Raising healthy kids-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
DEAR Dr. Dana,
I’m a mother of a one-year-old daughter. As early as now, I am concerned for her health and her food intake.
One of my concerns is when should I start giving vitamins to my child? If in the future she develops fondness for junk foods, how do I wean her from it?
As much as possible, I want my child to have the best nutrition. What do you think are the best ways to ensure that my child will be healthy in her growing-up years?
Mothers are often at a loss when it comes to ensuring their children get adequate nutrition, especially in these times of fast foods and other convenience foods. A recent pediatric study in the USA revealed a possible link between early multivitamin intake in infants and the development of asthma and food allergies (manifesting as hives, throat closure and sudden drop in blood pressure). It was shown that vitamins cause cell changes that increase an infant’s allergic responses to environmental allergens.
That is why it is strongly recommended that vitamins should not be given to infants and that mothers should breastfeed their babies instead of giving them milk formula. Only pediatricians can prescribe vitamins since they can determine if your child needs them or not.
The first thing about junk foods—don’t eat junk food yourself. Children learn by example. Introduce healthier foods, known as “bridge foods,” that can replace junk food. Instead of buying your kids fast food burgers, make your own burgers from lean ground beef. If they ask for candy, give them fruit slices instead.
You can encourage your child to eat vegetables by cooking the vegetables in a variety of ways. You may serve them raw (be sure to prepare them properly) as a salad one day or lightly steamed or cooked the next.
Put fruit slices or veggie sticks in places where snacks are usually consumed such as in front of the TV or the computer.
Milk is also essential for your child. In order for children to drink the required four glasses of milk per day, limit their intake of sodas, juices and sports drinks. Try other tasty dairy products such as ice cream, milk shakes, natural cheeses, or yogurt. You may also add calcium-rich foods in their diet, such as canned salmon, tofu, broccoli and spinach. If your children get an upset stomach whenever they drink milk, let them drink milk after meals or switch to lactose-free milk.
Very truly yours,
Dr. Dana R. Sesante
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 12, 2012.