I don’t know about you, but I have definitely noticed that when my girls eat the wrong foods for them, baaaad things begin to happen!! One eats ice cream or drinks milk that is not lactose free, she gets whiny and complains (and this kid never complains). And then I have one that is a sugar addict and if I let her, she would only ever eat Nutella on toast and when she does….oh boy, get the “boo boo kitty” out of the freezer because she will be crying for it after the slightest bump on the knee!  Why is it that our kids act like this and does it really have to do with their eating??

sweet veggiesThrough the years there have been studies in children showing how when altered, their diets can improve poor behavior and parents get their children back. The following studies support the theory that food needs to be looked at as a source of problems in many children and how eating healthy can significantly impact a child’s life.

Food preferences and eating habits are formed in childhood. Teaching kids healthy habits sets them up for a lifetime of health. So how can you make sure your kids are healthy?

*Eat Together-Family mealtime gives more than nutrition. Studies have shown that kids who grow up with family mealtime get into less ‘trouble’ as teenagers.

*Eat Real Grown Food- Children who eat a healthy, whole foods diet are generally calmer and more focused.Kids who eat healthy balanced meals do better at school.

*Teach about Obesity- Childhood obesity is on the rise. The way our culture is feeding our children is not working and we need to equip our kids with tools that help them maintain a healthy weight.

*Model Healthy Attitudes- Girls and boys are developing eating disorders at earlier ages. We need to create a healthy attitude around food and teach them how it can fuel their bodies or hurt them. Attitude is everything.

*Food as Fuel- Our children are facing more adult diseases at earlier ages. We need to learn how to strengthen our children’s bodies with nutrition and exercise, instead of weakening them with highly processed foods and inactivity. Dis-ease prevention starts in the kitchen!

*Focus on Fruits and Veggies- For many children the food that they are eating not only causes health problems, but for children who have learning or behavior problems, processed foods have been found to be a primary culprit. Focus on serving naturally grown foods that provide lots of vitamins and minerals.

Doris Rapp, MD has been studying and treating children with allergies for many years. In her book, Is This Your Child? Rapp describes possible symptoms of allergy (and sensitivity) reactions in toddlers. She found many of them experienced; red ears and cheeks, dark eye circles and bags, glassy and glazed eyes, bloating, belching, diarrhea and/or constipation, headaches, runny nose, whining, screaming, hyperactivity, fatigue, aggression, depression, and refusal to be touched.

Parents of children with autism routinely report that when they remove certain problematic foods the common symptoms such as diarrhea and hyperactivity improve and that children feel better and have greater capacity to pay attention.  When the immune system is settled often they make big gains in language and other areas of learning, behavior, and overall health.

There have been many other studies recently done on children who are ADHD, Learning Disabled and children who have depression as to whether an altered diet can lessen their symptoms of brain fog, irritability and mood swings.

This can mean profound improvement for children with autism and other significant disabilities when we can better understand how food affects the body. This could be paramount in their quality of life.

If all parents took the similar measures of refining their children’s diets many of the common problems of hyperactivity and obesity could be decreased and their child’s overall health could be significantly improved resulting in far less diagnoses of these disorders.

The important thing for parents to remember is that it’s about awareness and choice. Every parent has a choice for their child, but when parents are not aware of their choices, then WE have a problem!