Jason Ramos of Cambridge Nutritional Sciences talks about how moms can manage their children’s sensitivity to certain foods at the LifeScience Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine.
Cynthia Canonicato, a nutritionist from the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, shares healthy eating habit tips for children.
Mommy Mundo Founder Janice Villanueva with executives of LifeScience Center.
The quest to make our children lead healthier, happier lifestyles starts with good nutrition. It begins, says Cynthia Canonicato, a nutritionist from the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, with the promotion of healthy food habits and feeding skills among the young. While food choices depend largely on history, culture, and the environment, the family plays a crucial role in a child’s perception of nutrition.
She says, “Healthful eating habits help children grow, develop, and do their best in school. Smart food choices can also reduce the risk for chronic non-communicable diseases.”
At the LifeScience Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine, an integrated facility that offers the best practices in anti-aging and preventive medicine, Canonicato listed down a number of dietary guidelines which parents must take into consideration when feeding their children.
For children under two, she says, “Babies grow and develop very rapidly in the first two years of life. They need a diet that supplies energy and nutrients to promote this rapid growth.”
Most babies are ready for infant cereals at 6 months. Parents should then start introducing them to a variety of foods, adding a new food one at a time, every three to five days or so, to make sure baby is not allergic to it.
She adds, “The natural amounts of fiber and nutrients in grains, vegetables, and fruits are what babies need beginning at 7 months of age as part of a healthy diet.” Be sure they get a certain amount of fat calories too—meat, egg yolks, and tofu are good sources.
For children over two, a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables, and fruits but low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol is best. Keep sugar and salt in check as well. She adds, “Encourage your child to drink from a cup. This will prevent bottle-induced tooth decay and reduce tongue thrust.”
Encourage your child to feed himself by giving him kid-sized utensils, plates, and cups. She says, “Your child will gain self-confidence. Eating will be more enjoyable for your child and your family.”
It is around this time that you might want to consider having your child undergo a food sensitivity test. Jason Ramos of Cambridge Nutritional Sciences, the premium provider of food intolerance testing, points out that children can have very different reactions to exactly the same food. One child may find carrots so delicious, while another may find himself with skin rashes as soon as he eats it. Although food intolerance is not life-threatening, he says, it can produce such symptoms as anxiety, hyperactivity, bloating, diarrhea, and skin problems. Left untreated, it may lead to poor concentration skills, poor academic and athletic performance, and lack of self-esteem in children.
He says, “If our children stay away from food items that are recognized as ‘poison’ by their bodies, then we can truly start nourishing them properly.”
Managing food intolerance starts by identifying the culprit food item then removing it from your child’s diet for three to six months. This will give your child’s digestive system to heal and recuperate. Eventually, you can re-introduce the food gradually, monitoring your child for symptoms.
A healthy lifestyle starts with good nutrition, and this includes knowing the type of food that’s really good for your child.