It is of an utmost importance that children have a good nutrition and a healthy diet so their growth and development potentials are optimal. During infancy to adolescence stage, the diet habits and physical activities play a major role in maintaining a healthy life and preventing the risks of developing diseases. During the different stages of life, kids need different nutrients.
First Months of Life
During the first months of life, the baby weight triplicates and height increases by 50%. These increases in weight and height are the data used to the evaluate his nutritional state. These are measured in regular intervals, being compared to the standard growth curves. These measures are important tools when it comes to evaluating the child’s progress, especially between the 6th and 12th months of life.
Breastfeeding is still the best food source for babies up to 6 months. The human milk fills every nutritional need for the growth and development of the baby. And it’s great for psychological, physiological and emotional maturity. Breastfeeding can be continued until the age of 2; however, other food supplements should be provided to satisfy the growing needs of the baby.
The solid foods are important for the child to learn how to chew and how to speak, usually around the age of 6 months. A good aspect to look for during the first year of life is the amount of iron, since it can avoid the problem of anemia.
1st ~ 3rd Years
Between 1 and 3 years when a child begins to use a spoon or drink with a straw, the variety of meals allows the child to choose between flavors, colors and textures that can satisfy his appetite. The food sources will be more and more influenced by his family and surrounding persons. Adults must give the child time to eat, never rushing them or trying to educate them about healthy food.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, school meals should improve its nutritional standards by increasing the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free/low-fat fluid milk, and by reducing the levels of sodium and saturated fat. Implementation of this proposed rule would result in more nutritious meals for students and improved health of children across the country.
Growth and Gap Years
Children undergo growth gap years. It is best to continue to provide them with adequate amounts of recommended nutrients. Encourage them to eat regularly and eat healthy snacks that include foods rich in carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, fish, chicken, and dry fruits that will contribute to healthy growth and adequate development, as long as the caloric value of the diet is not excessive. Kids are also required to drink a lot of liquids since they usually have a lot of physical activity.
Sometimes, children become so picky with what they eat. Parents should have all the patience in the world to provide their kids with proper nutrition at the same time enabling them to enjoy what they eat. Parents should prepare foods that are easy to eat and appealing to the kids without losing the daily nutritional requirements.