Ten Tips for Becoming Your Family's Nutritionist - Article Two
You as parents have a nutritional window of opportunity in your child's first few years to shape their tastes into lifelong healthy eating habits. Here are the first five of ten tips that will give yo...
You as parents have a nutritional window of opportunity in your child's first few years to shape their tastes into lifelong healthy eating habits. Here are the first five of ten tips that will give your infant a smart nutritional start.
3. Proteins are "grow foods." Like the structural steel of buildings and the metal meshwork in concrete, proteins provide structural elements to every cell in the body. Proteins are responsible for growth, repair, and replacement of tissue. They are the only nutritional element that can duplicate itself. Tissues grow by piling millions of proteins on top of each other until each organ has reached full growth, after which they replace one another when worn out or injured.
While proteins are necessary grow foods, during the first year, an infant's total protein needs can be met with breast milk or formula so parents seldom need to worry that their baby isn't eating enough protein. Even during the second year, when toddlers typically become picky eaters, it's hard not to get enough protein. During the first two years an infant needs about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. The total daily protein needs of a twenty-pound toddler could be met by any of the following: a cup of yogurt and a glass of milk; a peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread and a glass of milk; two servings of whole-grain cereal and a cup of yogurt; two scrambled eggs with cheese; or a fish sandwich. As you can see for most children, getting enough protein is not a worry. Foods that pack in the most protein are:
seafood: especially salmon
4. Shape Young Tastes
Here is an experiment you can try with your infant or under three child. For the first three years give your children only healthy foods. Keep out of the diet added salt, table sugar, and unhealthy fats. What happens when your child goes out into the sugar-coated world of birthday parties and candy giving? Of course it is natural for a child to have sticky fingers and icing on the face, but hopefully they will not overdose. That's the difference. Halfway through the mound of icing or chocolate delight, your child should slow their partaking to a stop and convey the "I don't feel good" signs of yucky tummy. Your child will learn to scrape off the frosting and just eat the cake. Even as young as three years, children can make the food connection: "I eat good food -- I feel good; I eat bad food -- I feel bad." Health-food-primed babies seldom overindulge, and that's the best you can hope for in raising a healthy body -- a child and later an adult who avoids excesses.
Here's how to shape your baby's tastes in the right direction:
* Avoid foods with added artificial sweeteners and lots of sugar and corn syrup.
Here's another little tidbit of advice:
To shape young tastes toward seafood, at around one year of age gradually introduce tiny bits of salmon and tuna, perhaps camouflaged in a tuna or salmon salad or in pasta and sauce or in sandwiches. Helping your child enjoy fish is good preventive medicine. Studies show that the populations that consume the most seafood have the lowest risks of nearly all the most serious diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. And, don't forget those growing brains. Next to mother's milk, seafood is a top brain food.
5. Fill Up With Fiber
Fiber and Carbs -- Partners in Health
6. Value Your Vitamins
Go for variety. Vitamin-conscious parents, relax. No matter how picky your eater is, it is unlikely you child suffers from any vitamin deficiency. Many foods contain such a variety of vitamins that even picky eaters are bound to pick up enough vitamins over a short period of time. Giving your child a variety of foods ensures enough vitamins.
Vitamin storage. Some vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are stored in the body fat, so if your child goes on a periodic veggie strike, he will survive on last month's vitamins. Other vitamins (C and the B team) are not stored in the body very long and need frequent boosts.
Fragile vitamins. Some vitamins, especially C, are weakened or destroyed by processes such as boiling. Steaming and microwaving preserve the most vitamins in cooked food. Fresh is best, followed by frozen; canned foods have the lowest vitamin count.
The Ten Tips for Becoming your Family's Nutritionist will follow with Article Three.
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