Children need a healthy diet for body and school

2015-05-12 06:00
Feeding a child a healthy diet ensures good growth and development. 

PHOTO for illustration: 
Samantha lee

Feeding a child a healthy diet ensures good growth and development. PHOTO for illustration: Samantha lee

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Children are growing and learning every day and to make sure that they have the nutrients they need to grow normally, it is important that they follow a healthy diet.

A healthy diet will help a child to develop strong bones, grow healthily, concentrate at school and maintain a healthy weight.

A healthy diet can also protect against chronic diseases in the future such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, strokes and joint problems. The following article is 1 in a series of 2 about feeding practices for caregivers. Remember that these are basic guidelines, and that they should be adapted to fit in with your lives.

Liquids and solids

If you are wondering “When and how often should I feed a child?”, here are some tips to follow:

.Only start adding solids and liquids – other than breastmilk – at six months of age.

.If the child is being breastfed, give him breastmilk after meals.

.Children older than one should get five meals a day.

.Feed your children vegetables and fruit every day.

.Choose maize meal or oats rather than baby porridge or Marie Biscuit porridge.

. Home-cooked meals are better than take-aways .

. Replace fizzy drinks with water.

Tips for feeding

. For breakfast feed your child porridge.

. For lunch or supper when they are older, feed your child rice and chicken, vegetables steamed or boiled or fish steamed or baked.

. Snacks should be fruit or yogurt and not chips and sweets.

. Avoid juice and fizzy drinks – water and milk are better.

It is important to note that in a healthy diet, breastmilk is best, even for HIV-positive mothers. A healthy diet also equals a healthy child. You also don’t have to be the mother to help give a child a healthy diet. And visit your clinic regularly so that the child may be weighed and development checked.


This article was submitted to People’s Post by Sameera Patel, a fourth-year medical student working in Mitchell’s Plain. If you have questions on feeding, approach a nurse at your local clinic or contact Patel at or call 083 786 6827

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