Parents today are very involved with their child’s future. They plan everything down to What sport should they learn? What kind of education would they receive? At what age will they learn a foreign language? Which phonics class should they be enrolled in? Which counterparts would be ideal for play dates? This has resulted in a generation of toddlers that never fail to amaze us with their accomplishments.
We wonder though if the same amount of due diligence is given to what a child must eat in their formative years.
Are we failing to take into account that the foundation of the physical body is as, if not more, important as the rest in the development of a child? Why are parents not spending equal, if not more, time researching the type, quantity, and schedule of meals a child must eat at each age?
There is sufficient scientific research that proves that the food that we eat and the nutrition we derive from it directly affects our physical, emotional, and mental health. While the younger generations are hopping on the bandwagon of every health fad in the market, it is overwhelmingly obvious that there is a vacuum in the area of child nutrition at the household level. Utmost care should be taken into planning the dietary aspect of a child’s life during the first 5 years as it will not only have an impact on their development but will also help inculcate good eating habits. Infants and toddlers can learn to accept a varied array of foods and flavors through repeated exposure which will in turn help them develop a more rounded palette. Studies show that breastfed children are likely to be more accepting of a wider spectrum of flavors than infants who are fed formula. This is because the diversity in the mother’s diet exposes a newborn to newer flavors.
As parents, it is of primary importance to give the best nutrition for your child. Proper nutrition for your child is fundamental for his/her growth and development.
There is a pressing need today to optimize nutrition to ensure adequate growth and organ development as our contemporary lifestyles have a lot of detrimental effects. Here are a few things that must be mindfully considered:
- Steady Weight Gain – From birth to age two, children should be weighed every month. If a child has not gained weight for about two months, something is wrong.
- Breast milk is MUST – A child must be breastfed for the first 6 months. Following this other food must be gradually incorporated.
- Regular Meals – A child over 6 months of age must be fed at least 5 times a day.
- Balanced Diet – Ensure that every meal is nutrient-dense and packed with variety. Protein, Iron Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D are the most essential.
- Ensure that the food is healthy and natural and free from preservatives and added flavors.
- Babies up to the age of 1 year do not need water. Breastmilk provides the necessary hydration.
There’s no specific amount of water recommended for children, but it’s a good idea to give them water throughout the day — not just when they’re thirsty.
Children learn a lot about their world in their early years. These years are rightly called their formative years. Meal times, food selection, and serving portions must all be planned with assiduity. One must not forget that a child learns about the world and life at a tender age and habits formed then will carry them through a lifetime.