NUTRITION CORNER: Child should be taught healthy eating habits from the start


The best time for the mother to introduce delicious but nutritious foods to her child and teach him correct healthy eating habits is by the first year.

Doctors recommend that the mother should breastmilk her child from the start as her milk is the best and most complete food for him. But by his first year, aside from breastmilk, she can introduce whole milk into her child’s diet.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) has developed a Daily Nutrition Guide for Children (1-6 years old). The guide recommends that the child should be given a glass of milk daily as his digestive system is now able to handle the large proteins found in milk. By drinking whole milk the child is ensured to meet his nutritional requirements as it is an additional source of calcium and fat.

The mother can also start giving fresh fruit or fresh fruit juice to her child. It is recommended that he is given 1 to 2 medium size fruit (e.g. 1 small apple, 1 piece banana, 1 small orange) or 1 slice of a big fruit (1 slice ripe mango, 1 slice ripe papaya) because they are good sources of vitamins and minerals which he needs for growth and development. These nutrients help boost her child’s immune system. She can also give him at least 4-7 glass of water a day.

From ages one to two years, your child should get 1,100 to 1,200 calories from solid foods. The recommended intake per day for carbohydrate-rich foods is 2 to 4 1/2 servings; for protein-rich foods, 1 to 1 1/3 serving(s); for fats and oils, 6 teaspoons and; for vegetables, 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving(s). (Reference: Catherine Rose P. Josue, FNRI Digest)