Smart nutrition for your family

I find I am hearing these words more and more – ‘my child has been diagnosed with ADHD, learning and behavioural issues, hyperactivity, inability to regulate emotions’ … and so on. 

To be clear, we are not Ritalin deficient, which is regularly prescribed to children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), referred to as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

Most children these days are in fact nutrient deficient or have an overload of stimulants like sugar. 

In addition, they are struggling with mental health more than ever before. In fact, a recent government report in the UK said that mental health issues have gone up by an average of over 50% over the COVID years.

It is really important to support your child’s mental and physical health, we cannot treat the body in isolation, we have to treat the whole person.  

This is often where medication fails us, we need to take a different approach to correcting these imbalances. It needs to start with our foods with sugar as a major concern.

As adults, most of us know how sugar is so bad for our health but in children it is harmful to their growing organs including their brains so that long term damage can begin early. 

Being a mom myself, I know how hard it is to navigate this space. It is super challenging plus kids’ foods and snacks are filled with sugar (even the savoury one’s). 


Understand this, that children have an innate preference for sweet food. 

Science shows that it’s not just modern diets that have done this, it’s in their biology. The preference for sweet foods and drinks comes from infancy to ensure they accept sweet-tasting foods, firstly, their mother’s milk … and then fruit, etc when they move onto solid food. 

So, with super-processed or refined modern food, we need to navigate this space of our children’s preference for sweet foods so that they get the nutritional quality their body’s need to grow healthily.

Step 1: No additives or added sugar

Aside from the effect of sugar on our children’s growing bodies, sugar creates imbalances in energy which leads to behavioural issues like hyperactivity and mood swings. 

If you take a look at the ingredients in drinks, yoghurts, cereals, biscuits etc, they all contain sugar in some way which leads to a sugar imbalance, then added to this are the additives such colourings, sweeteners, preservatives, flavourings and even caffeine, which also impact behaviour.

Studies show that sugary drinks can increase adrenaline levels in children by 5 times higher than normal and for 5 hours with increased irritability and anxiety.

Step 2: Cook from scratch and go whole food

Aim for a whole real food diet with an abundance of vegetables, fruit and fibre. Ideally seasonal and organic too to get all the nutrients and vitamins they need. Avoid processed food altogether.

It is important to cook from scratch, then you know what ingredients are going into your dishes.

Cooking with your children can be fun too and make their plates presentable and enticing – cutting shapes, having healthy dips, finger sized bites. If they love chicken nuggets, make your own. 

Sweet healthy alternatives are raw quality honey or maple syrup, dates and bananas. 

My daughter and I love to make healthy pancakes and muffins sometimes, and if she wants something sweet after dinner she usually has some apple with cinnamon and yoghurt or frozen blueberries. 

Step 3: Remove gluten and allergens

Wheat, gluten, dairy and their products, and eggs are common food intolerances. Aside from a physical reaction, like skin rash, children may react badly when eating them or even crave them more. Rather eliminate from their diet to see if there is a change and if not, slowly reintroduce.  

Step 4: Optimise these essential nutrients

Evidence shows that just eating a good wholesome diet may not give the right amount of nutrients. These are my recommended added nutrients:

  • OMEGA 3
    Essential fatty acids for the brain and nervous system. My daughter chews her Natroceutics Omega 3 as it tastes pleasant.
    Essential for healthy bones and muscles but food cannot always give the required effective amount. I recommend BetterYou Dlux1000 Spray.


Children learn from you. What you teach and show them now, will hold them for their healthy future.

It can be done, one just need to invest the time and energy into changing certain habits 

Go to farmers markets together, show and explain what different foods there are and what they offer. Explain to them the why’s vs telling them what to do. Involve them in the cooking, eat together as a family at the table and make your own treats for special occasions. 


Never skip. A good healthy breakfast is important to provide the right energy, blood sugar levels, concentration and focus in your child’s morning. 

I recommend adding protein to their breakfast, it’s a game changer, in fact it is importan to have some element at every meal.

Avoid sugary cereals and opt for oat based cereals such as porridge (sweetened with grated apple) or grain free homemade granola, fresh fruit smoothies (fruit blended with yoghurt and seeds or whole organic milk/keffir) poached or boiled egg on sourdough, pumpkin pancakes or banana bread with almond butter. 


A burger patty with sweet potato chips, a sandwich made with sourdough bread with a tasty filling (e.g. tuna, egg, cheese, hummus, chicken, avo) hunks of cheese, cherry tomatoes, vegetable sticks, a slice of quiche, jacket potatoes, soups, scrambled or poached egg. 

For packed lunches: Biltong, nuts and seeds, eggs, fresh whole fruit, carrots, sourdough with butter or avo, hummus, chicken strips made from leftover roast, some seaweed, home made banana bread.  


They should eat what you eat. Protein should be fresh (not processed) meat, fish or lentils with fresh vegetables, spelt spaghetti with a fresh tomato sauce, some rice with chicken and peas and carrots. Introduce a variety of vegetables and observe what they like or prefer.

For fussy eaters, it helps to cut food into bite size pieces and place them on the table in front of them. They will start to eat it without noticing.

Healthy snacks

Fresh fruit, biltong, smoothies, oat cakes or sourdough bread with peanut butter, almonds and pumpkin seeds, oat cakes or carrot sticks with hummus. Maybe homemade healthy muffins or pancakes with honey.

Further reading on child nutrition and sugar

If you want to read more on why it is important to get your child’s diet right plus other information around it, these are some interesting articles to read along with studies. 

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