Effect of nutrition on child development. – Dr. Tanjima.
Effect of Nutrition on child development
It is frequently spoken that childhood is the seeding period in a person’s life. Both mental, Physical, cognitive & spiritual base is mostly being established in this period. A person’s adult life is almost a reflection of his childhood. So, care and fulfilling all requirements are an actual mandatory task for the caregiver of the child. foods and nutrition have a great impact on child development
Among all, the child’s nutritional requirement is one of the most needed. Any kind of malnutrition in this period has a lifelong effect. An optimal nutritional fulfillment gives a child an appropriate scale of growth in all aspects. This article is about the effect of Nutrition on child development.
Before knowing your child’s optimal nutritional requirements, you have to know that your child will go through three developmental stages, before reaching adulthood.
- Infancy (birth -1 years)
- Childhood (1-10 years)
- Adolescence (10-18 years)
During those years, optimal brain development takes place. Other physical and cognitive (attention, memory, learning, perception) developments are also vulnerable to dietary deficiency.
During Infancy (Birth – 1 year)
Breast milk and only breast milk! There is no comparison with breast milk or other formulated milk or cow milk. Breast milk contains extra fat which is very essential for the child’s brain development. And also contains lipase which is essential for breaking down the lipid and helps to digest it. Breast milk is easy to digest and has anti-infective properties. So, it’s really necessary to keep the baby safe from various infections.
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Up to six months of life, breast milk is the only “yes” to a child. After six months of life- breast milk will not be enough for the baby. You have to add other ‘easy to digest’ food along with breast milk.
Adding extra foods at the age of six months is called weaning. Foods for your baby’s weaning periods can be-
- Blended, mashed rice
- Soft cooked vegetables
- Ripped banana, Mango, Avocado, peach
- Meat, liver, fish (Mashed)
Some items should be avoided or limited during the weaning period i.e. salt and sugar. During this time, your baby will still need 500ml of breast milk. Besides you can add these extra foods 3-4 teaspoons for every meal.
It’s great to give your baby finger foods after six months of age. This helps your baby to adapt itself to eating using his own fingers. This is both needed for its physical and mental health.
Finger food allows your baby to develop-
- Hand-eye coordination.
- Grasping capacity.
- The idea of bite-size.
Overall, they also exercise different skills through this.
What can be these finger foods?
- Dry cereals
- Scrambled egg
- Soft & ripped fruits
- Meat & fish
- Or any other soft solid easy to digest foods
During childhood (1-10 years)
In this period, the babies start to develop their own persona. He has his own choices, develops decision-making capacity. They make their own decisions for everything including their meal menu, meal timing and that’s very important.
Some mothers get anxious that their babies are not eating enough. For most of the cases, it is okay to deny to eat for a child you should not be worried and you can do the following when a baby refuses to eat.
- Don’t force them
- Don’t replace the food sharp at that moment according to their wish
- Never ever repeat the same meal for two days in a row
- Don’t always give the favorite meal. Make him adjust with all types of favorites and not so favorites.
- Give a small amount of snacks to improve appetite but not in large amounts.
- Sometimes plan the menu with your kids according to his choice.
- All the family members to eat together
- Encourage your baby to sit in the table if he is done early
- Eat slowly and chew your food properly in front of your baby and ask him to do so.
- Always breakfast should be healthy and interesting.
*Remember! If your baby skips a single meal, that’s not the end of the betterment of his health. He will get hungry and eat the next meal eagerly.
Now, what item can you add to your kid’s menu? Just the regular meal! It’s nothing special. You should keep rice, bread, green and colorful vegetables, fruits, yogurt, milk, egg, fish, meat.
Parents are always tense about junk food. Yes! With no doubt, junks are health and brain-damaging. Your child never should get addicted to junks. Only sometimes they are allowed to have junks. But not so often.
Along with the regular meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), they should have two small snacks.
- Midday snacks
- Evening snacks
The snack menu should be of little amount. It can be a banana, an apple, a boiled egg, a cup of yogurt, a glass of milk, some peanuts, or a glass of juice. Sometimes you may make pasta with egg, chicken, or vegetables. But whatever it is, it should be a very small amount.
During adolescence (10-18 years)
Read- 11 Best foods that boost your mood and immune system.
Adolescence is a great turning point for both your boys and girls. Both of them go through a vital changing period at this time. Girls start menstruating and boys start masculinizing. So, the role of all nutrients and making a habit of having nutritious diets is very essential at this time.
Their diet should contain less refined carbohydrates, less refined sugar, and less red meat.
Instead, it should be rich in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, vitamin D, and iron.
In this age, there are some common physical problems like menstrual problems, acne, and constipation. One should drink 1.5 to 2 liter of water per day and diet should be rich in fiber. Ripped and green banana, Lettuce (kchu shak; Bengali: কচু শাক) are rich sources of iron. Milk and yogurt are rich in calcium and vitamin D.
Obesity, binge-eating, anorexia nervosa is most commonly seen in teenagers. One should not get used to fast food. In case of severe anorexia, you should take the help of a psychiatrist.
One thing, I must mention- involve your teenage boys and girls in planning the menu. Take his help in making food. Sometimes let him make his own food. It gives rise to a sense of awareness of nutrition in them. It improves their taste bud also. And obviously, it makes them responsible.
Nutrition: Your babies’ future
A nutritious diet not only possesses physical development. It’s a whole lifestyle. It makes them more focused, confident, more aware, and relaxed. Both their mind and body remain activated. However, one never should eat all over the day and night. Between two diets, there should be at least four to five hours of no food time. Drinking plenty of water is always cell reviving.
Read- Tips to maintain good mental health and effectiveness.
Giving your child a healthy and nutritious food habit is your contribution in making a great future world. You make them able to fight all the struggles in the coming days. Just remember, nutrition is not only food, but it is also the habit of combining food items, menu making, time table, and a proper way of eating. And that’s not obviously rocket science but a great duty.
This is all about the effect of Nutrition on child development. Look after your child; your child will represent you in the future. It is said that children are the mirror of parents because they always imitate and or copy their parents. Thanks.
Dr. Tanjima Kulsum
Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College
Dr. Tanjimas another article is Weight loss strategies of success.