Healthy food ensures the growth of children, their physical and psychological development. It should be balanced and meet all the needs of the child taking into account his age as well as individual peculiarities. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to make children eat healthy food. In this regard, this paper examines how parents are struggling for the healthy food, tips they could apply, and essential nutrients that their body needs.
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During the first two years of life, children are developing very quickly. The child begins life as a helpless newborn baby completely depending on his parents. After that, he turns into a person trying to show his parents that he can be very independent. Toddlers could already understand a lot and begin experimenting with words frequently saying the word “no”. By the age of two, the child forms his inclination and rejection of things, especially in relation to food. Therefore, it seems appropriate to consider healthy toddlers’ healthy feeding.
First of all, the majority of parents make the following mistake: they pamper their child by means of food. In other words, the child is eating only what he wants. At that time, it does not matter for parents whether it is useful or harmful. As a result, when the child acquires some digestive problems, it becomes challenging to get him switch to healthy food and limit his favorite sweets. A variety of chronic diseases of the digestive system appears in that age (Brown 277). Moreover, junk food influences the overall physical development and reduced learning ability. Therefore, parents should pay the increased attention to the quantity, quality, composition, and diet of their children.
Second, parents should try to get the child to eat together with the whole family. It is not always easy to implement, in particular, if the child is active and wayward. However, if parents show the child the example of helpfulness of the healthy nutrition, they do a lot of good as it contributes to child’s awareness at the very beginning of his life. Best of all, if eating with family would be a good tradition. It is the time when everyone gathers to eat and talk, a time when everyone could speak and be heard.
Family dinnertime should not leave an unpleasant residue. During the family meal, the child would see what his parents eat and how they act to adopt their demeanor. Children accustomed eating healthy food get a huge benefit. Healthy food provides them with the building blocks of the body, through which they will grow. Proper nutrition helps children to maintain harmony and good health, strengthen their immune system, reduce the risk of different diseases, and even improve their ability to learn (Marotz 516). Therefore, preparation and consumption of healthy food should be an integral part of every family.
What if you want your child’s food to be healthy, but the child refuses to eat it? In order to resolve this problem, one could try various tips. For example, tell your child that his favorite cartoon character always eats healthy food, that is why he is such a strong, courageous, and brave. If the child is old enough and does not believe your story, you can talk to him as with adult carefully explaining why it is important to eat the appropriate food. In the case your daughter refuses to eat worrying about the overweight, make it clear that the proper and healthy eating contributes to the perfect body.
As a matter of fact, it is parents of the toddler who control his feeding as they decide what products should be an essential part of his everyday menu. In order to attract his attention, they might use different strategies. For example, they could garnish healthy food with berries, funny faces made of that food, and your toddler would undoubtedly eat the whole portion. Thus, it is necessary that the dish should be not only tasty and healthy, but also colorfully decorated. Moreover, children like to view products. Hence, you could hang a picture of “healthy food pyramid” in your kitchen. It would describe in detail, what food should make up the daily diet of the toddler. Probably, it would stimulate the child to eat something that is useful.
In addition, parents should not encourage their child to eat more than he wants to. There is no need to feed him forcibly even if you think that he eats little. He eats as much as he needs. Wanting to feed the child to eat properly it must be remembered that the pressure could lead to opposite results (Leung, Marchand and Sauve 455). Consequently, child’s taste preferences should be respected and taken into account.
Tastes of children of this age are not completely predictable. Year-old child, who devoured boiled potatoes with an appetite last week could inexplicably withdraw it this week. Additionally, some children refuse to eat any vegetables for a long period of time. In that case, parents should continue to feed their child with vegetables he likes remembering about fruits, grain products, and lentils that supply the deficiency of vitamins and minerals (“Feeding Toddlers” par. 7). During this period, it is necessary to choose a flexible strategy of communication.
It goes without saying that parents should avoid fast food. Even if you want to eat hamburgers or French fries on weekends or vacation, try not to tempt children. Instead, make sure that the child could always easily take the food that you consider useful for him. Here are a few examples of how to implement it in practice. A tray or dish with fresh or cooked vegetables should always be stored in the refrigerator on child’s eye level. In addition, during breakfast, lunch or dinner, it should be on the table.
It is also very important to point out the fact that planning child’s diet should take into account certain features of his body and behavior. The main difference between children and adults nutrition is the growth of his body. For example, it is obvious that the toddler needs more protein than the adult does.
Products for nutrition of children should be fresh, high quality, delicious, and highly nutritious. As children get older, their food becomes more diverse, denser products replace semi-liquid and liquid food. The original product processing, in particular, removal of defective parts thorough washing and cleaning influences the quality and taste of ready meals. Failure to comply with rules for processing products might contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. In its turn, it might create some hostility to the healthy food.
Speaking of essential nutrients of the child, it seems important to mention milk, fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Milk is a valuable product because it saturates the body with animal protein; it is a source of fats, salts, and vitamins. Meat and fish contain complete proteins, vitamins, trace elements along with phosphorus compounds necessary for proper development of the central nervous system. Fish contains very valuable fish oil. Besides, the healthy diet of children making their first steps should include a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. It is important to include in their diet some sources of vitamin B12 (such as cereals or soy milk, for example) (“Feeding Toddlers” par. 10). Besides, calcium-rich large-leafy green vegetables and beans fortified with calcium are also essential.
In order to structure the paper, it seems appropriate to consider characteristics of adequate children nutrition in relation to their body and activities.
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– High mobility. In contrast to adults, children are very mobile. The high mobility of the body of the child helps to normalize his or her metabolism. The limitation of movements of the child would provoke insufficient secretion of growth hormone and, as a result, the development gap. Carbohydrates are the main supplier of energy for muscles and other organs (Samela 14). The more the child is active, the more energy is consumed by his organism. Various cereals, vegetables, honey, and milk contains the essential carbohydrates.
– Eating sweets. Due to the high metabolism intensity, children could absorb more sweets than adults without much harm. However, there should be some restrictions. Although, sweet products of natural origin such as dates or raisins are very useful for the child. The child might appeal some sweet vegetables such as carrots or baked beets as well.
– Cholesterol. As a major component of the membrane that surrounds the cells of the whole organism, it is extremely important for the health of the child. The child grows up, and his organism produces plenty of new cells. It should also be mentioned that fat cells formed during the first years of life influence the perspective possibility of overweight. Therefore, adult’s health in many respects is connected with nutrition in childhood.
– Water. Because of their high mobility, children loss noticeable amount of water, so they cannot be restricted to drink. Nevertheless, parents should not compensate the lack of water by means of sweet compotes or juices, as it leads to the appetite suppression.
– Regulatory mechanisms. It is the most important feature of child food. In the body of the child, there are perfectly functioning regulatory mechanisms that control power consumption. However, if there is an abundance of spiced, fried, fatty, and sweet dishes, the physiological function might be disrupted.
– General development. This feature requires an adequate nutrition, too. The lack of adequate nutrition might cause “poor mental health and lower IQ in children” (Parletta par. 3). It is important for the child to receive sufficient unsaturated fatty acids many of which are found in olive, linseed, and sunflower oil.
Thus, the healthy nutrition of children requires taking into account features of the body of the child as well as the knowledge of some rules and principles of healthy eating. It should be stressed that providing a healthy diet for children, parents ensure the all-round development, strengthen the immune system of the child, and protect him from diseases generally improving his quality of life.
Brown, Judith E. Nutrition through the Life Cycle. 5th ed. New York: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
“Feeding Toddlers.” Parenting and Child Health. n.d.
Leung, Alexander, Valérie Marchand, and Reginald Sauve. “The ‘picky Eater’: The Toddler or Preschooler Who Does Not Eat.” Paediatr Child Health 17.8 (2012): 455-57. Print.
Marotz, Lynn R. Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child. 9th ed. New York: Cengage Learning, 2015. Print.
Parletta, Natalie. “Health Check: How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food.” The Conversation.
Samela, Kate. Give Peas a Chance: A Foolproof Guide to Feeding Your Picky Toddler, New York: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.