Common Nutritional Issues Among Children Today

9:29 PM

Eyes are again on the common nutritional issues in Filipino families with the start of the Nutrition Month this July. The faster pace of living associated with modern life has compounded the issues even more. Now, Filipino families not only have to contend with the usual obstacles to healthy eating such as the children's general aversion to eating vegetables. They will also have to face issues like the lack of time to prepare home-cooked food.


Obstacles Faced in Nutrition Among Children

1. General Dislike of Vegetables and Other Health Food

This obstacle has been confronting families of all races and cultures since time immemorial. The usual thinking is that healthy food do not taste good or at least are not in the taste level which most children find desirable. It is common to see children not touching veggies on their plate.

2. Milk Taste Fatigue

Milk has always been seen as a healthy food. In fact, it is considered as a complete food specifically during infancy. However, children tend to tire of its taste as they grow older and having them drink their daily milk can almost be like a tug-of-war.

3. Preference for Fast-food

Whether food served in popular fast-food outlets or food prepared fast at home, nutritional value tend to be compromised in serving the so-called convenience food. Frozen food, canned food, preserved food, ready-to-heat food or any other food that has not been prepared in the old-fashioned way of cooking open up more chances of insufficient nutrition. The preference of children for deep-fried food and sweets is dangerous for their health if allowed continuously.

Possible Solutions to Nutrition Obstacles

1. Be Creative with Your Veggies

Many mothers have mastered the art of masking vegetables in their food preparation. This means being able to incorporate vegetables in other food items without being obvious to the children. It is hoped that these children will eventually acquire the taste for it even without the need to hide them. Creative presentation of veggie dishes will certainly get the attention of children which could encourage them to try.

2. Try Different Milk Variants and Flavors

Modern mothers are really more fortunate as they have more options given to them which are readily available in the supermarket. Flavors like chocolate, mocha, and fruit such as melon have available milk variants today. There are also the fresh milk versions that come in cartons instead of bottles and cans.

3. Establish Limits

Totally depriving children of fast-food fare is not highly recommended. In today's world, enjoying fast-food is part of the joys of being a child. However, it is wise that trips to fast-food outlets form the exception rather than the usual practice. They can be reserved for special occasions or weekend eat-outs.  Food eaten at home and brought to school for the rest of the week are best prepared at home. Opting for ready-to-cook food sometimes cannot be avoided due to time constraints. Parents just need to make sure that it does not become a too frequent choice.

My Say

The most convenient way of preparing food will not always be the best way especially for young children's consumption. In our own search to find ways to provide our children the healthiest food option we can provide while overcoming obstacles, we have resorted to grinding assorted vegetables and making them into patties mixed with ground chicken or pork. We have also discovered that they like tawilis fried in a prepared batter. In our quest for healthy food preparation, we likewise discovered that children are more willing to try when they see their parents doing it themselves.

We also have a new favorite milk drink at home, the Nido melon milk. I say we because all of us in our family are drinking it now. I personally like it ice-cold though. We don't argue much about eating out since my young children are accustomed to our budget-conscious way of life. Thus, my husband and I really try our best to give them a treat during the rare times we go out.

That said, ensuring that children are able to get the nutrition which their young bodies require to develop well will always be a challenge. This is why I think humans are created as they are from child to adult so that they will know what to do as parents. They will only need to think of their own childhood to understand.

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