Cooking nutritional, healthy, appealing meals for a young family can be difficult. Really difficult. I’ve personally lost count of the number of times I’ve diligently peeled, chopped, sliced and slaved over a hot stove to concoct a healthy meal which is greeted with wails of disapproval and looks of total disgust.
But, like many parents, I persevere. I coax that last piece of broccoli into an unwilling mouth because I hope it will help my child to grow up to be fit and healthy, and not a fussy eater.
Recent research which was was highlighted in the Irish Independent last week gives us further reason to keep persevering with the ‘5-a-day- battle of wills. The research undertaken at the University of Bristol shows a clear link between healthy eating and intelligence, particularly during the early years of a child’s life. ‘Scientists stressed good diet was vital in a child's early life as the brain grows at its fastest rate during the first three years of life.’
Perhaps the most shocking – and important – message highlighted from the research undertaken is that, ‘The results found after taking account of potentially influential factors, a predominantly processed food diet at the age of three was associated with a lower IQ at the age of eight and a half, irrespective of whether the diet improved after that age.’ A very clear message, if ever there was one, that the battles you fight today will be rewarded in the future. So although it may be tough to hear further evidence that the age at which your child is most likely to say yuk to carrots and peas is precisely the age at which they need to be eating plenty of them, it’s an important message to hear.
On another note, did you also know that Superman and Spiderman eat loads of carrots and broccoli and that’s how they get their super powers? That’s my story anyway, and if it helps the food go down, I’m sticking to it!