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Here Are the 7 Best Nutritious Food for Your Child Post-Exercise

Are you a busy parent who still understands the importance of nutritious food for active your little one? Here’s a quick list for your ease of reference!

Toddler girl raises her arms and smiles standing in the kitchen in front of a cutting board filled with healthy colourful vegetables and fruits.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spleen relies on nutritious food to support a child’s growing active body. Nutrition from food is how your child’s body builds and harnesses qi (vital life force) to grow and play.

Why Is Nutritious Food So Important?  

The Spleen transforms and transports nutrients from food to the rest of the body. It is also the organ that governs the flesh, muscles, and limbs. 

“As children undergo rapid development of the body, a higher burden is placed on the Spleen due to a greater requirement for nutrients in the process. A lack of proper nutrition may affect the physiological function of the Spleen, resulting in various Spleen disorders such as loose bowel movement, poor appetite or dry stool.” 

TCM Physician Tjai Kang Jie

A lack of proper nutritious food harms your child’s ability to be active as they will lack energy. This inter-relationship between nutrition, growth, and physical activity is critical to both your child’s physical and intellectual development. 

Simple Yet Powerful: 7 Nutritious Food for an Active Growing Body 

Young girl and boy smile while playing in a playground outdoors.
In TCM, your child’s body relies on the nutrition provided by the Spleen to be able to move around and play.

Here are 7 of the best foods to feed your child and support his or her hardworking Spleen and body. You may find that you already have these in your kitchen! 

Rice 

There is a reason many East Asian languages refer to eating a meal as “eating rice”. This nutritious starchy food serves as a main source of energy because it’s high in carbohydrates. This also makes it easily digestible and very suitable for your child’s delicate digestive system. Sweet in flavour and neutral in temperature, rice strengthens qi and the blood of the Spleen and stomach. 

Sweet potatoes 

Sweet potatoes are another sweet and neutral starchy food. They are packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals, while also being a great energy-replenisher.

In TCM they are considered a sweet and temperature-neutral food. Sweet potatoes tonify qi, blood, and yin (passive energy). Serve them boiled, baked, or mashed for a tasty post-play snack. 

Oats 

Oats are a great source of fibre and minerals, making them an important addition to your child’s diet. In TCM it is considered a warm-temperature food with a sweet flavour. It is a restorative food that helps tonify qi, and blood and optimise circulation. Steel-cut or rolled options are better than instant ones and they can be made into a drink.

Peas 

Peas are a great plant-based source of protein that comes chock full of nutrients and fibre. It’s almost a little ball of multivitamins in its own right: it contains vitamins A, B6, C, and K. It also has folate, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and lutein. It is a neutral and sweet food in TCM and helps tonify yin

A colourful dish made of rice, tofu, peas, and cranberries served in a wooden bowl with fork and spoon.
Try whipping up this colourful bowl of rice, peas, tofu, and cranberries for a delicious post-play meal!

Broccoli 

In TCM, eating cold and raw foods is generally not encouraged for children as they can impair Spleen function. But broccoli is one exception. This cool, sweet, bitter, and pungent vegetable clears Heat and circulates qi.  

It is dense with fibre, numerous vitamins, as well as protein. Don’t assume your child won’t like broccoli. Lightly boil or steam and include in their meal for a nutrition boost. 

Cabbage 

Cabbage is a good vegetable to add to other dishes like rice or soup. It contains vitamins K and C, which help with wound repair and damage to cells. What a great delicious “salve” for when our little ones get their occasional boo-boo.

Cabbage is also high in iron, an important mineral for growth in young children. In TCM, cabbage is neutral in temperature, while sweet and pungent in flavour. Like broccoli, it also helps circulate qi and clear Heat.

Apples 

Early teen girl smiles while holding a green apple and a red apple in her hand.
Apples are a wonderful replenishing snack after a lot of play and exercise.

An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Although it is a sweet fruit, an apple has a lot of water and fibre, making it a very healthy fruit. It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, E, K and C, as well as potassium and calcium. 

In TCM, apples are a cool food, with a sweet and sour flavour. It tonifies qi and yin, thereby clearing Heat and eliminating toxins. Crunchy apple slices (with the skin on!) make a wonderful snack. 

Like adults, children also need a great balance of nutritious food, exercise (including play!), and plenty of rest. Make sure your child drinks enough water to keep their body hydrated.

Go ahead – whip up delicious nutritious meals and snacks with these 7 simple-yet-super foods. Share your recipes with other parent readers below!

References

  1. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2016. The relationship between physical activity and diet and young children’s cognitive development: A systematic review. [online] [Accessed 23 February 2023]  
  2. National Health Service (NHS), United Kingdom. 2022. What to feed young children. [online] [Accessed 23 February 2023] 
  3. ChineseNutrition.org. 2022. Search Food and Herbs by Their Chinese Nutritive Properties. [online] [Accessed 23 February 2023] 

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