Healthy diet campaign targets students
Manama, March 2, 2008
A campaign to make children's diet healthier has been expanded to include schools and societies.
The 'I Want Healthy Kids' is a healthy eating campaign launched by local nutritional therapist Alia Almoayed.
The Bahraini author and mother of two young children spearheaded the initiative with the launch of her book 'I Want Healthy Kids' (a practical guide to building healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits in children) at the end of last year.
'I didn't want the campaign to end with the book so my next step was to approach schools and give lectures and educate parents and teachers,' Almoayed told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
'I am empowering parents, many of whom feel there is not much they can do about it, but it's up to them and they can learn how to approach the problem.'
The therapist gives parents tips on how they can boost their child's brain health and ability to learn.
The first step is to remove from their child's diet additional colourings, excess dairy, toxins and sugar.
Next is to give children brain boosters such as nuts and seeds and other foods that contain omega oils and zinc. These foods also help to improve constipation.
'There is a huge percentage of children who suffer from constipation because they eat white stuff, cheesy and sugary things and it gets stuck and toxins and hormones get recycled,' she said.
Almoayed also guides parents how they can boost their child's immunity and treat illness naturally with foods such as garlic, ginger and raw honey.
The common message in all her lectures and seminars is to encourage parents to reduce the amount of dairy products in a child's diet.
'Children are having too much dairy products,' she said.
'It's common to find them having cereal with milk for breakfast, a cheese sandwich at snack time, pasta with cream sauce for lunch, milk chocolate for a snack in the afternoon and a pizza for dinner. It's too much.
'These foods have glue-like protein, which creates congestion and makes children more likely to fall sick with colds. It delays speech and slows learning.
'Dairy products are pumped with hormones, have loads of toxins and up to 52 kinds of antibiotics. If it's not organic, it's full of toxins because what is sprayed on the grass is eaten by them.
'Cheese contains 12 times the concentration of hormones and toxins than milk.'
There are many alternatives, she said.
In sandwiches cheese can be substituted for olive spread, hummus, chopped chicken and tomatoes, mashed avocado, peanut butter and jam, honey and zattar.
It may be difficult to change a child's taste in food but parents must persevere, said the nutritionist.
On an average, a child needs to see a food 20 times before they will try it.
Almoayed is holding a one-day nutrition certificate course, entitled 'Optimum Health for Kids,' which will focus on how positive eating habits can be established in children all the way into adulthood.
It will also tackle how to prevent fussy eating, food tantrums and energy roller coasters, as well as how to incorporate healthy eating into the everyday lives of children.
Those on the course will be given nutrition, health and strategy lessons with practical exercises that will help participants apply the principles they have learned in the course.
The event, aimed at parents, teachers and health professionals, will be held on March 8 at the Mercure Grand Hotel in Seef District,from 9am to 5pm.
'I will get parents to come up with their own children menus and I will give them guidelines to help, it's very practical and all have been tried and tested,' she said. 'A relationship with food is lifelong and you set the relationship from a very early age.'-TradeArabia News Service