literally bounce off the walls if just a little food coloring is in his food. He can't focus; he can't concentrate. And forget trying to have a conversation with him!
Grains are often fed to children- cheerios are a simple, hand-eye coordination food! But, babies have a hard time digesting grains. And, research is now showing that feeding grains to your child too early can actually lead to grain allergies later in life.
For our children to grow physically and mentally they need certain nutrients. Good meat- both organ and muscle (grass fed, pastured, and hormone and chemical free), organic vegetables and fruits, an all natural multivitamin, and a control of the sugary, colorful, artificial treats. And watch out for pesticides and other things that aren't easily digested or utilized.
At 10 months old, a child should be eating some fruits, vegetables, and meats. Yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk could also be given to them to acquaint them with sour foods and give them probiotics at the some time. Fruit juices should be kept to a minimum since they are simple carbohydrates and will spoil a child's appetite. And remember, Cod liver oil does wonders for growing children!
When introducing any new children to food, go slowly. Introduce only one new thing a week and watch for reactions to it. This will help you to identify any allergies your baby may have. Look for redness around the mouth, gas or bloating, irritability or awaking throughout the night, constipation or diarrhea, spitting up, chest congestion, or rash.
On a side note: children are suppose to be chubby. As a child is growing, they will put on fat. Usually, they will have very large appetites when they are putting on this weight. Then, they will sleep a lot and seem like they aren't eating much. This is a normal cycle that children go through as they grow. Just make sure that they are getting nutrient dense foods, and not just empty calorie fillers like junk foods which are processed and refined (meaning all the real nutrition has been stripped away). And don't fear fats. Never feed your child a low fat diet. Children actually need high levels of fat throughout their growing years.
And, children need to feel useful and wanted. Chores may seem like something mean to give to a child, but they need to understand that they are a necessary part of the family and that there are things they can do. Teenagers tend to seek out acceptance from the wrong people because they aren't receiving the knowledge that their lives are important and meaningful. That is something that we, as parents, can show them.
For more information on nutrition: Dr. Weston Price has a wonderful book that shows the relationship of nutritious foods to healthy bodies- Nutrition And Physical Degeneration. Dr. Shanahan takes it one step further to break these foods down into 4 groups which she calls the "pillars of nutrition"- Deep Nutrition. And Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride shows how we can heal the body through nutrition in her book Gut And Psychology Syndrome. If you don't like all the long scientific stuff in Dr. McBride's book, you can read Gaps Guide by Baden Lashkov which just tells the simple how and why of the GAPS diet.