Child nutrition is an extensive topic that’s widely discussed by many experts. As a parent, you need to be a bit of a child nutrition expert too, if you want to give your child the best. There have been many books written on the topic of child nutrition, but it’s always good to go over the basics.
When babies reach the age of around 6 months, they start to require more than just breast milk or a breast milk substitute. They will need food that contains more nutrients than what they had before. Start with cooked vegetables, then slowly add fruit and later also add lean meats – chicken or rabbit.
When your baby is beginning to walk, they also use more energy than before and the food they eat needs to be even richer in nutrients and more varied. Begin adding bread to your baby’s diet and, once a week, give them a cooked egg yolk which is a great source of nutrients.
So far, you had to mix all of your baby’s food. When your baby begins to chew their food, prepare their meals in a way that would allow them to find and chew small bits on their own. Don’t use salt to flavor the food. Use herbs instead – chives or parsley. You can use ground cumin, too.
Don’t forget your child’s drinking regime. Your child should drink at least 1 to 1,5 liters of liquid every day. One third of this amount should be breast milk or a substitute of milk. Once your baby reaches 10 months of age, their food should be divided into 5 or 6 smaller portions of firm food per day. During the first 6 months of their life, your baby should gain around 1,2 kg every month. Between 6 to 12 months, they should gain around 600 grams every month.
After a year, you can give your baby some raw vegetables, high-quality ham, and mildly salted cheeses. You can use salt to flavor your baby’s food but be careful. It’s best to keep the salt to a minimum. Don’t give your baby sweet foods yet, this includes chocolate or cakes.
Once your baby reaches 18 months of age, they can eat almost anything. You should still be careful about ‘addictive’ foods, such as chocolate or salty food which may create a craving for the taste.
Between 3 to 6 years of age, children can eat pretty much any food and they are able to regulate most of what they eat by themselves. Of course, it’s important to watch them so they don’t eat too little or too much. Even if they like their food very much, they can’t eat a portion of an adult under any circumstances. Make sure they have a balanced diet, that’s the key. Drinking properly is also very important. A child should drink about 1,5 liters of liquid which includes non-carbonated drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, and green teas.
A balanced diet
Balancing a child’s diet is probably the most complicated thing to do. The eating habits that we build in our children will affect them during their adult lives, too. We’ve already mentioned that we shouldn’t use salt often. If you prefer salty foods, only add salt to your own place. You should also be careful when using sweeteners of any kind. Don’t put sugar into your child’s tea. They’ll like the bitter taste, too, and they’ll only begin to ask for sweet tea once you introduce them to the taste.
You should use a minimal amount of fat when preparing food. Always try to steam food rather than frying it. Give your children fresh fruit and vegetables every day, they’re a great source of minerals, vitamins, and trace elements. Remember that an apple is always better than a biscuit. Sweet tastes are easy to get used to and they may cause an addition in your child.