It was also a reminder that it would be a wise move to change both the contents of their packed lunches and some of what we eat at home too. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, children's digestive systems are not fully developed until the age of about 7 or 8. Therefore what they eat is even more important for children than it is for adults. It doesn't take much to upset their delicate systems. And if the digestion of a young child is not working well, it has the potential to impact other areas of their health and also their behaviour.
Every child needs a slightly different diet. But there are two general rules which are a good guide for all children:
- Cooked food is easier for children to digest than raw food and this is especially so during the winter months
- Foods eaten straight from the fridge, iced drinks and (sorry kids) ice cream compromise a child's digestive system and can deplete their Qi (energy).
So now is the time for porridge at breakfast rather than cornflakes, and apple crumble rather than raw fruit or yoghurt straight from the fridge for pudding. Including warming spices such as cinnamon, ginger and garlic in your cooking will make any food energetically warmer. Having some warm soup alongside for example, sandwiches, at lunchtime is a good idea.
If you are interested in the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to a child's diet, take a look at this document that I prepared for a recent talk I gave to parents.
Chinese Dietary Wisdom for Children