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Health and fitness: Hi, I am a mother of a two-year-old. I am concerned about his nutrition. His Pediatrician said he is under weight for his age. Could you please give me some simple advice to follow and ensure he is provided with all the right food to grow healthily?  Thank you  Dechen Pem 

Diet for a baby’s healthy growth

Health and fitness: Hi,

I am a mother of a two-year-old. I am concerned about his nutrition. His Pediatrician said he is under weight for his age. Could you please give me some simple advice to follow and ensure he is provided with all the right food to grow healthily? 

Thank you 

Dechen Pem 

Dear Dechen,

I can completely empathise with you. I have a two-year-old too, so as a parent I share and understand your concern for your child’s health.

Children are a miniature of yourself, the only difference is while we as adults have attained full physical growth, a two-year-old is barely beginning to grow organs, bones, muscle, connective tissue, nervous system and brain, among many.

So they require the essential nutrients and building blocks to grow optimally, any shortage of it can lead to less than optimal growth resulting in a host of medical problems, low immunity, stunted growth, weak bones are some of the most common symptoms of malnourishment.

If they are a miniature version of us why would they require any different nutrition than a healthy adult would, the only difference being the amount and most importantly how ‘critical’ each missed meal or an important nutrient is going to be for them, which can result in a great deal of harm to their physical and cognitive development.

I am laying in order of importance the macro nutrients, so you can understand it and apply it to the best of your knowledge.

1. Healthy protein source: 

Protein is the only nutrient capable of re-synthesising muscle, muscle creates movement, and stronger and healthier muscle creates more efficient movement.

Whole eggs, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, milk and any dairy product are all excellent choices.

2. Healthy fat: 

For proper cellular development, healthy skin, nail, hormonal balance, brain development, healthy sources of omega 3 and omega 6 oil is necessary in their nutrition.

For omega 3, grass fed beef, fatty fish, quinoa, omega 3 eggs are good choices.

For omega 6, olive oil, nuts and seeds are very good.

3. Carbohydrates: 

Carbohydrates are the fuel source for our bodies from day to day’s internal and external activities.

Eating a carbohydrate source high in energy and fibre is the best so that your child receives sustained energy, and colon and digestive health is well take care of by consuming enough fibre sources. Very few children love eating vegetables, and forcing them creates negative association, so I recommend making it available to them if they reach out. Meanwhile sticking to eating fruits, oatmeal and breakfast whole grain cereal make for reliable source that your child will enjoy.

4. Putting it all together:

Try and make sure almost all of your baby’s meals include a source of protein, fat and carbohydrate. And for snacks give him/her nuts or fruits.

I wish you and your baby the best.

Tshering Dorji (three times Mr Bhutan winner), is a certified fitness trainer and specialist in performance nutrition

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