My Programmes for Children are based on my own experiences of food sensitivities, allergies and intolerances. My Training as a Natural Nutritionist and as a Social Work Consultant having worked for 32 years with families with complex problems and difficulties which gives me a special interest in children and families wellbeing, emotional health and nutrition.
My work with children and Families
My Programmes are based on the work I have done to help families support children’s development and milestones and I integrate my other skills in the work I do to make my work current and relevant to any family who needs my help.
Early food experiences will have an impact on children’s eating patterns although habits can be changed depending on what is provided and if there is a willingness to do so.
All eating habits are learnt at home or by the environment children grow up in, so it’s important to be positive role models for your children from the start.
A healthy, balanced diet is especially important for children as their bodies grow and there is much research that is now tells us the importance of good protein sources and good food sources on children’s brain and gut development which isn ow being well documented and evidenced to show brain development in particular continues to grow until later in our adulthood lives until the age of 25 to be precise.
To Raise Healthy Kids make sure all children are given a broad range of food to grow their gut health and the brain gut connection.
What can work
Many of the families I have worked with report children with food sensitives and autism received repeated or prolonged courses of antibiotic drugs for ear or other respiratory infections during their first year, before any diagnosis of autism.
Antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria in our guts, which contribute to many children’s bowel sensitivities and irregularities.
Balancing blood sugar
Balancing children blood sugar with good nutrition is vital to optimise health and improving blood sugar balance is a therefore essential to good nutrition with good sugars derived from fresh fruit and other alternative foods which contain a amount of healthy sugar.
Increase omega 3 fats
Deficiencies in essential fats are common in children and often for children with autism. Research by Dr Gordon Bell at Stirling University has shown that some autistic children have an enzymatic defect that removes essential fats from brain cell membranes more quickly than it should. This means that an autistic child is likely to need a higher intake of essential fats than the average. And it has been found that supplementing EPA, which can slow the activity of the defective enzyme, has clinically improved behaviour, mood, imagination, spontaneous speech, sleep patterns and focus of autistic children.
Increase vitamins and minerals
It is well documented and researched that good nutrition helps all children no matter what emotional and health challenges or difficulties they have.
There was some research undertaken by Dr Bernard Rimland from the Institute for Child Behaviour Research in San Diego – California . His study showed that an increase in vitamin B6, C, and magnesium significantly improved symptoms in autistic children. In one of his early studies back in 1978, 12 out of 16 autistic children improved. He also noted in this research that they appeared to regress once the vitamins were swapped for placebo alternative.
Avoid food allergies and additives
One of the most significant contributing factors in children nutrition and in particular for children with autism are the ‘undesirable foods’ and chemicals in processed food can have an adverse affect on brain fog via the bloodstream because of faulty digestion and absorption.
Getting the right food with available nutrients is therefore key to health maintenance. Here are somethings that I do for my family at home:
I spend time listening and to the underlying reasons for their health concerns and I provide options to help families make better food and lifestyle choices using my expertise and knowledge using the latest evidenced based research available.
I provide a step by step bespoke plan that support each individual I work with and help them make sustainable changes for their better health and lifestyle goals.
Think carefully about your child’s food and what you give them on their plate to make them feel happy, heard and understood .
Always be clear about the food you want to give them and explain the reasons why it is on their plates or why it is good for them.
Be patient and consistence when giving your children each meal and agree the parameters for eating.
For children who have sensory processing difficulties – Provide food they like and present it the way they like it. Make small changes slowly and in consultation with them otherwise these minor changes can be a huge stress and have an impact on them and their happiness.
Give fussy eaters food that looks appealing- Showing children food before they try and offering if a few times without pushing it on them can help them to make a transition to trying it at some point.
Choose your battles carefully about food. Never force feed children. They come round their own time.
Try seasonal food to offer new choices.
Here is a recent article I wrote called Raising Healthy Kids. The other 2 links can be helpful for futher information on health and nutrition for children.