This is the early stage of life. The period of infancy covers from birth to one year (0-1 year). At this stage food is very important because this is the stage at which growth rate is highest. Infants are more susceptible to infection and therefore they need food to develop effective antibodies.
Within the age of 4 – 6 months of life, breast milk is the best for the infants. However, milk and milk formulae are adequate sources of nourishment. Exclusive breast feeding is encouraged for babies for the first six months after which it will be gradually be replaced by cow milk. Breast milk and infant formulae lacks iron and vitamin D while artificial milk is deficient in vitamin C. when the baby reaches six months their mother’s milk need supplementing with more protein, iron, vitamin C and calories. At four to six months, an infant can be introduced to semi-solid food e.g. maize or millet porridge from cereals which supply the energy needs.
Weaning is the gradual replacement of breast milk or infant formulae by a good mixed diet. Baby may be weaned at six to nine months. Weaning should be gradual, planned so that good quantity proteins, minerals and vitamins can augment those of breast milk.
FOOD NUTRIENTS INFANT NEED FOR HEALTHY GROWTH
source of carbohydrate to breastfeed and most bottle feed infant is lactose. The energy content of the infant must be adequate because if the energy is not enough for the body requirement, part of the protein will be used in producing energy and growth will therefore be retarded.
FOOD NUTRIENTS FOR THE TODDLER
At this stage of growth, many deficiencies caused by poor diet may occur such as poor dental health, aneamia, constipation, poor skeletal development, loss of weight obesity, bad skin and poor eye sight.
NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF SCHOOL CHILDREN 7-12 YEARS
GUIDLINE FOR MEETING THE NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN
NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF ADOLSCENT
The adolescent age is the period the individual is involved in a lot of activities. This is the period of 11-20 years. Total nutrient needs are at this time greater than during any other time of life. Both energy and protein need increase reaching the peak at around early adulthood. This is due to rapid growth and increased activity that take place during this period.
Their food should be rich in energy giving nutrient as well as the vitamins that aids in liberation of energy especially those required for good teeth and bone formation. Energy requirement for boys begin to exceed those of girls as they develop more muscle and greater size and engage in energy demanding activities. Protein requirement for both group reach the adult recommendation of 0.8 g per kg of body weight. For girls iron, vitamin B12 and ascorbic acid should be increased at this stage because of the onset of menstruation. Calcium is another critical nutrient for adolescent. It helps in growth of the skeleton and the teeth. Emotional stress and strain may interfere with the retention of body calcium. Examples of food to be consumed at this stage are cereals and tubers, legumes, meat, fish vegetable etc.