Feeding Small Tummies

The nutritional needs of a child are more than that of an adult. Childhood is an important phase of physical growth, cognitive development and maturation of immunity. 60% of an adult's standing height is achieved by 5 years. 90% of the human brain is developed before age 6. A child's immune system continues to grow until age of 5. An unbalanced diet results in a nutrition gap leading to low resistance to day to day infections due to a weakened immune system. Also the child fails to reach its full potential of growth and development with the added risk of obesity.

Tips and Tricks for your little ones’ mealtimes

  • Provide 3 balanced meals with healthy snacks in between.
  • Avoid snacking before meals.
  • Have a structured meal plan. The table below provides a brief overview of how you can go about it.
  • Food group 1 to 3 years 4 to 6 years
    Cereals and grains2 cups per day4 to 6 cups per day
    Vegetables2 cups per day3 cups per day
    Fruits1 fruit/ a tall glass of fruit milkshake or smoothie/ a fruit bowl
    Protein1 cup pulses per day plus 1 portion(50 g) egg/fish/meat
    Dairy500 ml milk and dairy all inclusive
  • Introduce new food at the beginning of a mealtime.
  • Make food interesting - play around with taste/texture/colour/shapes.
  • Allow your child to help out during cooking.
  • Be creative. Sly and creative. Sneak healthy ingredients into foods your child already likes.
  • Make feeding times fun. Speak animatedly. Share fun stories.
  • Do not force feed.
  • Encourage your child to eat by himself/herself. It is ok if they make a mess.
  • Stock up on healthy nutrient dense food instead of fatty/sugary foods.
  • Be a positive role model.
  • Be the change you want to see!

HAPPY PARENTING!

Article by Dr Lakshmi Prashanth, MD (AIIMS)
Consultant Pediatrician
Kauvery Hospital

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