Experts recommend that children should consume approximately 20g of sugar per day, that is about 5 tea spoons. The pictures illustrate the sugar content of simple every day foods like cereal, jam and yogurts.
According to the experts the foods children eat are important for brain development. "The foods children eat can affect focus and cognitive skills" says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, co-author of The Happiness Diet and Fifty Shades of Kale.
These 6 foods can help kids stay sharp and affect how their brains develop well into the future.
1. Eggs. The protein and nutrients in eggs help kids concentrate.
2. Greek Yogurt. Fat is important to brain health, says Laura Lagano, RD. A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein that other yogurts) can help keep brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information.
3. Greens. Full of folate and vitamins and packed with antioxidants that help the brain cells grow.
4. Fish. Fish is a good source of vitamin d and omega-3s, which protect the brain from declining mental skills and memory loss.
5. Nuts and Seeds. Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, nuts and seeds may boost mood and keep your nervous system in check.
6. Apples and Plums. Kids often crave sweets, especially when they're feeling sluggish. Apples and plums are lunchbox-friendly and contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may fight decline in mental skills.
The research indicates that the foods our children eat can have a positive impact on brain development and concentration. An interesting concept.
PE is about to change for everybody. From September 2018, it will be offered as a full examinable Leaving Cert subject, giving students interested in sports and exercise a chance to play to their strengths. This new subject will highlight the importance of physical activity for children and will bring PE in line with other subjects.
Dr Sarahjane Belton is a lecturer in physical education at DCU and a former Irish rugby international. “PE has too often been sacrificed for other subjects or if the sports hall is needed for something else. A junior cycle PE curriculum has already been developed and implemented as part of a wellbeing programme and it is compulsory for each child to get a double period of PE per week. It has been hard for principals to timetable but at least the intent is there"
Stephen Moore, president of the PE Association of Ireland, agrees that PE has too often been relegated.
"Until now, there has been no guide for PE teachers. A lot of PE was given by unqualified teachers, often soccer or GAA coaches who were promoting their activity and not placing the necessary emphasis on fundamental movement skills. PE teachers recognised a number of years ago that, because of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, children were not developing the fundamental movement skills – such as catching, hopping, striking and skipping – that form the basis of all physical literacy.”
This step alone will not solve the child obesity issues that we have in Ireland, however it is a very positive step in encouraging physical activity for teenagers.