Posted: Friday 21st February 2014 at 11:00 am

Are You Feeding Your Child Right?

For proper growth and development, children need to be fed well as the nutrients and energy from food are responsible for fueling all growth processes in humans.

In the event where mothers, families and caregivers fail to mix the best foods for their child, malnutrition could be the result.

This has very telling effects on the child as they remain as children, even if they grow to become adults.

The long and short of it is that if you either underfeed or overfeed your child, they may grow to be very prone to certain lifestyle diseases as adults.

The only way out is that we all have to make it a point to get the best food for our children so that they will grow into responsible and healthy adults. This write up will explore some of the best ways to feed children.

From birth to six months of age, babies are to be fed on breast milk only. This is the best food for them. There are enough nutrients and energy in breast milk to nourish a baby.

All they need for growth, health and well being can be found in breast milk. With breast milk, the child below the age of six months must not even be given water to drink.

The breast milk is just enough. Sometimes, it becomes very difficult for mothers and observers at home to fathom the fact that babies do not have to be given even water. They strongly feel that these babies might be feeling thirsty.

Science has provided enough evidence or reason for all to believe that when fed breast milk, babies under five years of age will not feel thirsty again. Just do the right thing.

Children of school-going age should be given fruits instead of fruit drinks, soda, soft drinks and other sugar-loaded drinks. Fresh fruits are healthier than the juices and the sugar drinks.

Giving them the sugar-loaded drinks only makes them become fat and obese. Consequently, they grow to become fat and obese adults as well. Do not use oil to make food attractive for these children.

A little oil in their stew is just enough to make the food balanced for them. You can use coloured vegetables to make the food attractive instead.

Treating your children to “nice” foods like ice-cream, pizza, fried potato chips, among others all the time will not help them. These days, children are also developing the problem of high blood cholesterol.

Giving them the best of our local foods can actually make them grow into healthier adults. Let them have complete meals, like banku, okra soup and fish rather than the chips and others. They will also learn to eat home-made food which will help them when they grow into adults.

Children might have to eat more than three times in a day in order to meet their nutrient and energy needs. This could also be necessary because they may not be able to eat large meals at a sitting.

For those of them who have great appetite and, therefore, can eat so well at each table, eating several times a day may not be necessary.

Parents should also ensure that they do not allow their children to eat much food just because they are children. Discipline them to eat their food at table. Also help them cherish meal times as this will be of good importance to them if they grow.

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