Types of Food for Children- Explained

Milk and dairy products:
Milk and dairy products contain a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A protects our body from infections and keeps our skin and eyes healthy.You can start to feed your child cow’s milk from one year old instead of feeding them breast milk and container milk or you can continue breastfeeding. To make the bones and teeth strong, you need to let your child drink milk three times a day. You can feed them milk directly or you can make different types of  food like yogurt, cheese etc from milk.
If your child can eat well and his physical growth is perfect according to his age, then you can start giving them half-fat milk from 2 years. Half-fat milk does not contain enough amount of fat, that is why it is not suitable for the children under 5 years old.
Starch rich foods:
Starch rich foods are a good source of energy. It contains a certain amount of nutrients and fiber. Children like to eat foods such as bread, cereals, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice or couscous (a type of food made from semolina).
You can feed your baby rice, bread, pasta etc which are made from corns (rice, wheat, maize, etc). But you can’t just give your baby these foods because they can reduce appetite before taking enough amount of calories.
Don’t feed your child cereal which has bran or husk because it will not help to absorb minerals like calcium, iron etc. Iron is an essential element for children’s health. Lack of iron can lead to anemia which may hinder child’s physical and mental growth. Children who drink excess amount of milk have the higher risk to get infected by anemia.
Body can easily absorb the iron in fish and meat. Even having a small amount of fish and meat is really good for health cause it helps body to absorb iron which comes from different types of food. If your child does not eat meat or fish, then you can feed him the foods below to maintain enough amount of iron in his body.

  • Breakfast cereal
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Bread
  • Beans, peas/dal
  • Dry fruits such as raisins, dates and prunes

Fruits and vegetables :
Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Try to make your children’s habit to eat fresh, frozen or dried fruits from their childhood. If possible, give them mix green vegetables (such as cauliflower and cabbage), mixed yellow and orange vegetables (such as pumpkin, carrots and squash) and mixed fruits (such as ripe mango and papaya) etc to eat.
Different types of fruits and vegetables contain different types of vitamins and minerals. So, the more your child eats fruits and vegetable, the more it will be beneficial for his health. If your children eat only one or two types of fruit and vegetable, then please don’t worry cause sometimes many children do not like to eat cooked vegetables but they try to eat them while you’re cooking. However, you can make pakora, pizza with vegetables and serve them with sauce.
Fish, meat and other proteins:
Children need protein and iron for their growth and development. Fish, meat, eggs, nuts, pulses (such as beans, lentils and peas) and foods made from pulses (such as tofu, hummus and soya mince) are excellent sources of protein and iron. Try to give one or two parts of these foods to your children.
Fish and meat also contain zinc which helps to heal wound and does other physical tasks properly.
Energy derived from fat is very important for the children who are under two years old. There are some vitamins which can be found only in fat foods such as full fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and fish and these are essential for children’s health.
Try to reduce the amount of fat gradually from foods when your child become two years old. There are some foods which contain saturated fat. Foods like cheap burgers, chips, cookies, cakes and fried foods have too much saturated fat. Although these foods are popular to both children and adults, to keep our family healthy these foods should be taken into limited quantities. If your child eats four main types of food, then you can consider it as an “Extra” food.
Keep track of how much fat your family members are taking from foods and try to minimize it. The following steps can help to reduce the amount of fat in foods-

  • Try to eat grilled or baked foods instead of frying foods.
  • Remove the fat from meat like minced meat or curry while cooking.
  • Purchase low fat meats and meat products such as as sausages, burgers etc.
  • Poultry meat contains a lot of fat in the skin. So, remove the skin before cooking it.
  • Try to use low-fat dairy products such as reduced fat cheese for the children more than two years old.
  • Use less cooking oil as much as possible and try to use high amount of omega-3 polyunsaturated oils such as rapeseed, soybean and olive oil.

To keep your child’s teeth healthy and clean, brush their teeth regularly and go to the dentist  as well as decrease the amount of sugar from their food. Drinks, juice, sweets, cakes, jam or fruit pickles contain excess amount of sugar. If you want to give these types of food to your child, give it during their meal instead of snacks.
Do not let your children eat more sugary drinks and sweets. The more their teeth get in contact with sugar, the more are the chances of them being damaged.
You don’t have to mix extra salt to your baby’s food. Most of them contain enough amount of salt. Adding extra salt will make your baby’s food more salty and this will lead to high blood pressure later in life. It will be beneficial for your family if you reduce the amount of salt in cooking gradually.
1 year old children should not take more that 1 gram of salt per day. The maximum amount of salt is 2 grams for the children who are 1 to 3 years old and 6 grams for 4 to 6 years old.

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