Nutrition Info For The Childhood Years
Children's nutritional needs change depending upon their age. Nutrition info that applies to babies is different then nutrition information for schoolchildren. No matter the age, parents need information on nutritionally balanced diets and which nutrients might be more important at a given age/stage.
The most nutritious food for newborns is breast milk, assuming the mother has a nutritionally balanced diet. Infants who aren't breastfed derive their nutritional intake from formula. By one year of age babies will get the bulk of their daily nutrients from solid foods.
Toddlers should be introduced to as wide a variety of foods as possible to prevent a nutritional imbalance. Being offered a range of nutrients from the major food groups may help prevent picky eating in toddlers. They need several small but nutritious meals daily. Parents should pay special attention to iron intake at this stage because a deficiency of this nutrient can cause anemia. Plant nutrients are also important to promote growth. A pediatrician may need to be consulted about a multi-nutrient vitamin supplement if a toddler is an extremely picky eater.
The nutrition guidelines for school-age children are very similar to nutrition guidelines for adults. For instance they should be consuming nutritious low-fat alternatives such as skim milk rather then whole milk. Breakfast is especially crucial at this age and nutrient fortified cereals and 100% fruit juice are the best way to start the day. A multi-nutrient vitamin supplement may be recommended for an extremely picky eater or for a child being raised on a vegetarian diet.
Pediatricians are the best source for parents to tap for nutritional information. Pediatricians will also alert parents when a nutrient supplement is advisable. Plus they often have informational handouts on fostering healthy eating habits in children.
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