Kids grow so fast and are changing all the time. How are we supposed to know what is a normal healthy part of development and what is a warning sign of nutritional deficiency? How do you tell if your child is just having big feelings, a tummy bug, a tough patch or if there's something a bit deeper going on? We would love to help you crack the code and share with you: three ways to spot when your child needs extra nutrition.
Although a bit of laziness, whinging and feet-dragging is a totally normal thing for a child to do, persistent lethargy is a sign of potential nutrient deficiency. Having low energy, not feeling motivated or excited by anything and fatigue can all be caused by inadequate vitamins and minerals. Pinpointing the cause of lethargy is tricky, because our bodies require adequate amounts of everything to thrive and feel energised. It could be an iron deficiency which leads to inadequate oxygen supply, a B vitamin deficiency which slows down metabolism, or it could be as simple as not consuming enough carbohydrates or kilojoules throughout the day. If your child is showing signs of lethargy, feed them up with plenty of starchy foods and leafy greens. If symptoms persist it’s time to chat to your health care professional to get to the bottom of what's going on. Need help boosting your kiddos iron? Try this Sneaky Veg Banana Bread featuring our Thriving Family & Veggie Hero.
Irregular bowel movements can be a sign that your child isn’t getting enough fibre and/or water. Especially if your kiddo is a fussy eater and tends to reject fibrous textures (like all vegetables). Not getting enough fibre goes hand-in-hand with missing out on other essential nutrients, as so many of our best high-fibre foods are also vitamins and mineral powerhouses (like broccoli, pumpkin, carrot, capsicum, beans and avocado). If you notice your child is a bit constipated, really try to focus on feeding them plenty of fruits, vegetables and water. If they are really fussy you can always try and sneak some Super Tummy into the food you know they will eat (like yoghurt, muffins or smoothies).
3- Dry or irritated skin
One of the first physical signs that your child has a nutrient deficiency is in their skin. Skin cells turn over quickly, so inadequate nutrition will become evident on the surface of the skin very fast. Dry or irritated skin can be caused by insufficient healthy fats, dehydration, inadequate vitamins or minerals, or even undiagnosed food sensitivities. Try to include oily fish, nuts and avocados in your child's diet, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Consuming your fruit and vegetables fresh ensures that the heat sensitive vitamins and phytochemicals are still intact when eaten. Vitamin c is an especially sensitive nutrient, so consuming some fresh vitamin C containing foods every day is the best way to avoid deficiency. For fun a gut loving snack, try these Homemade Vitamin Gummies with Veggie Hero & Gutsy Gummies!