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Child Nutrition Articles

Why you should pay attention to your child’s appetite
Does “brain food” help children study well?
Healthy Habits to Keep a Child’s Immunity Strong
Nutrition’s Role in Building Strong Immune System in Children
How to Support Your Child’s Immune System through Nutrition
4 Important Nutrients Your Child Might Not Be Eating Enough
How Protein Fuels Child Development
Why Kids Need Healthy Snacks
Nutrition Tips to Help your Child Stay Healthy during School Age
Signs that Tell Your Child is Undergoing Growth Spurt
How to Choose Healthy Drinks for your Child
Why kids go through a picky eating phase and how to address
Healthy Ingredient Swaps for Kids’ Meals
Top reasons your kid is refusing to eat

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Why kids go through a picky eating phase and how to address

Why kids go through a picky eating phase and how to address

A parent may have confidence in knowing the nutritional value of most foods, but still have difficulty feeding their child. Any serious medical reasons aside, picky eating is a normal behaviour in a child.1, 2

 

Why are children picky eaters?

It has to do with a child’s growing cycle and they will need different amounts of food at different stages. Picky eating behaviour can last until they are much older. Picky eating can also be defined as your child having “neophobia” or a fear of new foods. When helping your child overcome food neophobia, make sure that you neither praise or punish them for it.1, 2

 

Praise – Praising can have an opposite effect where just because them eating makes you happy, they will develop a habit of overeating when full.1, 2

 

Rewards & Bribery – Using bribes can make a child develop an unhealthy association with food. Using other foods as rewards can develop emotional eating early on.1, 2

 

Restrictions & Punishments – if you are way too firm on your food eating rules, they may sneak or throw away food. This leads to early childhood obesity and eating disorders. Please consult with a child nutrition expert if you suspect your child’s food issue is beyond your control.1, 2

 

Have a Plan – Have a generally precise meal plan and schedule time for grocery shopping. These few extra steps will help you make it right.1, 2

 

Designate an eating location – Have a designated place to eat at home. It is important to make mealtimes as natural as possible with a general positive mood.1, 2

 

Stick to the routine – Children thrive on routine. A structured schedule that is easy to follow helps them develop good self-regulating skills, especially with food. It will reduce constant cravings for snacks and increase their willingness to tell you they are hungry at the right time.1, 2

 

Trust your child – The best thing you can do is set a good healthy eating habit. Use this picky eating stage as a teaching opportunity by swapping ingredients, changing cooking methods, and even planning a meal together.1, 2

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://www.childrensnutrition.co.uk/full-blog/refuse-meals
  2. https://www.childrensnutrition.co.uk/members-club

Top reasons your kid is refusing to eat

Top reasons your kid is refusing to eat

It is normal for parents to get frustrated when their child constantly rejects food that they’ve lovingly prepared. You’d think that the Myanmar saying “try and try until you succeed” might only be applicable to a point, especially in feeding a picky eater children.

Before scolding or bribing your little one with a yummy treat for dessert, learn the top reasons why your kid is refusing to eat. 1,

 

  1. Developing Taste Buds

At a young age, children’s taste buds are still developing. While they have mature, sweet taste buds, their bitter and sour taste buds are not yet fully mature. This is why vegetables, which have many bitter compounds, are naturally rejected by kids.

 

That said, children also have more sensitive taste buds in general compared to adults which means that feeding them a variety of healthy food can help them develop a palate for a broad selection of healthy food. It is just a matter of a parent exposing them to these nutritious foods.1,2

 

  1. Timing of Meals

Even with a structured meal and snack routine, children will sometimes ask for more snacks in between times. A couple of things could be happening here. They could be undergoing developmental leaps which in turn requires more energy, especially if they’re asking for carbs. Or more often than not it can be because they are hungry, mostly likely because they didn’t eat well at the last meal.1

 

  1. Distracted Eating

Eating while watching TV or iPad, bringing toys to the table to mindless eating or eating not in response to hunger. When children are eating mindlessly, they are not interacting with the food. There’s no learning happening, thus they are not experiencing the sensory properties of the food. They are also not paying attention to their hunger or their fullness cues. This can lead to them either overeating as they grow up or it can lead to them not eating enough. 1

 

  1. Tiredness

Dinner is often the worst meal of the day for many children. It’s the end of a busy day and they’re getting ready for bed. This is when often children gravitate towards junk foods like chicken nuggets and hot dogs that are pre-processed before they eat them, so they don’t have to chew as much. A solution to this would be to switch meals around. Make lunch a bit more substantial and dinner something a bit more low key, and introduce a bedtime snack alongside milk.1

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://www.childrensnutrition.co.uk/full-blog/toddlers-wont-eat
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721271/

Healthy Ingredient Swaps for Kids’ Meals

Healthy Ingredient Swaps for Kids’ Meals

Making your little ones eat nutritious food does not have to be a bore for them. You can make healthy everyday foods more interesting and appetizing by substituting healthier ingredients with more flavor and color. Ingredient swapping is a smart and strategic way to make meal time a more enriching and worthwhile experience for a child and a parent, too! 1,

Here are some ways to make eating healthier and fun for your child:

  1. Mix up the milk

For strong and healthy bones in kids, milk delivers quality nutrition. But if your child dislikes the taste of milk or is lactose intolerant, alternatives are available in the form of soy, almond, and rice milk. Pediasure is another great option as it provides protein, calcium, and Vitamin D. To help your child build a habit of drinking milk, try mixing half milk and half Pediasure in a cup. Then begin to decrease the amount of Pediasure over time. 1,2

 

  1. Sweeten up food naturally

Instead of feeding your child sugar, try sweetening up their breakfast and snacks with fresh fruits. Fruits are natural sweeteners and a variety of these will make for a colorful meal. 1

 

  1. Add Toppings

Children find toppings fun and enticing. Putting nutritious and familiar ingredients on top of less appetizing food can make a meal interesting to a kids and introduce their palate to more exciting dishes. Toppings kids enjoy may include cheese on top of vegetables and banana or apple slices with peanut butter. 1

 

  1. Try Dips

Put a little action in meal time by making your kid dunk fruits and vegetables in sauces, dips, or dressings. Matching fresh fruits with a bowl of yogurt is a great example.

 

  1. Make it a Smoothie

A surefire way to make your kid eat more fruits and vegetables is to make smoothies out of them alongside yogurt and fresh milk. The delicious taste of yogurt or milk covers up the taste of fruit or vegetables that kids might dislike at first. 1

 

References:

  1. https://pediasure.com/healthy-eating-kids/picky-eaters/recipe-ingredients
  2. https://www.thv11.com/article/news/verify/which-milk-is-best-for-toddlers-almond-coconut-dairy-verify/91-566114463#:~:text=It%20is%20a%20good%20source,fat%20%2D%2D%20primarily%20saturated%20fat.

Nutrition Tips to Help your Child Stay Healthy during School Age

Nutrition Tips to Help your Child Stay Healthy during School Age

Exams and academic tests are all part of a child’s learning journey throughout their school age. Children are expected to excel in them, which can cause stress. Because healthy kids are happier and better learners, it is in a parent’s best interest to provide them with best supporting nutrition. Effort put in now will go a long way to helping your child maintain a healthy mind and body well into adult life. Here are a couple of nutritional ways to support children throughout their schooling years.1 

 

Make breakfast, lunch and dinner with healthy real food

Children who have had breakfast do better in school because they are more focused. Pack your child’s lunch as much as possible to ensure healthy eating. At dinner time, eat together as a family and set healthy eating habit examples.1  

 

When preparing meals to support your child’s mental and physical well being, make sure that you include:

 

Protein – Include lean meats, skinless poultry, eggs, beans, or milk in any of your child’s meals to provide nourishment for the brain and better concentration. 1 

 

Good carbs – Fuel for the brain and various activities. To help your child’s brain function efficiently, provide your child with grain foods, fruit and milk to keep up with daily demands.1  

 

Provide plenty of good fats – Fatty acids like (polyunsaturated) omega-3 and omega-6 improves memory function so make sure you include plenty of food sources that provide them (eg. mackerel, walnuts, soybeans, tofu, corn, meat, eggs) in your child’s diet.1, 2

 

Vitamins and important minerals – Only needed in smaller amounts compared to other nutrients, vitamins are essential for a child’s brain function at peak ability. Read food labels, compare to natural foods, and pick ones that will deliver the most vitamins per serving to support the overall well being of your child.1  

 

Fiber – Fiber in a child’s diet keeps them full longer and supports their gut health by feeding the ‘good’ probiotic bacteria in the gut. Fibers aid in breaking down hard to digest foods to extract the most nutrients.1  

 

Reference(s):

  1. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/school/exams#

https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Fat/What%E2%80%99s-the-difference-between-omega-3-and-omega-6


How to Choose Healthy Drinks for your Child

How to Choose Healthy Drinks for your Child

Juice trends have been around since the 1970s. It has always been popular because it is a great way to enjoy the daily servings of fruit and vegetables in a drink format. Juicing is a great option for children to get their nutritional needs. Though there are many juices out there, the main reason to drink juice is to get liquids into your diet. Make market nutritional choices by reading labels before you buy something for your child. Here are a few simple tips to keep your child healthily hydrated with beverages.1

 

Water

Water is the source of life and people cannot go without it for an extended period. Water carries vitamins and nutrients around your body to the cells that need it. On average, a child should have about six to eight glasses of water every day. Soups, juices, watery fruits and vegetables can add to the daily water intake. Watermelons, cantaloupe, pineapples, and cucumbers are example of natural high water content food items.1, 2

 

Milk

Milk is often attributed to children having strong bones and muscles. Milk is a good source of liquid nutrition because it provides protein and calcium for a growing child. About two glasses (250ml glass serving size) of regular milk or plant based is recommended for kids daily. It has to be part of a healthy meal plan to be effective.1, 3

 

Fruit and Vegetable Juices

If your child is reluctant to eat whole fruits and vegetables, juicing it will get past that. Make sure the juices throughout the day all amount to at least two whole fruits and three to four vegetables a day. Avoid adding additional sugars to the juices because most fruits seasonally contain all of the sugar necessary. A drawback of juicing is that a majority of fiber is thrown out in the pulp. Pulps can be added to cooking to gain back some of that fiber. Because juicing allows a child to technically consume more fruit, the calories can add up. Work around this by using fruit as a natural sweetener (eg. mangos and apples)  to vegetable juice.1

 

Sweetened Drinks

Packaged drinks are an easy fix to making your own juice. As attractively packaged as they are, never go beyond the recommended serving suggestions and never used as replacements for real natural foods in a child’s diet. Check with a pediatrician first before starting them on them because you never know what they may be allergic to.1

Reference(s):

  1. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/pre-school/healthy-drinks#
  2. https://www.efbw.org/index.php?id=46
  3. https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20121213/cups-milk-preschoolers#1

Signs that Tell Your Child is Undergoing Growth Spurt

Signs that Tell Your Child is Undergoing Growth Spurt

Children grow up fast and before you know it they are adults. Each growth spurt throughout their key years lasts about 24 to 36 month increments. For girls growth spurts happen between the ages of 10 and 14, and for boys, it is between the ages of 12 and 16. A varied combination of plates and hormones goes through a process layers upon layers of growth.1

 

Why Nutrition is Key During those Growth Spurts

Though hormones and genetics play a big role in how well a child grows, nutrition plays an important part. Nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin D, Zinc, and other mix of vitamins all contribute to a child’s growth. Children’s bodies are like sponges during growth spurts, it requires all the help it can get. Here are a few ways parents can keep track of their child’s growth. For any other growth concerns, it is best to consult a pediatrician. 1

They are Always Hungry

It is a common sign of a growth spurt if your child is still hungry after a main meal. You will see this happens before and during a growth spurt and can last up to 24 to 36 months. During this stage, limit junk foods and provide them with real whole, nutritionally dense foods. This is to avoid the risk of your child developing childhood diabetes.1

           

None of the usual clothes fit

A simple tell tale sign that your child is going through a growth spurt is that their usual clothes do not fit. Every child grows differently and with genetics and nutrition factors.1

 

Drowsiness

Most of a child’s growth happens during sleep. Because of this, the body will often signal a child to go to sleep in order to make the most of the human growth hormones that peak at night. Depending on age, a child should get anywhere from between eight to ten hours of sleep.1

 

Exponential Weight Gain

A child’s weight can easily get to triple digits as they go through growth spurts. Pay attention to how they are gaining weight by tracking the foods they eat, physical activity, and potential illnesses. Also give mental support so that they maintain a healthy body image.1

 

They have recently gone through Puberty

Growth spurts happen during puberty and achieve peak height during those years. Balance nutrition with plenty of protein, vitamin D, potassium, and calcium rich foods for optimal growth. Healthy gut makes a healthy child so be sure to also Include plenty of fiber in their diet. Growing bones, weight gain, puberty, and hunger are all part of a child growing up and it is the parent’s responsibility to provide the right nutrition and environment.1

Reference(s):

  1. https://www.nutritionnews.abbott/pregnancy-childhood/kids-growth/6-signs-your-kid-is-having-a-growth-spurt/

Important Nutrients Your Child Might Not Be Eating Enough

4 Important Nutrients Your Child Might Not Be Eating Enough

As a parent, you try your best to raise a healthy child with a fulfilling life. But due to life’s challenges, providing the best becomes harder. You wonder what nutrients you are falling short on. Luckly, without having to source specialty foods and careful planning, you can make the best of what is available for bone development, immunity, digestive health and muscle function for your child. Here are four nutrients you should make sure your child is getting enough of.1

Calcium

The bones in your child contain most of their body’s calcium. Calcium is the best nutrient for bone and teeth development in children. It is also important for your child’s muscle function and their body’s cells’ communication.1, 2

How to increase calcium in your child’s diet:

Milk, yogurt and cheese contain high levels of calcium. For the lactose intolerant, include more leafy greens like mustard leaves, kale, broccoli, bok choy, soy products, and fortified packaged foods to get calcium.

Vitamin D

“Sunlight is good for the human soul” is not just a metaphor. It is needed in order for Vitamin D to be produced in the body. It supports your child’s immunity health by activating the required cells and keeps bones strong by helping it absorb calcium.1, 5

How to get more Vitamin D to avoid VDD (Vitamin D Deficiency):

Besides being outdoors to get Vitamin D, some foods do contain it, though not in high concentration. Consider making dishes that have a healthy serving of fatty salmon, tuna (for canned, low sodium options), herring, rainbow trout and sardines. Vitamin D fortified milk, juice mixes and Cod Liver Oil supplements can be given for additional quality Vitamin D.

Potassium

This electrolyte essential nutrient is often under consumed. It helps carry electrical changes in cells for communication within the body so that it functions properly. It aids in removal of wastes and toxins through the kidneys.1, 4

How to get more of this nutrient:

Fatigue is one of the side effects when potassium is under consumed. Natural plant foods, like the banana, watermelon, avocado and sweet potato, contain potassium in small amounts. Offering a variety of foods that contain potassium will not only help give the needed amount, but also build a general healthier diet.

Fiber

Fiber is key for a healthy gut in a child. The gut is responsible for 70% of their body’s immunity and it needs fiber for the nourishment of the good bacteria. There are two types of fiber, Soluble and Insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in many fruits and oats and is easily dissolved when mixed with liquids in the body. Insoluble fiber, found in whole grains, some fruits and vegetables, and kidney beans acts like a cleaner to help things moving in the digestive tract. A mix of both soluble and insoluble fibers are needed optimizes a child’s gut health.1, 3

How to get more Fiber:  Following portion control, your child per meal must have ¼ cup of fruits, ½ cup of vegetables, ½ cup of grains, and ¼ cup protein.

When Food Alone Isn’t Enough

An easy tell-tale sign that your child is ill is that they are not eating well. If you feel that your child is not getting enough nutrition through food, you may look for oral nutritional supplements. PediaSure® has a range of products to fit your child’s needs for growth when food alone is not enough. Packed full of the key nutrients Potassium, calcium, Vitamin D, and Fiber can be served alone as a drink or mixed into other foods. To find out which one of the range of products in Pediasure works for your child, always consult a pediatrician.1

Reference(s):

  1. https://www.nutritionnews.abbott/pregnancy-childhood/kids-growth/is-your-child-getting-enough-of-the-right-nutrients/
  2. https://www.ecowatch.com/vegan-calcium–2631635056.html
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321522#high-protein-foods-for-weight-loss
  4. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal-and-metabolic-disorders/electrolyte-balance/overview-of-potassium-s-role-in-the-body
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Why Kids Need Healthy Snacks

Why Kids Need Healthy Snacks

Protein is one of the main essential nutrients a growing child’s body needs to build immune cells, tissue, muscles and bones. Factors like daily protein intake and other eating habits will affect how well a body will function and growth. Though meals make up most of a child’s daily nutritional intake, snacks can support and enhance their overall eating plan. Here’s how.1

Smart way to snack

Smart snacking is built on consuming foods with high nutritional value such as nuts, fruits, meats. Smart snacking should be around 100 to 200 calories with about at least 5 to 10 grams of protein per snack meal and should not interfere with the main meals.1

For healthy inspiration, try these tasty, protein-packed snacks for kids.

Warm peas or Turkey Deli with Naan

Mash together 2 tablespoons of plain boiled peas and a little over 1 teaspoon of olive oil or 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese and spread on a 6-inch naan.

Roll it up and serve.

Replace the peas with Turkey deli meat for a non vegetarian version. w/Peas ≙ 6 grams protein, 140 calories; w/turkey deli ≙ 8 grams protein, 95 calories 1

Edamame

Soy delivers the same high-quality protein found in meat, fish, and eggs.

For easy snacking, portion cooked and frozen edamame in half-cup size and store in the freezer in appropriate containers and heat the portion you want to serve. Peel away the pod and consume the peas. ½ cup ≙ 8 grams protein, 100 calories 1, 2

Peanut Butter and frozen Banana Sandwiches

For a healthy dessert option, make an “ice cream” sandwich out of a split banana and one leveled tablespoon of almond butter.

Serve with barbecuing sticks for easy holding and eating. Freeze or chill before serving. ≙ 5 grams protein, 200 calories 1

A Protein-Rich Drink

 With a little planning, a simple protein drink will boost your child’s daily protein intake. Any Pediasure products are formulated to supplement a child’s daily nutritional needs.

Add Pediasure to smoothies and shakes to get up to 10 grams of high-quality protein plus 25 growth-supporting vitamins and minerals.

Reference(s):

  1. https://www.nutritionnews.abbott/pregnancy-childhood/kids-growth/why-kids-need-healthy-protein-snacks/
  2. https://pupswithchopsticks.com/edamame/

How Protein Fuels Child Development

How Protein Fuels Child Development

Protein is one of the main macronutrients the children need in order to grow. Starting early on in their lives, protein exists in every cell of a child’s body to repair tissue, build muscles, renew skin, and even in your bones. What happens when your child does not get enough protein? 1

 When kids fall short of their protein recommendations, they can face:

  • Chronic or prolonged fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • Be small for their age
  • Early bone and joint pain
  • Slower recovery from illnesses

Picky eating, irregular meal times, and eating disorders may also affect daily food and protein intake.

How to increase intake of Protein

Studies suggest that children ages 4 to 8 must get a minimum of 19 grams of protein a day. Older children need about 34 grams a day.

The good news is that protein is found in a lot of food sources. Organic red meats, free range poultry, fresh fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, tofu and soy products, almond butter, wheat germ, quinoa, and enriched rice provide a good source of high quality protein.

Serving size per day will depend on the age of your child. Spread the daily required serving throughout the day.1, 2

 Using Supplements to Up Protein Intake

Serving foods in different formats, fun shapes, and mixes can aid with adding more protein to a child’s diet. If your child still seems like they are not getting enough protein, consult a pediatrician for additional help.

Most pediatricians will recommend nutritional supplements to make up for protein intake not gained from food. Nutritional supplements should always be given alongside real food.

Products like PediaSure can easily be cooked into baked goods or paired with your child’s breakfast as a smoothie or shake, and after lunch milky drink, or dinner drink pairing.

Made in a variety of flavors children love, it will boost their protein intake content.1

 References:

  1. https://www.nutritionnews.abbott/pregnancy-childhood/kids-growth/how-protein-fuels-child-development/
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm#:~:text=Every%20cell%20in%20the%20human,%2C%20teens%2C%20and%20pregnant%20women.

How A Mother’s Role is Important in a Child’s Gut Health

How A Mother’s Role is Important in a Child’s Gut Health

Your child’s gut can be a host to trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, collectively known as the microbiome. Scientists at Abbott have been studying the impact of the microbiome on the developing immune system of children for the past two decades. Here are our experts’ answers to three common gut health questions from parents and friends.

Why are the beginning years critical to building immunity?

Seventy percent of our immune system is in the gut so it’s important that a child gets important ingredients like prebiotics. When gut bacteria are properly nourished, they can grow, diversify and multiply – all of which help to strengthen a child’s immune system.

 

What can parents do to foster their child’s gut health?

Parents can help by getting their kids to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables by modeling the behavior themselves. Throw in a couple of healthy snacks like carrots & dip or apples & nut butters to help kids feel full and get in daily requirements of fat and protein. Try cheeses for calcium if they cannot tolerate regular milk.

 

How can parents take care of their own gut health?

As it is important for children, it is also important to feed them the right food and ensure the beneficial bacteria thrive for adults. These 3 things you can be for you and can be customized to be more fit for your child too while you are at it:

  1. Diet
    Eat lots of fruits and vegetables because they are rich in fiber and prebiotics that feed intestinal bacteria. Yogurts are also another natural source of probiotics. The nutrients in these foods nourish and help protect your overall immunity.
  2. Antibiotics
    These are not needed unless medically necessary – Taking them just for the sake of it can upset the balance of your gut flora. If you need antibiotics, ask your physician about them and other probiotic supplements to take after you recover to help restore any impact to your gut health.
  3. Exercise and Stress
    Stress is universal in affecting gastrointestinal systems negatively. Every day, make sure you find ways to reduce stress, for yourself and your children, and fit in exercise to help relax and stay fit. Doing so can protect your immune system.

Reference(s):

  1. https://abbottfamily.com.sg/articles/baby/healthy-gut-starts-with-you

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