A healthy diet for a child
A healthy diet for a child is an important element in supporting the proper development of a baby. Nowadays, children are too often fed meat, dairy, and products full of empty calories. However, not enough raw vegetables and fruit are served. Improper nutrition of a child from an early age promotes overweight and obesity, and it is well known that the quality of food depends on the child's development, health, physical condition and immunity. What to give your child to eat?
See the video: "What Should You Know About The Physiology of a Two-Year-Old?"
1. Absorption of nutrients
Even babies who are heavily overfed can be malnourished. Their hearty diet often lacks foods that meet the daily needs of nutrients, such as calcium, iron, vitamins, and protein.
Even if toddlers get the building blocks they need with their food, they are often not fully absorbed and used by the body. Why? Because their digestibility is influenced by other organic substances, vitamins and enzymes.
In the presence of some compounds, nutrients are highly digestible, while the presence of other substances effectively slows down or even completely inhibits their absorption. So it may happen that the child eats a lot, is overweight, but still - his body remains poor in nutrients needed for proper development and growth. Which nutrients are essential for a healthy diet of a child and how to improve their absorption by the body?
What is a healthy diet for a child?
A healthy diet for a child should be full of vegetables and fruits.see the gallery
2. Vitamin C in a child's diet
Vitamin C deficiencies in children, admittedly, do not manifest themselves in modern ulceration of the palate and mouth, i.e. scurvy, however, can cause joint pain, fatigue and a decrease in appetite. Vitamin C deficiency is most common between the sixth month and the second year of life.
Vitamin C is very important for a toddler's body because it renews connective tissue, protects against free radicals and strengthens immunity. The demand for vitamin C in children increases with diseases (infections, diarrhea, fever), with iron deficiency and in the fall and winter season. Vitamin C absorption is better the more iron is in the blood. Vitamin C, iron and folic acid play a significant role in preventing anemia.
However, excess vitamin C can strain the kidneys and contribute to the formation of urolithiasis. So it's best to avoid additional supplementation and provide vitamin C with food. Children should get it in vegetables, fruits and juices - preferably freshly squeezed or pureed. Particularly rich in vitamin C are citrus and berries, as well as black and red currants, strawberries and wild strawberries.
From vegetables, it is worth choosing tomatoes, red and green peppers, white cabbage, cauliflower and green vegetables: parsley, spinach, chives, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C is oxidized quickly. To preserve its properties, avoid cooking (rather overcooking or steaming) and exposing food to light.
3. Calcium and vitamin D in a child's diet
Calcium is an element necessary for bone mineralization, maintaining proper muscle tone and blood vessel tightness. The absorption of calcium is facilitated by vitamin D and milk sugar - lactose. However, it is not favored by oxalates, such as in beetroot, sorrel, spinach and rhubarb.
The absorption of calcium is also slowed down by fiber, which is abundant in thick groats, raw vegetables and fruits, and whole grain bread. The incorporation of calcium into the bones is hindered by large amounts of saturated fatty acids and phosphates. These substances are present in high-protein products, dry legumes and carbonated drinks.
Dairy products are a good source of calcium and vitamin D. The problem is that many babies don't want to drink milk. Then it is worth reaching for its products, such as: kefirs, yoghurts, cheese. Occasionally, it may be necessary to reach for dietary supplements with calcium and vitamin D.
In addition to dairy products, give your toddler oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines), fish oil, liver, offal, eggs, and do not avoid the sun and often go for walks with your child or organize games outside. Vitamin D does not adversely affect other nutrients, so it is the "ideal guest" for the body.
4. Iron in a child's diet
The absorption of iron in the body is impeded by oxalates and phytates, which are mainly contained in cereals. Plant-based iron is therefore poorly or not absorbed at all. Iron will not be absorbed if it is supplied with calcium, phosphorus, tannin, caffeine, dietary fiber, or high levels of saturated fat.
Iron absorption is disturbed by such foods as thick groats, whole grain bread, coffee, cocoa, strong tea, milk, cheese, sorrel, spinach, rhubarb, fast food. The absorption of iron is facilitated by the presence of vitamin C. Nuts, dried fruit, bran and wheat germ have the most iron of plant products. Animal-derived iron contained in meat, meat and fish is much better absorbed into the body.
5. Dietary fiber in a child
Although dietary fiber is not a building component of the body, it improves the functioning of the intestines and supports the digestive processes. If a toddler is overweight due to a low metabolic rate, dietary fiber is the most recommended. It is thanks to fiber that undigested food can move around in the intestines.
Lack of fiber results in constipation and abdominal pain. The highest fiber content is found in wheat bran, oatmeal, raw vegetables and fruit with the skin. It is worth introducing the eating habit so that the child receives fresh fruit two hours before a meal, e.g. for lunch.
At lunch, the source of fiber for the child can be raw vegetables in the form of salad, and at breakfast and dinner - whole grain or dark bread. The correct composition of meals will help to stabilize the child's weight and provide him with the nutrients necessary for development in the right dose.