Multivitamins & energy Archives | Eurobio

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Kids grow at a rapid pace. They need a good appetite to enjoy their meals and obtain essential nutrients. Good nutrition supports healthy growth especially in their physical, emotional and intellectual development. Just like many other parents, there are times when you are worried whether your kids are getting enough nutrients through their diet.

There are many reasons why kids have low appetite:

  • Sickness –flu, diarrhea or fever may make kids not feel like eating much
  • Constipation – this is a common factor that causes a loss in appetite for kids, which needs to be corrected by modifying their diet and lifestyle
  • Intestinal worms – presence of intestinal worms in kids can make them eat lesser than usual
  • Lack of exercise – with too little outdoor playing time, kids burn up less energy and are less likely to be hungry at mealtimes
  • Snacking between meals – this leaves kids feeling fuller for longer and in the end they are unable to finish the food on their plate
  • Drinking sweetened beverages and juices – these beverages are full of calories and therefore consuming them will lead to a loss of appetite
  • Distractions – watching TV or a smartphone during mealtime will make kids less interested in the food on their plate

Here are some tips to make kids love to eat:

  • Respect their appetite. If your kids aren’t hungry, try not to force them a meal or snack. Do not make your kids associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration.
  • Schedule mealtime. Serve meals and snacks at about the same time every day.
  • Make it fun. The more creative the meal is the greater variety of foods kids will eat. Serve food in a variety of color, shape, source and form.
  • Involve kids in meal preparation. Kids will be more interested in the food they help to select and help to prepare. They will be eager to eat them once they’re done.
  • Show a good example. If you are constantly eating a variety of healthy foods, your kids will learn to do the same.
  • Be more active. Running, jumping, biking, swimming, and other physical activities can help to burn more calories and increase their appetite.
  • Cut down distractions. Turn off TV, smartphone or tablet during mealtimes, as this will help the kids to focus on eating.
  • Limit on junk. By stocking less junk food around the house and replacing them with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products, you will encourage kids to eat healthier foods.

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Processed foods are foods that have been altered in some ways before we eat them.  Not all processed foods are unhealthy as some foods are fortified to add nutrients while some needs processing to make them safer, such as milk that needs to be pasteurized to remove harmful bacteria. However, most processed foods contain high levels of sugar, salt, fats and preservatives to improve the taste, to extend the shelf life or to contribute to the food structure. Examples of processed foods are:

  • Canned food such as tinned vegetables, baked beans etc.
  • Meat products such as bacon, sausages, ham etc.
  • Snacks such as potato chips, cookies and cakes
  • Microwaveable meals or ready meals
  • Drinks such as sugary drinks and soft drinks

Processed foods are always being stated as one of the main contributors of obesity and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases. This is because people may not be aware of what is added and also the amount added to the food they are buying and eating, which can lead to excessive intake of sugar, salt and fat. As we all know, consuming large amount of sugars, salt and fats are bad for our health as they contribute to long term diseases such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

There is no doubt that at least some processed foods are found in most people’s kitchens, as they can be a time-saver when preparing meals. In addition, the extra ingredients in processed foods make it more flavorful which enhances the eating experience.  The question is how can we eat processed food as part of our healthy diet?

There are many ways that we can do to reduce the amount of processed food that we consume:

  • Read before you buy. Reading the nutrition labels can help us to identify and choose the right type of processed products and keep a check on the sugar, salt and fat content.
  • Opt for minimally processed meats. Avoid highly processed meat products such as bacon, ham and sausage.
  • Snack smarter. Think of crunchy nuts and seeds or even easy homemade popcorn when craving kicks in. They are healthier than that bag of chips.
  • Make smart choices when eating out. Select foods that are cooked to order and reduce the consumption of sauces and dressings.
  • Cook more meals at home. By doing this we can control the ingredients that we used.

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Having a meal is not a difficult task for most people, but the question is what to eat?

A healthy diet is important to supply nutrients required by the body and helps to reduce the risk of diseases.  The Malaysian Food Pyramid and the Malaysian Healthy Plate can serve as a helpful guide to achieve a well-balanced diet in your everyday life.

The Malaysian Food Pyramid categorizes food into different groups and the recommended total daily intakes. There are 3 basic tips when planning our meals using the food pyramid:

  • Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables; meat, beans in moderation and less fat, salt and sugar
  • Eat the right amounts according to the recommended servings in each group
  • Eat a variety of foods throughout the day

The Malaysian Healthy plate translates the message of the food pyramid into your daily meals and shows the proportions of food groups to be eaten for one meal:

  • ¼ of the plate consists of rice, noodles, breads, cereals, cereal products or tubers
  • ¼ of the plate consists of fish, poultry, meat or legumes. Choose more lean cuts and choose more plant-based proteins
  • ½ of the plate consists of various fruits and vegetables

While eating out is convenient, these foods are generally higher in calories, salt and sugars than home-cooked food. However, we can still opt for healthier choices such as:

  • Choose healthier cooking methods such as boiled and baked food instead of fried foods
  • Ask for more vegetables and fruits
  • Choose plain water instead of sugary drinks
  • Share your meal to prevent excessive eating
  • Supplement with vitamins and minerals

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Research shows that good nutrition can help to lower people’s risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, and osteoporosis. However, a large gap remains between healthy dietary patterns and what we actually eat, and this is what we call a nutritional gap.

Nutritional gap occurs because we consume too many foods that are high in certain nutrients but not eating enough food that contain certain other important nutrients. In addition, there are times throughout our life cycle, such as childhood, pregnancy and elderly, when our body requires more nutrients than a typical diet may provide.

Malnutrition will have several impacts on health, such as:

  • Feeling tired all the time and lack of energy
  • Getting sick often and taking a longer time to recover
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Feeling weaker
  • Lacking of interest in food and drinks

Vitamins and minerals have a unique role to play in maintaining our health. They are needed in adequate amounts for our body to develop and function normally. They can be obtained from a variety of foods and also health supplements.

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Kids nutrition is based on the same principles as per adults, they need all types of nutrients – such as carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water.

Good foods are vital for kids’ performance. However, most foods available to kids today are actually affecting their abilities to learn.

Many foods are low in nutritional values and are loaded with sugars, fats, salts and additives, leaving kids feeling tired, unfocused, and get sick easily. These will not only impact their performance, but also influence their emotion and behaviour.

Food that contains high fats and sugars will cause kids lack of energy and focus. Studies reveal that diets with high levels of saturated fats and sugars will impair learning and memory ability. Fried foods such as nuggets, burgers and sugary desserts such as sweets, refined breads, ice creams and soda drinks and sweets can lower brain power.

Childhood malnutrition is another factor that affects kids learning ability. Kids may be getting a great deal of calories, but lacking sufficient essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy growth. This will lead to detrimental effects on growth, maturation and cognitive development.

Kids with malnutrition are reported to have more problems with health, academic learning, and psychosocial behaviour. Malnutrition can result in long-term issues in the brain, which can impact their emotional responses, reaction to stress, learning abilities and other health issues.

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