"Megan has always been a faddy eater and refuses to eat meat, fish, sandwiches, cheese or any fruit. In fact, there are very few foods she will eat and she will only drink Ribena. Every day, she has the same cereal with milk for breakfast; at school she has a jacket potato with beans and most evenings she has mashed potato, vegetables (broccoli, carrots and a bit of cauliflower) with gravy.
“Although that doesn’t sound too bad, after all, she is eating vegetables - that is literally all she will eat! She won’t go to dinner at friend’s houses or even to birthday parties because she hates the usual children’s fare - chicken nuggets, fish fingers, jelly. I mean, what child doesn’t like McDonalds? “
Kai, her older brother, eats a wide range of foods and they were...
Article by Michele O’Connor
For some children, faddy eating means refusing all types of fruit and vegetables. Others want the same food at every meal, or insist on food of a certain colour.
“Most pre-school children will, at some time, experience some problems over eating,” explains Claudine Fox, co-author of a Royal College of Psychiatrists publication aimed at helping parents called Eating Problems in Children (Ј10, Gaskell).
“Some may only eat a small number of different foods or eat very little or sometimes refuse to eat altogether. But it will probably be a passing phase.”
Professor Marie Reid, clinical psychologist at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, says selective eaters are often quite...
In the UK there are strict laws that control what can and cannot be added to infant formulas and baby food. That means that up to one-year old babies are protected from ingesting additives that their immature livers and kidneys cannot cope with. When babies turn a year old, these laws vanish and they can eat the same food as adults. This generation of children has been called the ‘chicken nugget generation’. Studies have found that people eating diets consisting mainly of processed foods, such as white flours and sugars, had less well-formed jaws and dental arches, and that many suffer from tooth decay.
Many of today’s foods are so refined that they hardly require chewing and children used to the softness of foods like chicken nuggets, cannot cope with the tougher texture...
Some fats are necessary for the body, especially for children’s bodies during growth periods. They also help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. These necessary fats are mainly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated and are found in seeds, grains, vegetable oils and soft margarines. Saturated fats are less desirable and are found in animal fats in meat and in dairy products. Small portions of these are required in the diet because of the protein they contain. However, saturated fats are also found in many bought foods, such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, chocolate and ready meals.
Saturated and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats all contain the same amount of calories (energy value of food), but saturated fats affect blood cholesterol more. It has been found that...
What foods to try
- Gluten-free baby cereals, such as baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk
- Pureed cooked vegetables such as carrot, parsnip, potato/sweet potato, rice or yam
- Pureed fruit – banana, avocado, cooked apple or pear
When your baby is more used to eating solids, you may want to try some of these:
- Mashed-up meat, fish and chicken
- Mashed lentils (dahl) or split pulses
- Full-fat dairy products, e.g. yoghurt, fromage frais and custard.
Use mashed-up food from your family meal where you can, you don’t need to make your baby a separate meal, but do not add salt or sugar to the food until you have removed their portion. If you offer them a wide range of foods that you normally eat,...
Today colourings used in food are made synthetically, but in the past many were originally made from coal tar. Colourings in food have been linked to hyperactivity and asthma in children.
Sugar is a carbohydrate, but unlike other carbohydrates like vegetables, fruit, pulses and grains (starches) it is empty of all nutrients and only contains calories. Other forms of sugar are found in sucrose, which is refined white sugar, fructose, which is fruit and lactose, which is milk. Sugar is potentially harmful in general terms, particularly when we think of our teeth and the rise of obesity amongst children. Sugar is also used in many children’s medicines as a preservative to make it last longer and more palatable. A large number of vitamins cough...
- Ensure your baby is sitting upright and facing forward – a highchair works well for this – so they are able to explore foods with ease and are at less risk of choking.
- Offer your baby their usual breast or formula milk feed, and then before they are completely satisfied, try a small amount of mashed vegetable or fruit. This could also work mid-feed rather than at the end, so try whichever suits you and your baby.
- Make sure any hot food is stirred well and tested by you, to ensure it doesn’t scold them, which could also put them off trying it.
- Most weaning babies prefer to try food with their fingers at first, and take time adjusting to taking food from a spoon, so try to be patient and use a rubber-...
How much to give
- Start with a couple of teaspoons (most will be spat out at first).
- Increase the amount you give gradually, as and when you are both ready.
- If your baby is showing signs of still being hungry, then give them a little more food each time.
- Offer two to three servings of starchy food per day, such as potatoes, yams, baby rice or bread and two servings of fruit and vegetables.
- To maintain a balanced diet, your baby should also have one serving of one of the following food types each day – soft cooked meat, fish, eggs, tofu or pulses such as beans or lentils.
- Start of with offering solid food once a day and then building up to two and then eventually three feeds.
- Once they...
Often before the age of two, children will have started walking and by the time they reach two years, will be able to kick and throw a ball. By the age of about four, they will have enough balance to be running confidently.
Children start to talk at various ages, picking up new words, and by 18 months they’ll be talking more, using up to 20 words and stringing two words together once they’re about two years old. Once they reach pre-school age they will be talking in sentences and you will be able to have basic conversations with them.
Keep the mop handy – your toddler will start to try to feed themselves from about 15 to 18 months, and will begin drinking from a cup. At this early stage they start with a spoon, and will...
Babies are more likely to have an allergy if there is a history of asthma, eczema or hayfever in the family. A food allergy typically causes an immediate reaction after eating the food – usually seconds or minutes after eating it. Typical symptoms are:
- Itchy skin (hives or rash)
- Itchy and/or swelling tongue and lips
- Blocked or runny nose
- Shortness of breath
More severe allergy symptoms are the same as above and/or:
- Tightening of the throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling faint
- Pale and clammy appearance
The most common food allergies are:
- Citrus fruits (e.g....
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