What foods are best for young children (older than six months)?
Following are some nutritious foods for young children (older than six months) to eat:
- Staple foods, including cereals (rice, wheat, maize, millet, quinoa), roots (cassava, yam, potatoes) and starchy fruits (plantain and breadfruit).
- High-protein foods, such as red meat, poultry, fish, liver and eggs (can be given as often as possible).
- Dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, curds and dried milk (which can be mixed with other foods, such as cooked porridge). These are good choices in the second six months of a breastfed child's life. These are better choices than raw milk, which is harder for the child to digest.
- Green leafy and orange-coloured vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, chard, carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes (which provide vitamins).
- Pulses, such as chickpeas, lentils, cowpeas, black-eyed peas, kidney beans and lima beans (to add variety and provide protein, energy and some iron).
- Oils, especially rapeseed oil, soy oil, red palm oil, butter or margarine.
- Seeds, including groundnut paste, other nut pastes and soaked or germinated seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, melon or sesame seeds (for energy and some vitamins).
Iron from plant foods is generally not absorbed very well by the body. However, plant foods such as pulses (white beans, chickpeas, lentils) have more iron. The iron will be better absorbed if eaten together with foods that are high in vitamin C, such as oranges and other citrus fruits and juices.