Healthy Eating for Children aged 1-6

So your baby is one year old. He’s grown enough, he feels independent and can do most of the things adults can do. Breast milk and various purees are not enough for him to grow and develop. The baby is ready for a gradual transfer to more serious food, which will end in about 5-6 years. This “transitional period” requires a particularly responsible attitude from parents. Experts note that the cause of many problems with digestion and metabolism is unreasonable nutrition in early childhood and appear already at mature ages. Let’s arm ourselves with scientific facts to avoid dangerous mistakes.

– How and under what conditions should the transition of a baby to “adult” food take place?

– It is very important for a baby to have food of a suitable consistency for his age. Many parents who care for their babies a lot continue to feed them with shredded plates until they are 2-3 years old. But such “care” does not bring any benefit and is rather harmful to health. Food should not delay the development of the baby’s chewing apparatus and digestive system, but should stimulate it.

A one-year-old baby should be given chopped food instead of puree. By the age of 2, a baby already has 20 calf teeth, he can already chew well, so it is possible to switch to larger pieces. A healthy baby after 3 years should already receive a piece of food. Even beef can be chewed, digested and assimilated.

– How much meat should a baby aged 1-6 eat? And what meat is good for a baby?

First of all, remember that every child is individual and their needs for meat, fish and other foods are also individual. Therefore, we can talk only about approximate norms and recommendations for this type of “average” baby. Taking this into account, we can say that a baby aged 1 to 1.5 years needs about 60-70 g of gross meat per day. In this case, a baby will receive enough protein, easily digestible iron, as well as a number of vitamins of group B. It will be better if it is ground beef or – if the baby can already chew quite well – meatballs.

A baby 1.5-2 years old should already receive 70-80 g of gross meat per day 4-5 times a week. At this age, you can already cook steam cutlets for a baby. A child aged 2.5-5 should eat 120 g (gross) meat day and night. You can and should offer unminced boiled meat in the form of beef and poultry, goulash, schnitzel. A 6-year-old child needs 120 g of meat per day, including bird meat. Exactly meat, not sausages, as is known, other prepared foods that contain much more fat than protein.

As for the type of meat, chicken, turkey are preferred for children who feed lean veal or veal, you can use lean pork and mutton. In addition, meat by-products: kidneys, tongue, heart, liver must be included in the menu. Don’t forget the fish, which is the most valuable source of some indispensable fatty acids, iron, vitamin B12 and other health-giving elements. It is better to choose lean sea and river fish, such as perch, cod, hake, perch, shrimp.

– After a year, the baby already eats enough solid food, which means that his need for fluids increases. How much should children of a year and older drink?

– The daily norm for children aged 1 to 3 years is about 100 ml of water per kilogram of weight, from 3 to 7 years old – about 80 ml. Probably larger quantity. In connection with the high activity of children, water losses are quite significant, so you should not restrict your child to drinking.

It is better to drink water – children without mineral gas or boiled and cooled to room temperature. Sweet compotes, juices and beverages should be drunk between meals, not while eating. The thing is, if a child drinks water while eating, his stomach will fill with water and the child will feel full early. After a while, he will be hungry again, and this will cause his eating habits to deteriorate.

– Many parents complain that their children eat less. Why does a child eat less? How to improve appetite?

– As for the first question, children’s appetite decreases for different reasons, but the most popular is the wrong organization of nutrition. It is desirable that a child over one year old eats according to a strict schedule. When a child constantly eats junk food, he does not have time to get hungry and there is no good appetite. Also, if a baby indulges in sweets and drinks, he will not receive the required amount of healthier products.

Another reason for a bad appetite can be the monotony of food – a child is tired of eating the same food. That’s why you shouldn’t cook in the store, and the food value of the products is reduced during storage and heating.

Sometimes there are situations when a child does not secrete enough saline and therefore it is difficult for him to chew and swallow food. Of course, such a child eats reluctantly. In this case, you should cook more liquid dishes, fill the second dish with sauces, offer to take drinks while eating.

It often happens that a child is just playing. In this case, you should not rush to cook something “special”. It is enough to calmly explain to a child that he can refuse to eat, but the next time he will be invited to the table only after a few hours – during the next feeding. As a rule, this helps.

Frequent walks in the fresh air, active games, entertainment help to increase appetite. At the same time, the child’s active games, watching TV, etc. Excessive excitement as a result can be the cause of loss of appetite. Therefore, it is desirable for a child to be in a quiet environment and rest before being invited to dinner. Also, good sleep is very important for a child’s nutrition. In no case do not force-feed your child – this will create a stable aversion to food in the child. And the meal should always be accompanied only by positive emotions, bring pleasure.

– On the contrary, if a child has a good appetite and sometimes wants a snack between basic meals – should we refuse him absolutely or no?

– No, you should not refuse him if he asks. Sometimes a child needs to “recharge” a little more, for example, after enough running in the fresh air. You can give him a piece of dried bread, some dried apricots, raisins. But, again, do not offer him a snack with sweets – they will reduce appetite, and when it comes time to constantly feed, the child may refuse to eat. If a child is really hungry, he will gladly snack on a crust of bread.

In general, when a child’s daily supplies are properly established, it is undesirable to supplement him with anything without serious reasons. Experts around the world think that the problem of overweight adults, which is very current today, is linked to a poor diet in early childhood.

– What are the recommendations for chubby feeding of children? You know, it’s hard to prescribe a diet for a baby.

– There is no universal recommendation in this case. The causes of overweight can be very diverse, especially hereditary ones. Therefore, a professional observing a child should establish a diet. But if a chubby child is healthy, active, then the reason for their excess weight is actually malnutrition.

The most important thing to note – the frequency and volume of food intake, the amount of fat and carbohydrates are especially important. There are special norms for the daily amount of energy and nutrients for children of different ages, and you should focus on them when rationing. Of course, you should not carefully count milligrams – these norms are averaged. However, if you notice that a child is eating more than he needs, do not rush to deprive him of his favorite food. To prevent a child from experiencing trauma, you should reduce the amount gradually by limiting the consumption of certain products.

It is important that while reducing the calorie content, the food does not become less tasty – this will require creativity and even cheating from parents. For example, it is no less tasty than fried potatoes in the oven. The same goes for meat and fish. Because of vegetables, you can increase portions (for example, cauliflower, spinach, legumes, but not potatoes), so a child can feel full without adding extra calories.

– What if a child, on the contrary, is too weak?

– Often parents worry about the excessive thinness of a child – he eats well, but still thin. However, if a child is healthy, mobile, has a good appetite, you should not worry – most likely, this is just his individual characteristic. In most cases, everything will become normal with age. Sudden weight loss requires attention – in this case, the child often becomes sluggish, gets tired quickly, eats little and sleeps little. To find out the causes, you should consult a doctor.

– Probably, weight loss is linked to vitamin deficiency?

– Most likely they are not directly connected. But the lack of micronutrients, including vitamins, is usually accompanied by a decrease in the general vitality of the organism, worsening of appetite and sleep, which can lead to weight loss. Parents should know that even the most perfect diet cannot provide a child with the necessary amount of micronutrients. Therefore, children should take daily vitamin-mineral supplements. This is not a trick of vitamin manufacturers, but a scientifically proven fact.

Children should take vitamins twice a year – in spring and autumn the course should last 1-2 months.

Studies show that it is better to take vitamins and minerals at different times during the day. In this way, they are better assimilated and act more efficiently. Also, pay special attention to dosage when choosing multivitamins. Hypervitaminosis can cause the same harm to a child’s organism as a lack of vitamins. Also, a child gets some of their nutrients with food.

– It is known that many vitamins are lost during cooking or storage of food. Is there any way to hide them?

– To maximize nutrients, you need to know what they “fear”. Thus, for example, vitamins A and E are not destroyed during heating, but they are very sensitive to sunlight and oxygen. For this reason, vegetable oil and butter should not be left in a light and open container. Vitamins B1 and B6, which include bread, pasta and soy, and vitamin K, which contain spinach and cabbage, also do not like light.

Vitamin C is very capricious. Many mothers like to peel the potatoes from the evening and soak them in water to boil in the morning.

However, in this case, the potato loses most of its vitamin C like other vegetables. It is undesirable to cut and grate vegetables and fruits for the same reason – the cells are broken and the anti-vitamin is released, quickly destroying ascorbic acid. . If a child is already able to chew on his own, it is better to give him vegetables and fruits as a whole.

Improper heat treatment of products also leads to loss of vitamins. Frying destroys the most vitamins. And at least they are destroyed when steaming, cooking in foil or pot. When boiling in water, you should put the vegetables in boiling water, not cold, to neutralize the anti-vitamin.

It is also important not to overdo the food. For example, potatoes are boiled for 10-20 minutes, cabbage – 20-25, carrots, onions, marrow – 10-15 minutes. The lid of a pot in which vegetables are boiled should be tightly closed and filled to the brim.

Boil products in aluminum or stainless steel containers for better preservation of vitamins.

– From which plate should a child eat?

– The best plate for a child – one made of unbreakable porcelain or faience. Beware of plastic, most parents prefer it because it is unbreakable, but non-food plastics can release toxic substances.

Place settings for children should be made of stainless steel, nickel silver and ideally silver with an antimicrobial effect. You should not use wooden plates as germs can stay in the pores of the wood. Souvenir wooden spoons and plates are better used as toys.

It is desirable that a child has his own arrangement of crockery and floor, as well as tissues and dishcloths. Children’s belongings should definitely be kept separate from adults’ belongings.

– What is the basic principle of nutrition for children aged 1-6?

– Perhaps the main thing is the calm, attentive and attentive attitude to the child, as they help to support both health and nutrition. It is very important that the food is diversified at the maximum level and includes all product groups. Follow the advice of experts, but consider a child’s needs, value their personality. And then he will delight you with health and mood.

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