Mum, I’m one!

Good nu­tri­tion and eat­ing habits are es­sen­tial to help your tod­dler grow into a healthy adult.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FAMILY -

YOUR lit­tle one is fi­nally a year old. His progress chart shows a tripling of his birth weight and an in­crease of about 30% in height. He now boasts a few teeth and en­joys solid foods. He sur­prises you with his first words and gains mileage as he learns to walk and run.

But all this is just the be­gin­ning. More grow­ing awaits him in the years ahead and he needs you to lead him to­wards a healthy adult­hood. This is where good nu­tri­tion and healthy eat­ing habits come into play.

Nu­tri­tion dur­ing the first four years of life ex­erts a ma­jor im­pact on the rest of your child’s life. And eat­ing habits es­tab­lished in early child­hood per­sist into the adult years. So, if your child starts well, he will stay well in the

Brain gains

fu­ture. Let’s ex­am­ine some of his ma­jor nu­tri­tional needs and see how you can use this “win­dow of op­por­tu­nity” to help him.

As early as two years of age, your child’s brain would have achieved 80% of its adult size! Nu­tri­tion plays a vi­tal role in brain de­vel­op­ment and cog­ni­tive func­tions. For ex­am­ple, DHA (Do­cosa­hex­aenoic acid), a ben­e­fi­cial fat, is re­quired for brain de­vel­op­ment. Min­er­als like zinc, iron and io­dine as well as vi­ta­mins, par­tic­u­larly B com­plex and vi­ta­min E, are also cru­cial. The brain also needs a con­stant stream of en­ergy from glu­cose for men­tal and cog­ni­tive func­tions.

How you can help: Add oily fish, red meats, poul­try and whole grains to your child’s menu. Serve small but fre­quent meals for a steady flow of en­ergy.

Mus­cle power

At birth, 25% of your child’s body weight comes from his mus­cles. This in­creases steadily over the years to reach 50% at adult­hood.

How you can help: Start your child right with suf­fi­cient pro­teins in his diet be­cause mus­cle growth dur­ing child­hood is greatly in­flu­enced by nu­tri­tion. In­tro­duce both plant and an­i­mal pro­teins such as beans, meats, seafood, milk, eggs and poul­try to him.

Bon­ing up and smil­ing con­fi­dently

Bone mass is built sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing in­fancy, child­hood and

Fight­ing in­fec­tions

Up un­til three or four years old, your child’s im­mune sys­tem is still im­ma­ture. Co­in­ci­den­tally, dur­ing this time, he so­cialises more and ex­plores his en­vi­ron­ment ex­ten­sively, thus ex­pos­ing him­self to in­fec­tions from harm­ful micro­organ­isms.

How you can help: Friendly bac­te­ria like BL Bi­fidus help to train and boost your child’s im­mune sys­tem against harm­ful micro­organ­isms. Make BL Bi­fidus a part of your child’s daily diet. Good nu­tri­tion and eat­ing habits dur­ing the early years have im­me­di­ate as well as long-term ef­fects on your child’s health, through to adult­hood. But feed­ing tod­dlers isn’t al­ways easy be­cause they have a small stom­ach, fluc­tu­at­ing ap­petite and may be picky with foods. To op­ti­mise your child’s nu­tri­tion, of­fer him nu­tri­ent-dense foods which are ben­e­fi­cial even when con­sumed in small amounts (see sug­gested recipe be­low).

So, let your child start well to stay well. – Ar­ti­cle cour­tesy of Nes­tle Cerelac

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