We all know we should eat five portions of fruit and veggies per day. Is it the same with my child? I'm not an expert on nutrition and would like some advice on this.
"Finish up your soup and you'll grow up big and strong!"
"Eat all the gulay so you can stay fit and healthy.
We hear these lines being said many times over when adults remind children about healthy eating practices. Well, surprise, surprise --- you just might say the same thing to your child one of these days when he frowns at his purée of green beans or spit out the pieces of broccoli you so lovingly cut!
Yes, good eating habits start with the introduction of solids. At sa totoo lang—teaching kids to eat well and healthy isn’t an easy job!
An overview of a baby's diet
- A child's digestive system is fully mature only after age 2. Yet, 50 % of babies, from 13-18 months old, are given the same meals as their parents! The risk of this is damage to the intestine, the stronghold of their immune system.
- 30 % of children aged between 6 months to 2 years old have iron deficiency and 4.2 % are actually anemic.
- Children's intake of protein, the building block foods (meat, fish and eggs) between 6 - 36 months is often too high. The risk here is that the child may become overweight and eventually, may suffer from childhood obesity. The right amount of protein for babies up to 12 months is 20 g/day ; and for toddlers up to 3 years old is 30 g/day.
- More than 50% of young children eat too many sweet treats.
- Research findings show that 5 to 15 % of newborn babies aged 3 - 18 months and over 20 % of children aged 18 - 24 months do not get enough calcium to meet their daily needs.
Basic rules for babies, 6 - 8 months onwards
- 4 meals/day - containing a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and cereals - plus one light meal around 4pm.
- No snacking between meals. If your child becomes hungry at mid-morning or during the night, offer him a bottle (or cup) of water and add a bit more portion to his next meal.
- Offer a variety of meals every week to develop his sense of taste. Giving him the same flavors can put them off tasting new foods :
* Give once/day only
* 6-12 months old : 3 - 4 teaspoons
* 12-36 months : 30 grams
* 50 g between the ages of 3 and 4 years old.
* Start with the yolk
- Half of yolk up to 7 months
- 1 yolk between 8-18 months)
- One whole egg/week.
There is no need to add salt to homemade baby food. Don't add it to commercial baby food either! Less salt in food is a good habit to have.
Keep sugary drinks for special occasions. The rest of the time, inom na lang ng water!
Co-written with REINA BORLAZA, RND.