This article is part of a series produced for NIDO 3+.
To view other articles, click here.
Feeding your children can either be one of the most fun or most stressful tasks. Practically, all moms have said these words at the dining table: “Open your mouth for the airplane!” “Chugga, chugga, choo-choo, here comes the train!”
Some of you are blessed with “ang-sarap-pakainin-ng-anak-mo” kids. Others, however, have to learn to handle little boys and girls who are “maselan sa pagkain” and who would often choose tasty but not too healthy food like bacon, hotdogs, and candies.
Every mom knows that kids need nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from nutritious food like fruits, vegetables, grains, good protein, and dairy. But did you know the right amount of nutrients they need actually vary depending on their age?
According to the Pinggang Pinoy food guide by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI, DOST), Filipino children ages 3 to 5 need to consume a balanced mix of Go (energy-giving), Grow (body building), and Glow (body regulating) foods to fulfill their daily 1,300-kcalorie requirement. They must also drink at least five glasses of water throughout the day, and at least one glass of milk.
To help you visualize, here’s a chart of the different kinds of food that you can give your kid. Make sure you create the perfect combination by combining any one of the grains, protein, and fruit options with leafy greens and orange vegetables:
The way nutrition helps
Now that you have an idea of how much your child would need to eat every day, the next step would be to choose the kinds of food to prepare for your child. This may mean introducing a whole new meal plan to them. According to the study “Nutrient Intakes and Food Sources of Filipino Infants, Toddlers and Young Children are Inadequate: Findings from the National Nutrition Survey 2013,” Filipino children, including those ages 3 to 5, consume high amounts of carbohydrates, sugar, and sodium; and have “inadequate intakes” of important vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat.
According to experts, the diet most consumed by children at this age are made up of “large amounts of refined rice, little amount of vegetables, fruits, and milk”. They also found that their diet also includes high amounts of sweet baked goods, crackers, and sweetened beverages.
To make up for these deficiencies, give your kids protein-rich food like bangus, galunggong, chicken, beef, and pork (with the fat trimmed off!). Eggs and soy products like tofu are other options as well. Unsalted nuts are good sources of protein, too so you may give your child these as a snack—barring any allergies, of course!
As for fruits and vegetables — like mangoes, banana, malunggay, and carrots — do serve them fresh as much as possible. If you’re buying them other than fresh, always check the label to avoid those with too much sugar or salt. And remember, serve in moderation.
If your kids love rice, you might want to start providing them healthier carb options like whole bread, whole grains, oatmeal, and cereals. You may give them cooked noodles like pansit, too. You can introduce their palate to these unfamiliar flavors by combining it with familiar flavors. For example, serve a bowl of oatmeal with bits of sliced fruit for breakfast, whole bread with a layer of peanut butter for merienda and baon, and brown rice with veggies and their choice of protein for lunch and dinner.
Lastly, let your kids continue drinking milk for their daily dairy requirement. You may also give them some yummy cheese and yogurt as snacks.
Help your child grow healthy and strong with a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Like how food requirement differs for each stage of your child, the same applies to milk. It’s important to choose not just any type of milk, but an age-appropriate milk that is tailored to your child’s requirement and can fulfill his recommended daily nutritional needs. It’s rich with calcium to help build strong bones, but also contains vitamins and minerals suitable for the age group it’s made for.
NIDO 3+ contains nutrients for the brain, digestion, and growth of kids ages 3 to 5. And at a stage where your kids play and explore more, it’s important that they have strong immunity and remain protected. NIDO 3+ isthe only growing-up milk that contains Lactobacillus Protectus with L. Rhamnosus, which is scientifically proven to help support your child's respiratory defenses and protect them against common coughs and colds, partnered with three balanced meals.
Nourish your toddler and preschoolers with NIDO 3+ to help give them that healthy boost to confidently learn, grow, and play.