Our 9th episode of Parenting Talk Series is on Children’s Nutrition and how parents can help children start a good relationship with food.
As we all know, having a good diet is the goal for a healthy long life. And that diet starts before a child turns one years old. So how does a parent ensure that their child has a good relationship with food and to enjoy healthy nutritious food? We ask child nutritionist Sanchita Daswani of https://www.sanchitadaswani.com/ to help enlighten us on this important topic as we discussed first food to introduce to a child to how to deal with fussy eaters.
As always, Little Monkey is here to provide information to help make parenting easier. This is so parents can make informed decision – whether that decision is on where to take their kids to play on the weekend by using our child-friendly directory to our project – “Parenting Talk Series” – 30 minutes recorded interview with subject experts on all things parenting uploaded to our blog for the convenience of parents to watch whenever they like.
Sanchita’s full contact details are below if you want her advice or help with your little eater. Also, get 10% OFF using code LittleMonkey2021 if you book via WhatsApp to +852-9125-9533 for the many programs that Sanchita offers!
Here is a recap of what we spoke about and the visual aids.
- Sanchita Daswani, child nutritionist, is originally from the Caribbeans and have been in Hong Kong for the last 5 years. Mothers of twins, Sanchita did all the research for her children but realized she needed a guide. But not being able to find one around her, she decided to studied and become a child nutrition herself.
- When it comes to food for our children, a lot of times it’s the parents mindset and how we approach food that is push onto the child. Therefore, Sanchita wants to empower parents with the knowledge they need to help them create a healthy diet for their children. This in turn will help the child create a foundation for good relationship with food in their life.
- We started our discussion with babies and when it is the right time to wean. Please see visual below with a helpful chart. Parents should know when to wean when a child follows or meet these criteria instead of a certain age (how many months old) before introducing them to solids, puree. Listen as Sanchita explains these criteria further along with some tips like using a teether to help with hand coordination.
- And when a baby starts to taste solid, puree, for the first time, full nutrition is still coming from their breastmilk or formula. Starting solids is to get them to get used to eating and the skills associated with eating. As they continue to eat, they will gradually increase their intake of solid and reduce their milk intake around 1 years old.
- Next, we discuss how much to offer and when to offer solids, puree. We also discuss that the NHS has a set amount for formula but when it comes to breastmilk, there’s no limit as long as they continue to feed.
- We talk about the what are good nutritious food to start with and Sanchita said that iron is one of nutrition that babies need. She suggests we stick to simple fruit and veggies and have listed some examples. Afterward, we can gradually introduce meat whether in a broth or in the meat itself or egg yolk. Main point is getting good quality meat without hormones such as grass fed or pasture raised so that the children get the proper nutrition.
- Whatever food lifestyle we have at home, we should start offering our children at a young age this food. For example, Chinese families love soup so we should offer soup at a young age. Or we eat a lot of green leafy veggies so should try to offer that early on as well.
- Children might not take to the food the first time we offer it to them so keep offering it so they can get use to the flavours and texture is one way to ensure they like nutritious food.
- We then discuss top allergenic food, see chart below, and Sanchita goes over some clarification on this important information. The latest studies show that the earlier exposure helps the body build tolerance towards it so should start giving them at 6-12 months old. Always gradually test these food one at a time to test for allergy.
- I asked Sanchita to clarify what is tree nuts and she said it is any nuts that is not peanut and each type of tree nuts – cashew, pistachios, etc, must be each tested. Same goes for sesame seeds and sesame oil as should be tested separately.
- Cow’s milk should be introduced after 12 months old but dairy can be introduce before hand in the form of ghee or butter and then go yogurt at 7/8 months to cottage cheese, cheese, and then cow’s milk until 12 months old as that has the full protein for a baby’s stomach to digest. We also chat about buying cow’s milk to always check ingredients and look for reputable brands or consider buying almond milk or another alternative.
- We then moved onto toddlers and what is considered a balance meal for a toddler. Sanchita goes into details about the four groups of food that we should have at every meal for a toddler. Please see visual chart below along with some additional pictures of a balanced meals.
- Setting the right habits from 6-12 months will ensure that they eat a balance meal at toddlerhood so we can offer a variety of different foods. Once we hit toddler stage, the parents have to stand their ground and it helps to make a schedule of the meal plans so that they are getting a balanced nutritious meal every time.
- I asked Sanchita about my own daughter who had a good relationship with food but lately has been having a more difficult time during dinner or lunch taking a longer time to finish her food. Sanchita gave some good suggestion such as having her involve in the cooking of the food or setting a timer.
- Try all of these suggestions and to let the child take the responsibility to eat as they see you eat. You will be the one to decide what is being serve, when and where and it is up the child to decide to eat or not. We cannot force them as that does not work and so we need to trust that our child would know to eat it.
- Sanchita gave some good suggestion on dealing with fussy eaters, those children who only eat food of a certain colour, shape, texture, etc. She suggests we also “play with our food” to get the kids interested in the food. Listen to Sanchita’s explanation on why this would work.
- Sanchita then explain how she works with parents in helping them deal with not just fussy eaters or weaning but also those with eczema, etc.
Feed a child should be an easy task but as children are expose to many different types of food now a days, especially processed food, it is essential to teach them to choose healthy food. We hope this interview with Sanchita has been helpful in giving suggestions to parents on building this relationship for their child.
And as always, we really hope these 30 minutes Parenting Help video interview is useful to you parents watching. Please stay tune for our next interview and in the meantime, check our Scarlett’s post about a local’s point of view (written in Chinese and translated to English)!
Below are the visuals we used during the interview for your information.