As a parent, we are always wanting to give our children the best start in life.
Whether they are just starting solid food, or are ten years old, nutrition is a vital part of life in Bangkok.
Children actually require the most nutrients as their bodies are growing, learning and repairing at a rapid rate.
From gestation, nutrition is undoubtedly important. As a family living in Bangkok, it can be challenging to find the array of nutrition that your child needs.
Schools are often providing low nutrient meals that make up a large portion of their dietary intake.
Additionally, often families are eating out frequently. So here are 10 top tips to healthy children in Bangkok.
Ok, so you know that your kids need to eat vegetables.
This is common knowledge. But why are they so important?
Vegetables are rich in fibre that feed your good gut bacteria.
As we discover more about the microbiome, we now realize that we are 10 times more bacteria than we are human cells. We have 100 trillion of those bacteria in our gut! They need to be fed, and they feed on fibres known as pre-biotics.
So if your child isn’t getting enough prebiotic-rich foods in their diet, the bacteria actually start to eat through your mucous lining (and literally start eating us!). So we must provide them with a fuel source so our gut bugs are happily fed. Here are a few tips to get more vegetables into your kids:
Chop vegetables super fine so they can’t be picked them out of food.
Make a large pot of vegetables such a pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato and blend them up into a sauce. You can even blend them into a jar of tomato paste and add them as a sauce to pasta, lasagne or in a Mexican mince.
Chop up broccoli super fine, and make it an omelette covered in organic cheese! My kids love this.
Add some greens into a smoothie with some fruit. Don’t overload the smoothie, to begin with. Start with a handful of baby spinach, some wild berries, banana and coconut milk, Simple and delicious. Increase more greens slowly. You can even add spirulina or chlorella for easily digestible protein.
Berries on coconut yogurt for breakfast with a sprinkle of walnuts, almonds or LSA on top.
The primary guardian should also be eating lots of vegetables to encourage a good example
Always offer vegetables at every meal. Even if it’s 50 times your kids throws the broccoli, the next time they might just take a bite!
You can’t avoid street food when in Bangkok. And why would you want to, it's delicious! The traditional Thai diet is actually super healthy.
Before Westerners bought white salt, sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils, the Thai people cooked with coconut or palm sugar (lower glycemic index), they used rock salt (more minerals) and they used coconut oil.
They also didn’t dump monosodium glutamate (MSG) into their food, as you see on every street corner now. They also didn’t consume ice-coffee made on condensed milk 50 years back. It’s the Westerner that has contributed to their health issue and its possible to go backwards.
Tell your local street chef “no MSG, no added white sugar or vegetable oil” They actually don’t mind if you eat there frequently enough that you give them a bottle of oil and some pink salt to use for your cooking.
It might seem ridiculous, but if your family eat there more than twice weekly it worth having that discussion. You can always say you have an allergy if they are not in agreeance. A stir –fry with meat and vegetables, after all, is quite a healthy meal if it's cooked on clean oils, salt and no/limited sugar.
if you haven’t seen the water supply for Bangkok, its worth a look at to insist this step is met. Finding clean water sources is impeccable to your health.
Water is utilised in all our cells, our brain, our gut and if it's contaminated with bacterias, heavy metals and pollution, then its going to require premium filtration to be drinkable. Reach out and ask around about water filters for your home, or a home delivery service for water.
Last but not least is cooking at home. If you are able to have someone cook the family meal every night, then this is the best option for nutrition. You know everything that goes in from oil, salt and sauces.
You can source organic produce and it will all be fresh. Healthy oil would be coconut oil, rice bran or ghee. Always use a pink or Celtic salt, and your sauces can come from a combination of vinegar, limes, garlic, bone broth, soy, sesame, honey, butter, ghee, puree vegetables and healthy fats. If you have everything healthy in the home, then everything you cook will be healthy.
The dietary guidelines haven’t changed much over the years.
However, the latest research suggests many benefits in some of the following: limiting refined sugars, drinking plenty of water, making sure your child has high-quality fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, fish, butter, ghee, hemp and chia in their diet. In addition, protein from free-range or organic meat, eggs, legumes and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Even eating to your cultural background (for example - no dairy for Asians as it’s a new food and one in four are dairy intolerant). Eating with your kids at the table, mindfully without technology is setting them up to digest their food better and not be stressed while eating. Remember, what you eat, they will want likely too. So lead by example.
At Paleo Robbie we have a Kid's Corner section in our grocery where you can find pasture-fed chicken nuggets and Wild-cod fish fingers. No additives or flavourings are added to any of our grocery items, making them healthy for children.
Written by naturopath and Chinese medicine physician, and mother of two Dr Sandi Ross. (Acu)
Sandi Louise Ross is a naturopath and Chinese medicine physician with a decade of clinical practice. Sandi is also a lecturer at Endeavour College of Natural Medicine. She has a passion for nutrition, herbal medicine and acupuncture while educating others on how to live a mindful, happy life, in this busy world. Sandi is also a mum of two beautiful babies.
She also has a lovely women's health tea brand found at www.teaforher.com
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