Healthy Food:
Effective only with Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy food is the fuel for our body mechanics. It maintains the milieu interior, promotes optimal child growth and development, and provides energy for the desired daily activities.

DHA in the diet improves cognitive skills of children and diminishes the chances of learning disorders.

What complicates the issue of foods for optimal child growth?

  • Besides the need for essential nutrition, foods have many more components; taste, psychological dependence, cultural considerations, and fun association. This is what complicates the issue of good foods for optimal child health.

  • Too many pre cooked products lure mothers and children in present times. In good old days, the mothers cooked and children ate to grow in to healthy and strong adults.

  • Food values are mentioned on the packets which one can read through, but let us face it; it is a commercial world!

Big baits for the parents

  • Each product emphasizes how healthy its contents are and how fast children grow if they eat it.

  • Attractive advertisements and the tiny gifts enclosed within draw children towards the products.

Guard children from falling victim to the commercialization of healthy foods. Improper choice of food can lead to diseases and disorders associated with specific deficiency of a nutrient.

Healthy foods are effective only with healthy eating habits

Barring mother's milk for infant up to 6 months of age, no single food is a complete meal. All foods have their specific nutrients. Therefore,   variety of foods eaten in right proportion make an overall nutritious meal.

How can any mother remember the nutritional values of each food and pick the ingredients to make mathematically calculated healthy food?

Researches go on and views keep changing. The debates over health risk associated with “margarine” and “eggs” are well known.

Egg is a healthy food, especially for children

Eggs make a wholesome healthy meal for toddlers who are off mother’s milk and have not yet learnt to eat fish. This is because,

  • All infant formulas are not  fortified with omega-3.

  • Cow’s milk content of DHA and omega-3 remains doubtful.
    They are only present in the milk of the cows that are nurtured on pastures' fresh grass, which is a rare practice in the present times.

However, eggs are ingredient in many recipes for children; therefore, be cautious not to go overboard with it. That would lead to an imbalanced diet, always strive to plan a mix diet.

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DHA, Docosahexaenoic acid

  • DHA is one of the omega-3 fatty acid that plays a crucial role in optimum brain growth and development.

  • DHA is also essential for visual acuity and maintenance of normal brain functions throughout life.

  • Adequate amount of DHA in the diet improves cognitive development of childhood and diminishes the chances of deficiency associated
    learning disorders.

  • Studies have shown its vital role in development of immune system.

  • Daily requirement of DHA:
    Infants: get it from mother’s milk.
    Toddlers: get it from eggs.
    Children: get it from fatty fishes and meats.
    Vegetarians: Our body also has some capacity to convert the fats eaten into required amount of DHA.

Healthy food differs with phase of child's development

Breast milk

Mother's milk is a complete healthy food only up to 6 months of age. It proves to be inadequate in the second half of infancy, when complimentary foods become essential for proper child nutrition.

Soya milk formulas

Soya milk is recommended for children in some special conditions. Though these formulas are free of cow’s milk protein and lactose, they do provide necessary nutrients, vitamin, minerals, and electrolyte as per the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the FDA for feeding term infants.

The protein is a soy isolate supplemented with l-methionine, l-carnitine, and taurine to provide a protein content of 1.65 -1.9 gram with 67calories per 100ml.

Infant formulas

Infant milk formulas available in the market are FDA approved safe and healthy food for consumption by the infants and toddlers. However, the controversy and debate regarding the aluminium contamination of some of the branded infant formulas yet continues.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits constitute the bulk of daily diet. They are healthy foods, loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and fibers.

A properly planned vegetarian diet can satisfy the nutritional goals for all stages of life. Its other health related benefits include lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fibers, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals.

Vegetarians therefore usually show better health statistics in form of lower body mass index, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure than the nonvegetarians.

Foods of plant origin lack some of the essential nutrients

  • Vitamin B12:
    Children on vegetarian diet get their recommended daily requirement through dairy products and eggs.
    Whereas a mother on vegetarian diet typically needs fortified foods or vitamin supplements to meet the nutritional requirements of her breast-fed infant.

  • Fatty acids:
    Vegetarian diet is nearly devout of DHA & EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

  • Calcium:
    Green leafy vegetables are the only good source of calcium in a pure vegetarian diet.

  • Zinc:
    Fibers and phytate in foods of plant origin hinder the absorption of zinc from the intestines, and hence its availability as a nutrient falls.
    Human milk contains sufficient zinc for infants below 6 months of age.
    Older infants and children need to consume other foods containing zinc or take the supplements under proper medical guidance.
    For nonvegetarians red meat is a rich source of zinc.

It is important to know food bacteria, the probiotics, but this page can not hold all. Read on! Malnutrition does exist even in many food-secure households.

Follow your child’s weight gain on the age and sex specific BMI chart, because over weight is also an indication of disproportionate intake of healthy foods.

Related pages of interest are indexed in the right column

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