How diet can prevent constipation in children
Often, the food kids love to eat is not the food their bodies love to digest. In addition to exercise and hydration, nutrition is one of the key ways to help combat constipation.
Everything in moderation
Balancing a wholesome and nutritious diet with the occasional fun-tasting treat is a tricky task as a parent. But it’s a worthwhile one. Making sure your little ones eat plenty of the foods they need, alongside getting enough exercise and sleep, can help create a healthy digestive system.
Foods packed with fibre should play a consistent part in your child’s diet:
|Whole grains – oats, brown rice and cereal||Raw and cooked vegetables – sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, salad, tomatoes||Fruits and nuts – plums, pears, melon, apricots, figs, sultanas, chopped almonds, cashews, pecans|
Foods that should be eaten only occasionally:
|Processed carbohydrates – White bread, toast, rolls, biscuits, white rice, pasta, breadsticks||Dairy products – including too much milk, which is low in fibre|
|Sweets – chocolate, pudding, mousses, cakes and candy||Bananas – can have a blocking-effect in children with constipation|
Encouraging them to choose healthy first
We were all children once, so we know the appeal of a sugary snack or burger. But how can you give your children an active role in the food they eat, and make the healthy option an appealing one?
Start with the shopping. Let your child pick what fruits and vegetables they want based on what they love. Giving them responsibility for the choice promotes a healthy relationship with the food before it’s prepared to eat.
Add a little something extra. Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid it, you have to disguise the good stuff from fussy eaters. But adding vegetables to a tomato sauce, using whole wheat pasta instead of egg noodles, or chopping fruit over cereal can make it easier to ensure that your child’s getting the balance they need.
Lead the way. Most children will follow your example. If you’re not eating well, then it’s likely they’ll not want to either. Take the time to eat the right things together and talk about why they’re yummy to make the habit of a good diet stick.
Make it look great. It’s true that you eat with the eyes before you eat with the mouth. Make an extra effort to make mealtimes fun by decorating the plate with colourful vegetables, arranging food to look like faces, and encouraging them to eat with their fingers where appropriate.
Keep them hydrated
It’s not all about the food they eat. Combatting constipation also comes down to making sure your child is hydrated and drinking the right types of fluid. Water is the best thing, and can be complemented by diluted juices. Soda, iced tea and caffeinated drinks should be kept to a minimum, if not avoided entirely.
If your child is thirsty, or has been really active, then chances are they’re already a little dehydrated. As well as constipation, not drinking enough can also lead to poor concentration, headaches and dizziness.
We know that making changes to your child’s diet can take time to have the desired effect. So, if your child is suffering from constipation, you may want to try a gentle and predictable laxative to relieve their discomfort and get them back on track. MICROLAX® is a fast and effective way to relieve constipation in children, getting to work usually within 5-20 minutes.