Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Nutrition at 3 Years

Before you serve food to your child, always ensure that the food is mashed, sliced or chopped into small portions to prevent choking hazards.

Your child needs 500 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day to build strong bones and teeth, enhance nerve and muscle function, and aid blood clotting. The best sources of calcium are milk and dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. You may replace breast milk with growing-up milk that is fortified with prebiotics and probiotics to promote a healthy digestive system.

Your child needs 19 grams (g) of fibre a day to aid digestion and prevent constipation. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are rich in fibre.

Your child needs 16 grams (g) of protein a day to build and repair cells and tissues. Two cups of milk and 28g (1 ounce) of meat will provide enough protein for him. Besides that, protein can also be found in cheese, yoghurt and eggs.

Your child needs 130 grams (g) of carbohydrates a day as a main source of energy. Foods rich in carbohydrates are brown rice, wholemeal breads, noodles and pastas.

Vitamin A: Your child needs 1000 IUs or 300 micrograms (mcg) RAE (retinal activity equivalents) of vitamin A a day to aid vision and bone growth, prevent infections; and promotes cell and tissue growth, especially hair, nails and skin. Fruits and vegetables enriched in vitamin A are carrots, spinach, mangoes, broccoli, and papaya.

Vitamin B: Vitamin B’s include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6, B12 and folic acid, which supplies energy and helps absorb nutrients. Vitamin B6 wards off illnesses and infections, while vitamin B12 is used to develop red blood cells. Every day, your child needs 0.5 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B1, 0.5mg of vitamin B2, 0.5mg of vitamin B6, and 0.9mcg of vitamin B12. Excellent sources of vitamin B’s are wholemeal bread, brown rice, beans, lean meat, fish and eggs.

Vitamin C: Your child needs 15 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day to build and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues; boost immune system and prevent infections. It also helps the body absorb iron better. Foods rich in vitamin C are oranges, papayas, kiwis, broccoli and mangoes.

Vitamin D: Your child needs 400 IUs or 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D a day to aid calcium absorption and build strong teeth and bones, boost immune system and regulate cell growth. Foods rich in vitamin D are yoghurt, fish and fortified milk.

Vitamin E: Your child needs 9 IUs or 6 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E a day to inhibit the production of free radicals, boost immune system and repair DNA. Foods rich in vitamin E are kiwis, mangoes, and peanut butter. 

Vitamin K: Your child needs 15 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K a day to aid in blood clotting and strengthen bones. Vegetables rich in vitamin K include spinach, broccoli, green peas and carrots.

Iron: Your child needs 10 milligrams (mg) of iron a day to promote haemoglobin and myoglobin production, which are cell pigments that store oxygen in the blood and muscles. Foods fortified with iron are fish, meat and poultry; leafy vegetables (spinach), beans, wholemeal bread. Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and eat tuna sparingly, as these fishes are known to contain mercury.

Potassium: Your child needs 3000 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day to maintain a healthy blood pressure and control water balance in the body. Foods rich in potassium are fruits and vegetables like potatoes, prunes, tomatoes, bananas and spinach.

Magnesium: Your child needs 80 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day to help maintain muscle and nerve function, keep heart rhythm steady, support a healthy immune system and promote strong bones. Foods rich in magnesium are oatmeal, brown rice, bananas and baked beans.

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