Research shows that Early Childhood Nutrition plays as essential role for children’s healthy development.
Early Childhood Nutrition: Babies’ nutrition
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the best early childhood nutrition for infants is breast milk, which has been shown to promote brain growth, maternal/child bonding, and also reduce illnesses in the first few years of life. Breastfeeding experts now believe that babies benefit most when they are allowed to nurse for one year. Solid food can be introduced in the second half of the first year.
Most pediatricians recommend introducing solid food like simple rice cereal into the child’s diet when a child at five or six months of age, and add more gradually as the child grows. Offering babies healthy food is a good start for good early childhood nutrition. Since right after solid food are introduced, most babies will eat anything offered, and this is a good time to start offering foods with high vegetable content. Babies do not need a lot of sweets or other food with thick taste in their diet at this point.
Early Childhood Nutrition: Kids’ nutrition
Once a child is eating primarily solid foods, good early childhood nutrition in the US is based on the food pyramid. These include a recommended five servings of vegetables, six servings of grain, and two servings of dairy daily. Sound early childhood nutrition should also include two servings of meat each day.
Two many sweets of any kind are not encouraged. While saturated fats should be avoided in early childhood nutrition, some fats are indicated in healthy brain development, therefore, it is recommended to offer young children whole milk products. If a child seems to be on a healthy growth rate, some experts recommend not changing to low-fat milk until he or she turns to five-year-old.
Young children eat small portions. How much a young child should eat? It is suggested to use the size of the child fist to measure servings. Any serving larger than a child’s fist is too large, and serving too much food may lead to over eating. Try for small portions, and healthy snacks throughout the day, since children tend to need to eat every two to three hours because of their much faster metabolism.
How parents and care givers feed a child can be very important in early childhood nutrition. Experts in early childhood nutrition warn parents not to get angry or attempt to force-feed a child who is not interested in eating. For some children who are natural grazers, it is recommended to offer them healthy snacks throughout the day instead of attempting to let them sit down to meals.
Parents and care givers can do many positive things on Early Childhood Nutrition to deal with picky eating. For example, offer choices. Varying color, textures and tastes in foods can also help turn picky eaters into happy eaters. Maintain a positive attitude during the feeding process, and help young child develop a healthy emotional attitude toward the process of eating that will lay a solid foundation on Early Childhood Nutrition that is great for his or her health throughout life.
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