Child Nutrition

A healthy body starts from a healthy diet. So, what is the best food to be given is always a question in the back of your mind.  Children of different of different age group have different diet and nutrient requirement based on their development. The child should be fed accordingly and at the right time.

The first and last word in the nutrition in new born is breast milk. The very first breast milk, colustrum is found to be a magic mix for your baby's health. The new born feeding on breast milk is found to be healthy and is immune to diseases. There is no need to give any food supplement or extra liquid to a properly breast fed baby up to six months of age. If due to any case you can't breast feed your little one, try giving them baby formula, they can never reach the goodness of breast milk but are the best available alternative. Cow's milk or any other animal milk is to be strictly avoided in infants as they contain high protein content and the baby's body is not designed to digest it properly. Baby's being fed on breast milk for a longer period is found to have higher brain development and are more bonded with the mother.

It is recommended to give a food supplement containing iron to infants after the age of six months. The baby stores iron in their liver during development inside the mother's womb. This iron supply normally lasts for a period of six months after birth. That is the reason why the baby being fed only breast milk, which has low iron content, does not become anemic. The first food should be in semi solid state and give a very little food the first time, and slowly increase the quantity and frequency of feeding from one to three times daily. Start trying new flavors every three weeks. The amount of food taken by different people differs, so does in babies. Never make it a rule to make the infant eat the complete preparation; they can know when they are full. Try introducing solid foods in the eight months, always remember try a very little amount the first time. By the time your toddler celebrates his first birthday, he should have at least tasted all the food the grownups eat, leaving behind the junk foods. The earlier your child tries a taste, the more chance he has got to like it.

When the kids grow older, they should be given a high protein diet so as to help them to grow well. Most mothers stops breast feeding when the child gets 15-20 months. These children should get their daily dose of calcium from milk or milk substitutes, curd, cheese or yoghurt. Try giving them more fruits and vegetables, and make them eat a healthy and balanced diet. Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acid like, sardine and mackerel are good for brain and body development in children the iodine in the sea food also helps in brain development. Kid's diet should include pulses, fish, milk, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Children below two years of age should take less spicy food, and very little junk food. Make them drink lots of water to prevent dehydration as kids are always playing and sweating.

Most of the kids today, eat in front of the television, study shows that this habit makes the kid consume more than they usually do. Having more and more junk food, eating in front of television and less outdoor activities are the reasons for obesity in kids. One in 4 kids in United States is overweight. The long term effects of childhood obesity are blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Obese children are also found to have allergies and asthma more frequently than the healthy ones. Planning a healthy diet and proper exercise can help in reducing obesity. Children don’t have to go to the gym to get healthy; there are many games which can give them a body work out. Football, cricket, swimming, horse riding or even cycling can make them fit. Cut down the TV and computer hours and let them play with the neighborhood children. Playing with friends, make them emotionally happier than computer games. 

A healthy life should start from childhood, so make it a habit to take good food and adequate exercise as healthy children today means healthy citizen tomorrow. A lot of diseases in future can be reduced by giving them a safe and healthy life today. And a few sweets and chocolate ones in a while do not hurt them, it makes them happy and it also make them love you a lot. Do not be a very strict parent, be someone they look up to and love to be with.