Our nutritional needs change with different stages of health. In order to be fit and healthy, it is important that you look at the extra requirements placed on your body for these changes.
To meet your body’s normal nutritional needs, you should use:
- Different types of nutrition
- high-calorie calories, with carbohydrates as the preferred source
- Fatty acids from foods such as fatty fish, nuts, avocados
- Sufficient protein for cell storage and repair
- Fat-soluble vitamins
- Essential minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc
- Foods that contain plant phytochemicals, which can prevent heart disease, diabetes, other cancers, arthritis and osteoporosis.
- A variety of foods that focus on fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, dairy foods and lean meats can meet these basic needs.
Babies – born at six months of age
Babies often double their height and triple their weight between birth and one year of age. Breast milk usually provides the baby with the necessary amount of nutrients, fluids and energy up to six months of age. It is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed until they are six months old.
Breast milk is preferred in the infant formula where possible, as it contains many protective and immune substances that benefit the baby’s development. Fruit juice is not recommended for children under six months of age.
Breast milk or well-formulated breast milk provides enough water for a healthy baby to replace water loss. However, all children need extra water once solid food has been introduced.
Baby food – 6 to 12 months old
Solid should be introduced at about six months of age to meet your baby’s growing needs for healthy and growing food. However, breastfeeding should continue until twelve months of age or older, or as long as the mother and baby want to.
Different communities have their own traditions of what foods are appropriate to start feeding a child with. Cultivated foods and methods of preparation should be encouraged if this is nutritious enough.
As the baby is gradually weaned from the breast or bottle and the introduction of new solids, there may be a decrease in metal body stores. Maintaining good nutrition stores:
Offer your child foods rich in iron and zinc, such as iron-rich foods, fresh meat and poultry, plain tofu and legumes / soybeans / dill. Iron-plated rice grains are often recommended as the first food to be introduced, as there is an added benefit of a lower risk of over-reaction.
Food can be imported in any order, as long as the texture is right for your child’s developmental stage. Foods from a variety of vegetables (content of vitamins and minerals) to meat, poultry, fish and whole eggs.
Do not add salt, sugar or honey to your baby’s diet. No need.
Avoid cow’s milk as a beverage for the first 12 months. A small amount can be used for grains and custard. All used milk should be skimmed.
The whole fruit is preferred by fruit juice. Avoid juices and sugary sugary drinks.
Put your baby in bed outside the bottle, or take a bottle when they have finished feeding to reduce their exposure to their teeth for a long time in water containing sugar.
Avoid whole grains, seeds or similar hard foods to reduce the risk of congestion.
Introduce each food. Give fresh food once every three to four days to avoid confusion and to avoid food allergies and sensitivity.
Feed the children with any disease and feed them after the illness. Give enough drinks if your child has diarrhea.
The Cancer Council recommends that children under 12 months of age not be exposed to the sun during daily sun exposure (when the UV Index is 3 or higher). If you are worried about your baby’s vitamin D levels, see your doctor.
Food for young children
When the baby is eating solid food, give a variety of foods to ensure adequate nutrition. Young children often choose foods, but they should be encouraged to eat a variety of foods. Retrying new foods may be necessary for the baby to absorb the nutrients. It may take about eight to fifteen times.
During childhood, children often differ in their diet (spontaneously) to match their growth patterns. Children’s nutritional needs vary widely, depending on their age and level of activity. As energy needs, a child’s need for protein, vitamins and minerals grows with age.
Ideally, children should gather in grocery stores to prepare for the rapid growth that comes with adolescence. Proper weight gain and improvement will indicate that the right diet.
Food-related problems in young children include obesity, obesity, tooth decay and food allergies.
If a child is gaining the wrong weight for growth, limit strong, nutritious, and unhealthy foods. Increase your child’s physical activity. You can also reduce the amount of television viewing.
Tooth decay can be prevented by regular brushing and visits to the dentist. Avoid sugary foods and beverages, especially if they are sticky or acidic.
Make sure your child has plenty of water, especially water. Fruit drinks should be restricted and avoid cold drinks.
Reduced fat milk is not recommended for children under two years of age, due to increased energy needs and a higher growth rate during this period.
Beware of foods that can cause allergies, including peanuts, mussels, and cow’s milk. Be especially careful if there is a family history of food allergies.
Food for children entering their teens
Growing up as children enter adolescence requires a lot of calories and nutrients. For girls, this happens about 10 to 11 years old. For boys, it happens later, about 12 to 13 years.
The extra energy needed for growth and function needs to be derived from a diet that also provides nutrients, instead of just empty calories.
Removed and fast foods need to be balanced with nutritious foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables, fish and lean meats.
Milk, yoghurt and cheese (a lot of saturated fat) should be added to increase calcium intake – this is very important for bone growth. Cheese should be a variation of low salt.
Adolescent girls should be especially encouraged to eat milk and dairy products.
Food for young adults
Leaving home, starting a job or studying, and the changing lifestyle of the teens in their early teens and early 20s can make a difference in a diet that is not always healthy.
Make a deliberate effort to keep yourself active.
Limit alcohol consumption.
Reduce the amount of fat and salt in your daily diet.
Be careful not to include foods rich in iron and calcium.
Establish healthy eating habits that will keep you healthy later in life.
Food for pregnant women
A pregnant woman should focus on increasing her food intake, rather than eating calories, especially in the first and second trimesters. In Australia, pregnant women are expected to gain about 10 to 13 kg during pregnancy. However, this depends on the pre-pregnancy weight of the mother.
There is no ‘crash dieting’, as this can have a detrimental effect on the baby.
No ‘two meals’, as this will lead to unnecessary weight gain. A healthy pregnancy requires only 1,400 to 1,900 calories a day for the second and third days, the equivalent of a glass of milk or a sandwich.
Focus on food quality rather than quantity.
Add desires, but don’t let them replace nutritious foods.
Nutrients where there are additional needs during pregnancy include folate, iron, vitamin B12 and iodine.
Iron is needed for the transport of oxygen in the body. Iron supplements may be advised by your doctor during pregnancy, but do not take them unless your doctor recommends them. Increasing the intake of vitamin C can help increase iron absorption in the diet.
Folate is important three months before and during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) in the baby. All women of childbearing age should eat nutritious foods (such as raw vegetables, leaves and fruit). If you are planning a pregnancy, it is important to get 400 fg folate / day and if you are pregnant, this increases to 600 µg / day. This can be found in a folate supplement and a diet high in folate foods (remember to talk to your doctor first). It is now compulsory for all bread flour to be fortified with folic acid (a type of folate added to food). This will help women to access their recommended diet.
Iodine is essential for the growth and development of the baby. Iodine supplements are often advised during pregnancy to meet increased needs, as food sources (such as seafood, iodised salt and bread) are unlikely to provide enough iodine. Talk to your doctor about this.
The recommended calcium intake does not increase especially during pregnancy. However, it is very important that pregnant women meet the calcium requirements during pregnancy.
No one knows the safe limit on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Recommendations for not drinking at all.
Pregnant women are advised to avoid foods associated with the increased risk of listeria virus (such as soft cheese and cold seafood) and to be aware of foods that may contain mercury (such as certain fish such as flake). Listeria can seriously affect your growing baby.
Exercise has many benefits. If you are active and fit, and you are getting a normal pregnancy, you can stay physically active during pregnancy. Alternatively, consult your doctor for advice.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Don’t smoke – both direct and indirect smoking is associated with delayed growth, increased risk of spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, placental problems and low birth weight.
Food for nursing mothers
Breastfeeding mothers need a certain amount of extra energy to meet the needs of breastfeeding. This extra energy should come in the form of a nutritious diet to help meet the additional nutritional needs that occur and while breastfeeding. Vegan mothers who are breastfeeding (and during pregnancy) should take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Eat enough food – breastfeeding is hot with extra calories.
Eat foods that are high in nutrients – especially those foods rich in folate, iodine, zinc and calcium.
Eat and drink regularly – breastfeeding can increase the risk of dehydration and cause constipation. Water requirements are estimated at 750 – 1000 ml per day in addition to basic needs.
Women should continue to avoid drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
Food for menstruating women
Osteoporosis is common in postmenopausal women due to hormonal-related changes.
Eat foods rich in calcium – such as milk or, if necessary, take calcium supplements as prescribed by your doctor.
Weightlifting exercises – such as walking or weight training can strengthen bones and help maintain a healthy body weight.
High-fiber, low-fat and low-salt foods – foods high in phytoestrogens have been found to reduce many of the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. Good food sources include soy products (tofu, soymilk), chickpeas, flax seeds, dal, cracked wheat and barley.
Varieties of wholegrain, high-nutrient foods – wholegrains, legumes and soy-based foods (such as tofu, soy and whole grains), fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
Food for older people
Most people eat less as they get older – this can make it harder to make sure your diet has enough variety to include all the foods you need.
Be as active as possible to stimulate your appetite and maintain muscle mass.
Stay healthy with regular nutrition and exercise.
Eat foods rich in nutrients instead of saturated energy, including eggs, lean meats, fish, liver, low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables, wholegrain bread and sorghum.
If possible, try to spend some time outside each day to boost your vitamin D synthesis of healthy bones.
Limit high-energy foods and low-nutrient foods such as cakes, sweet biscuits and cold drinks.
Choose naturally high fiber foods to promote intestinal health.
Limit table salt consumption, especially during cooking.
Choose a variety of foods and drink plenty of fluids.
Share mealtimes with family and friends.