Top Foods to help your Children Sleep Better, Plus one great tip to get them to sleep

Well now here’s the thing. Low Fat Diets have always been around (remind us, did this start in the 80’s or 90’s?) – I think we can safely say that its meteoric rise in popularity co-incided with Cindy Crawfood (err Crawford) and her dream team donning a cossie and diving into the tabloids; then Athletes or anyone running up the driveway or across the lawn or to the loo were out championing the stamina releasing effects of a High Carbohydrate Diet; then came Fad Diets about Yoghurt, Cheese, Grapes, Fruit in the Morning, Sackets that you add Milk to, Sachets that you add to Water to; countless brands promising to remap your bad habits with a pill; then came a High Protein Diet – you get the picture or at least a picture of a really fat person with their scrawny twin standing in the adjacent frame sucking in their stomach and stiff arm pulling a garment out from their navel with enough room to fit a Mini Cooper (the new 4×4 one)- a garment that looks like a pair of jeans but on closer inspection was in fact a pair of clown pants for a really large mannequin. That’s the thing. And oh my M&S it’s complex and confusing as all Heinz.

Toss it, Bin it, Shut it.

It’s about health (first and foremost!) weight loss if it occurs, will occur if it needs to! So, let’s for the sake of this blog, agree it’s about what improves our health and what helps us sleep ok…ok! Because sleep, as we now know from ‘Top Reasons why your Children need to Sleep’ is the all-important key to unlocking our true potential. And it’s this bright eyed and bushy tailed potential that makes decisions about exercise and well-being and becomes our self-fulfilling prophesy and the legacy we leave behind. Whew deep man!

child eating peas

For our Children’s sake, here’s what you need to know about diet and sleeping:

  1. Diet affects sleep duration and quality!
  2. It’s easier than you think to eat healthily!
  3. If you don’t want the hassle of working it out simply remove Wheat from their diets, or better still… remove Gluten. We recently did this with our kids aged 9 and 7 and they slept better and are thriving at school. Teachers are commenting that all of a sudden the ‘lights have come on’ – co-incidence?
  4. Sleep quality was studied by the Western Journal of Nursing Research in America in 2011 which compared the effect of four different diets on sleep quality: a high protein diet, a high carbohydrate diet, a high fat diet and a controlled diet. The high protein diet came out tops with fewest wakeful episodes and the carbohydrate diet came out worst with shortest periods of restful sleep.
  5. An investigation published in Nutrition Research in 2012 substantiates this and further describes the balance by recommending a variety of micro and macro nutrients for a diet designed to improve quality of sleep – a varied diet containing fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat proteins and whole grains (excluding wheat) is the best combination.
  6. Food allergies aside, a low sugar, low carbohydrate, higher protein diet is the way to go.

Foods that are scrumptious and good (allergies aside of course): All green vegetables; ‘superfoods’ like spirulina, chlorella, goji berries… the usual suspects- used sparingly in a smoothie is best (TIP: add a spoonful of ground flax seed); root vegetables in moderation; high sugar fruits in moderation like banana’s, grapes, mangoes; low sugar fruits are best like those of the berry family; nuts and legumes are great; meats like fish, turkey and skinless chicken… you get the picture.

boy eating fish

Foods to seriously avoid: All fast food; fizzy drinks; sweets and chocolates; TV dinners and all processed foods and if you can… anything with Gluten, especially Wheat (sorry Wheat but you’ve deceived us for too long!) Take a peek at this if you have a mo...

If your children are craving something sweet then reward them occasionally with their favourite sweet or even their favourite fast food – after all we’re only young once. The key is for the whole family to learn about and understand the basics of nutrition and the effect it has on us and our lives; understand why we all need our sleep and why balance and moderation are the mom and dad of a full and healthy life.

Comment below if you think we should do a Blog about best recipes.

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