What children eat is a very important topic. In recent years, more and more information have added to the idea that early diet affects not only a children’s life, but also his/her adult life. However, this, as is the case with many issues related to health, is not a simple matter, meaning, that finding the right diet for a baby or toddler is not as intuitive or obvious as many people think.
Diet Plans Are Not Easy
A good example of an apparently healthy diet with problematic side effects is the case of a low-fat diet. Naturally, many parents try to cut the fat from a child’s meals as an attempt to avoid obesity, but, now we know that this strategy eventually becomes a case of self-fulfilling prophecy. Because, if your child doesn’t get a proper amount of fat during his/her early years, their bodies can adapt in such a way that fat storage and retention becomes more effective, eventually leading to a higher chance of obesity in adulthood.
At this point we should make clear a sad fact, most manifestations or incorrect or poor nutrition are clearly (not exclusively) associated with low-income households. This notion can be summarized using the term “food insecurity”. This makes reference to the degree of uncertainty that a child faces when his or hers next meal may never come and ingredients are hard to purchase or find.
Children aged 6 to 11 years are the most vulnerable to food insecurity, with obesity usually being the main consequence. Therefore, how easily children can have access to nutritious food is as important as what they are eating. There’s no value to eating well if healthy food cannot be incorporated as a lasting element in a child’s daily routine.
For even smaller children (babies and those under 3 years old) the risk is more serious. Malnutrition can increase the risk for death from 3 to 9 times due to a number of conditions. Even the mother’s diet during pregnancy affects fetal development and risk of abortion.
Macronutrients must be present in a child’s diet. Plentiful sources of water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat and protein are essential to avoid health problems both present and future. Here you’ll find some useful examples for each of these categories.
As we mentioned, nutrition is not a simple topic and sometimes it can be difficult to even notice when children are in need of adjustments to their diets. The main symptoms of malnutrition are the following:
Tiredness and low energy
Frequent illnesses and infections
Dry, scaly skin
Swollen and bleeding gums
Fragile bones that break easily
Problems with organ function
The precise composition for your child’s diet is something that a simple article will never be able to cover effectively. Since nutrition is a whole field of research and one individual’s needs are not the same as other individuals.