Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Child Nutrition

Nutrition is critical in children's early years of development. In these years, children are learning a growing a great deal, and they require adequate nutrition in order to do so. It can be a distressing experience when your child is not receiving proper nutrition due to delay in feeding skills or persistent food refusal. Strategies for improving your child's nutrition include:

· Try to expose your child to a variety of food types, textures, and flavors to facilitate comfort level with a variety of healthy foods.

· Aim to offer your child the most nutrient rich, natural foods. Consider buying organic foods, which contain less harmful chemicals and pesticides.

· Read product labels before buying foods. Don't just read through the calorie and fat content. Rather, study the list of ingredients to be sure that you are offering healthy choices for your child. Try avoiding foods that contain artificial colors or flavors. 
· Offer foods that will provide rich sensory experiences. These include foods with stronger and/or distinct tastes. It is preferable to use adult foods (e.g., graham crackers, bananas, avocados) rather than baby/toddler food products.
· Try to offer a well-balanced meal that includes the following three components: a whole grain, a protein, and a fruit/vegetable.
· If your child is not getting adequate nutrition from foods in his diet, consider adding a nutritional supplement, such as Pediasure, or a multivitamin. 
· Be sure to make nutrition the number one goal for your child. In a feeding therapy program, nutrition should be prioritized over other goals such as use of utensils or advancement to solids.  
· If your child is not getting adequate nutrition and has a dangerously low weight for height, short or long term implementation of a feeding tube may be indicated. Most children who have a tube in place, unless medically contraindicated, are able to continue with an oral feeding therapy program.

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