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What role role does food play in children's development? How to make them love vegetables? Sometimes difficult to find your way around when you are a young parent. We talked to Laure Hyvernat, naturopath and nutritionist, to know more about it.
Hello Laure, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
I am a pharmacy doctor, naturopath and nutritionist and I created The Natural Consultation, a health method which formulates nutrition protocols connected and personalized to the needs and rhythms of life of each. 7 years of career in the pharmaceutical industry have given me a keen eye on the treatment of chronic pathologies. Passionate about natural medicine since always, specializing in nutrition and naturopathy was obvious. My mission is to educate and inspire to eat better and reconnect to what is really essential.
Could you tell us a little bit about the impact of nutrition on the development of babies and children?
A healthy diet at any age of the child's development is essential since it provides essential nutrients for its development and good growth. Many pregnant women and young mothers consult me at this precise moment when they are about to start their family, wishing to put healthy bases back on their plates and transmit the best to their child.
Food is above all a story of education and transmission. I encourage this awareness from an early age by instilling in children the taste of quality fresh and homemade products and by avoiding as much as possible all over-industrialized products, stuffed with refined sugars. Stimulating culinary curiosity from an early age is the secret of a healthy relationship with our plate.
How can we make children eat vegetables when they don't like it ?
It all starts with qualitative vegetables. Fresh, seasonal and from local and environmentally friendly agriculture vegetables are the criteria of choice to offer maximum nutrients and flavors.
Then learning how to cook them with different textures (soup, gazpacho, mash, juice, smoothies, etc.) and putting everything on a fun and playful presentation is a good option. For example, mixed salads, in which you slip incognito 2-3 small ants scary ’vegetables, finely cut and then mixed with their favorite little foods - tomato, ham, pieces of Swiss cheese. All seasoned with a little lemon-avocado sauce, they'll only see fire!
At this age, you have to be creative on the plate and encourage children to "at least taste". The taste develops with age and very often it is only a matter of a few spices to reveal extraordinary flavors as if by magic.
Are there any foods that can boost babies' immunity from birth?
At birth, breastfeeding helps babies develop their immune systems. For those who cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, do not panic, many other essential biases such as a well respected food diversification protocol will also help children to defend themselves against external attacks.
From food diversification, integrate prebiotic foods (bananas, whole grains, green vegetables) to feed their good bacteria. Also known as the intestinal microbiota, this small bacterial world will be its armor against all the nasty ambient microbes thanks to its immune superpowers.
Our lives as overwhelmed parents do not always allow us to take care of ourselves, what is your solution?
The most important thing is to adopt a personalized routine in line with everyone's pace. Often, it only takes a few small tips to prepare good little dishes in 2 steps - 3 spoons. The secret lies in these small healthy daily gestures and habits which allow exceptional results in the long term.
Could you share with us a healthy and easy recipe to make?
Chia pudding - my morning treat. Ultra rich in vegetable protein it is the GO-TO of any parent in decline of energy.
I pour 4 tablespoons of chia seeds in 500mL of almond milk. I like to add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder or a few drops of vanilla extract to add flavor. Then, my little pudding goes to the refrigerator where I stir it 3-4 times during the first hour to homogenize the mixture. I then use this little flan of chia in the morning or for my small snacks of 4 p.m. with coconut yogurt, some homemade granolas and fresh seasonal fruit.
These days, I’m adding some chopped basil leaves. You can also sprinkle with raw chocolate shavings for a small magnesium anti-stress supplement. Immediate energizing effect!
You can find Laure on her website or on Instagram. Laure has notably implemented a personalized protocol to help moms recharge batteries, rethink our eating habits and consume more responsibly! She also collaborates with the Fermes d'Avenir's association to which she donates, until June 20, part of her profits, in support of agroecology and permaculture.