Good nutrition during infancy and toddlerhood is vital to every child’s healthy brain development and physical growth. Meeting nutrient requirements is important throughout the lifespan but, most especially important to infants and toddlers – more than for any other age group.
As a first time mom, I am always wary of everything I put in my daughter’s mouth. But being the not-so-into-kitchen-and-cooking type of mother that I am, I constantly struggle on what food to prepare for Ysha that would cost me less time, effort & budget that would not compromise the nutrition she should have.
Children need healthy foods because their bodies require the nutrients to grow. A child who is given healthy foods will receive a lifetime bonus of a stronger mind and body. A child who is deprived of healthy foods or given too many unhealthy foods may face decades of physical and mental health problems- as I read from Healthy Options.
Here are the Principles of Happy, Healthy and Healing Eating Lifestyle I learned from the “Food that Heals, Food that Nourishes” talk I attended at Linden Suites organized by Mamacademy_ph and Baby Food Project :
1. Eat variety of natural, whole foods- Let food be the medicine and medicine be thy food.
2. Eat indigenous and locally grown produce- Human’s body is regional. We eat based on our culture and our staple.
3. Eat season’s harvest- There is a reason why food has a season.
4. Eat intentionally- Listen to your body and listen to your baby’s cues.
5. Eat with all your senses- Meal time is a fun, family time. Offer food that is good for the mind, body and spirit.
On our babies’ Meal Progression: 0-6 months should be given breastmilk only. Formula Milk shall be given alternatively if the mother does not produce enough milk.
Healthy 3 months old Ysha
I saw her readiness to start eating solid food so at 4 months she started having Cerelac every breakfast
6-8 months shall be breastfeed on demand plus we introduce one mashed vegetable or fruit, eventually combine with other variety. Small finger foods promotes motor skills and teeting/gums.
8-12 months may have thick porridge with veggies, finger food, normal chops/cuts.
12 months onwards are ready for table food! You may offer your toddler a wide variety of healthy meals and snacks that are also enjoyed by the rest of the family.
Food recommendation: Root Crop + Leafy Greens + Legumes & Seeds + Flowers & Stems + Hearty or Fruit + Herbs & Spices
Complete and Adequate Complementary Food Composition
Weight Gaining (Carbs & Protein)
Height Building (Protein, Calcium, Magnesium)
Immune System Boosting (Vitamin C & Iron)
I also learned about the 7S Ways on preparing for food: Sabaw, Steam, Saute, Sinugba, Salad, Sauce, Shake/Smoothie
Now, here are some Signs that your child is growing Healthy & Nourished:
1. Growing at a healthy rate
2. Eating well
3. Active, Happy & Playful
4. Not often sick
5. Recovers quickly from common childhood sickness
Avoid preparing a different meal for your toddler.
Be patient and keep encouraging your child to try new foods even if they have previously refused it. Kids are not born liking or hating certain foods. Dietary preferences are a learned experience.
Cut foods up into easy to handle sizes. Toddlers love foods they can hold in their hands.
Be a good example. Eat healthy foods in front of them.
Make meal & snack times fun! Spark up a light-hearted conversation and tell happy stories while eating.
Don’t give them drinks high in sugar such as soft drinks, fruit juice, cereal or oat-based drinks
We all want our children to grow up strong, healthy and happy. Let’s help our children to learn healthy eating and activity habits that will last a lifetime!
Happy meal times with the little ones, mommas!