Ask the Expert Series: Why is Healthy Eating Important for Children?

Hello everyone! Excited to “see” you! I am Aileen Ling, Naluri Dietitian. Together with the team at TAP, we would love to help as many of you to improve your little one's nutrition. Healthy eating is essential for your child's health life, growth and development. General eating habits and patterns are formed in the first few years of life. The food included in your child's diet plan should be balanced and nutritious. You can find most of the information related to your child's nutrition, meals, meal planning, health, and feeding tips here. ------------------------------ Here are some questions asked in our community, and we got the answers for you ✅ 👩‍💼What is a healthy portion for eating sweets or candy for kids? Or is there no such thing? 👩‍🔬Don’t forget that the added sugar mentioned does not only include sugar in candy and soft drinks but also in cakes, cookies, fruit juice, and many more. Based on this list, the appropriate portion would be 2 pieces of milk candy or 2 cubes of dark chocolate for a 2-3-year-old child. Also, reading nutrition labels allows us to plan the most appropriate portions for our kids to prevent increased risk of obesity and tooth decay in the future! 👩‍💼 My baby is very active. He plays throughout the day. But eat less. Do I need to take him to a doctor? or How can I encourage him for eating? 👩‍🔬As your baby grows their interest in the world around them, it is common for them to have a shorter attention span for food, hence eating less. Here are some tips for you to try out: 1. Set a meal schedule: Having mealtime at a regular time every day serves as a reminder for your baby that he needs to eat. 2. Adjust his meal portion: If your baby can’t finish his meal, try to reduce the portion. If he is still hungry, you can always offer him a second serving. 3. Offer snacks: If your baby is eating small portions during main meals, try giving him healthy snacks, such as nuts, yoghurt and fruit to give him those extra calories. 4. Replace some play time with meal preparations: Getting him involved in the kitchen could increase his interest in eating. If you still find that his growth chart is below the normal range, I would recommend you seek further support from a GP or a dietitian. 👩‍💼sometimes I feel my toddler is not eating enough. How can I make sure he is getting enough nutrition? 👩‍🔬It is common for parents to feel that their toddlers are not eating enough. You might sometimes notice that he isn’t able to eat much, but this is normal - he knows how much he needs! However, if he is eating less than normal because of distractions during mealtimes, try turning off the TV, banning gadgets at the table, or eating together. If he is resisting food continuously, try presenting his meals in a new way. Try out new ingredients, textures, shapes, and presentations to entice him into trying it! If his growth chart falls within the normal range, don't worry! It means that his intake is able to catch up with his requirements. For more information: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/122/early-nutrition-for-babies/12-24months/food-portion-guide-for-toddlers-baby

Ask the Expert Series: Why is Healthy Eating Important for Children?
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Expert's answer - Yes, there is definitely a healthy portion of eating sweets for children! It is recommended not to give any sugar to toddlers under 2 years old, whereas, for kids above 2, it is recommended to limit added sugar to not more than 10% of their total calorie intake. Depending on their age, this is roughly 25-50g of sugar (5-10 teaspoons). Based on the Health Promotion Board database (February 2023), here are some examples of the sugar content in common sweet treats: - 1 piece of milk candy ~ 10g of sugar, - 1 cube of dark chocolate (20g) ~ 10g of sugar - 1 can of orange-flavoured soft drink ~ 42g of sugar - 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream ~ 10g of sugar Don’t forget that the added sugar mentioned does not only include sugar in candy and soft drinks but also in cakes, cookies, fruit juice, and many more. Based on this list, the appropriate portion would be 2 pieces of milk candy or 2 cubes of dark chocolate for a 2-3-year-old child. Also, reading nutrition labels allows us to plan the most appropriate portions for our kids to prevent increased risk of obesity and toot

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Expert answer -As your baby grows their interest in the world around them, it is common for them to have a shorter attention span for food, hence eating less. Here are some tips for you to try out: 1. Set a meal schedule: Having mealtime at a regular time every day serves as a reminder for your baby that he needs to eat. 2. Adjust his meal portion: If your baby can’t finish his meal, try to reduce the portion. If he is still hungry, you can always offer him a second serving. 3. Offer snacks: If your baby is eating small portions during main meals, try giving him healthy snacks, such as nuts, yoghurt and fruit to give him those extra calories. 4. Replace some play time with meal preparations: Getting him involved in the kitchen could increase his interest in eating. If you still find that his growth chart is below the normal range, I would recommend you seek further support from a GP or a dietitian.

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My baby is very active. He plays throughout the day. But eat less. Do I need to take him to a doctor? or How can I encourage him for eating?

2mo ago

As your baby grows their interest in the world around them, it is common for them to have a shorter attention span for food, hence eating less. Here are some tips for you to try out: 1. Set a meal schedule: Having mealtime at a regular time every day serves as a reminder for your baby that he needs to eat. 2. Adjust his meal portion: If your baby can’t finish his meal, try to reduce the portion. If he is still hungry, you can always offer him a second serving. 3. Offer snacks: If your baby is eating small portions during main meals, try giving him healthy snacks, such as nuts, yoghurt and fruit to give him those extra calories. 4. Replace some play time with meal preparations: Getting him involved in the kitchen could increase his interest in eating. If you still find that his growth chart is below the normal range, I would recommend you seek further support from a GP or a dietitian.

My 2yr old refuse to eat any rice and vegetable. Her fav food is yogurt, bread, fruits and maybe some chicken. What should I do?

2mo ago

Don’t worry; it’s common for children to be fussy about food. However, adding variety to their meals would help them receive different nutrients. Here are a few ways: 1. Add colours and shapes - Cutting ingredients into fun shapes and using a variety of colours can entice your child to try them. Over time, you can replace white rice with brown rice to add more colour to her dish whilst also increasing her wholegrain intake! 2. Eat what she eats - Your child looks up to you as their role model and will imitate your actions. Wherever possible, food on her plate should be on everyone’s plates too. 3. Patience is key - It takes time for children to try new things and to get accustomed to them. Encourage small bites of something new, but don’t push her to finish it, especially if it's her first time. Baby steps!

Our 5 years old is a fussy eater. sometimes she makes a mess. In this case, how can we make sure she gets enough?

2mo ago

In terms of adequacy, if her meal portion resembles the My Healthy Plate concept (1/4 plate of wholegrains, 1/4 plate of meat and others, 1/2 plate of fruit and vegetables), she will be able to meet her nutritional requirements. In order to achieve this, some creativity in meal preparation and patience are needed. As long as your child is growing up healthily, you don't need to worry too much! But remember, if she’s making a mess when she eats, it may be because she’s stressed. Try to keep the environment calm and supportive - you might just see a difference!

sometimes kids skip main meals due to some reasons. I just wants to know whether that affect for kids health?

2mo ago

Children’s appetites can vary from time to time. It is common for children to refuse to eat or eat less than usual and eat more in their next meal. If it happens every so often, that is totally fine! However, if they constantly skip meals and you realise that they are eating small amounts in all meals, we need to question whether they will become undernourished. Some studies have found that constantly skipping meals can increase the risk of obesity in the future. Hence, it’s important to monitor the frequency of meal-skipping and their growth charts.

sometime I feel my toddler is not eating enough. How can I make sure he is getting enough nutrition?

2mo ago

It is common for parents to feel that their toddlers are not eating enough. You might sometimes notice that he isn’t able to eat much, but this is normal - he knows how much he needs! However, if he is eating less than normal because of distractions during mealtimes, try turning off the TV, banning gadgets at the table, or eating together. If he is resisting food continuously, try presenting his meals in a new way. Try out new ingredients, textures, shapes, and presentations to entice him into trying it! If his growth chart falls within the normal range, don't worry! It means that his intake is able to catch up with his requirements. For more information: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/122/early-nutrition-for-babies/12-24months/food-portion-guide-for-toddlers-baby

My baby is 2 years old. Do kids really need multivitamins? which vitamins are essential for kids?

2mo ago

Children who are consuming a well-balanced diet will be able to meet their vitamin requirements without any supplementation. If they don’t eat enough during their main meals, you can provide nutritious snacks in between meals to help them meet their requirements.

What is a healthy portion for eating sweets or candy for kids? Or is there no such thing?

2mo ago

**Continue from the above** Don’t forget that the added sugar mentioned does not only include sugar in candy and soft drinks but also in cakes, cookies, fruit juice, and many more. Based on this list, the appropriate portion would be 2 pieces of milk candy or 2 cubes of dark chocolate for a 2-3-year-old child. Also, reading nutrition labels allows us to plan the most appropriate portions for our kids to prevent increased risk of obesity and tooth decay in the future!

If Im to choose 1 or 2 vegetables to convince my child to eat, which ones should it be?

2mo ago

All vegetables are good! If you’re having trouble feeding vegetables for your child, you could offer a variety of shapes, colours and textures to increase their willingness to try. A good mix to have are spinach, carrots, corn, and tomatoes, as they are milder in taste and are different colours! Some say children tend to be more willing to try milder-tasting foods, but it really depends on their preferences. Generally, the rule of thumb is to offer them a variety of vegetables to help them, and yourself identify the ones they are most interested in.