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Our Blog: September 7, 2012

Child Nutrition Tips for Good Behavior

helping your child learn to choose healthy foodsYour child’s little tummy is easily filled. The more junk food he eats, the less room there is for the wide range of protein, good fats, fruits, veggies and whole grains he needs for the rapid growth his body undergoes every day. Nutritional deficiencies can quickly build, making your child fatigued, irritable and crabby; not exactly the best recipe for optimum learning and good behavior.

Nutrition even influences potty training. The usual preschooler’s diet of pasta, bread, pizza, chicken nuggets, French fries, crackers and chips leads to constipation, which is a surprisingly common potty training complication. Boosting your child’s intake of fruits and veggies, and ensuring his diet is well-rounded is an important way to prevent this potty training pitfall.

We also know the growing brain needs “good” fats to build brainpower. The omega-3 supplements your doctor likely prescribed during pregnancy may continue to be an important ingredient to your child’s (and your) health and well-being. Omega-3s taken during pregnancy improve brain development in babies, and may decrease the chances of mom’s postpartum depression. It’s worth asking your doctor about how to get the most omega-3s in your diet, since these good fats may improve behavior, mood and learning.

You don’t need a fancy diet plan; just remember plenty of fruits, veggies, and other whole foods (as unprocessed as possible) are the best for your child’s diet. Better attention, learning, mood, behavior, and even potty training will be the result  – that’s the brainpower behind healthy foods.

Next time, I’ll reveal a surprising truth about sugar and hyperactivity in kids. What do you already know about this topic?

About the Author

Dr. Heather Wittenberg

Dr. Wittenberg is a psychologist specializing in the development of babies, toddlers, preschoolers — and parents. She offers no-hype, practical parenting advice on her blog BabyShrink — rooted in science, and road tested in her own home as the mother of four young children. She has helped thousands of parents over the years and knows that the most common problems with young children — sleep, feeding, potty training and behavior — can be the most difficult ones to solve.