With so much adapted and age-specific product it seems as if the little ones in the house were not fed enough with a conventional diet. Are all these products necessary?
As we walk through the children’s food aisles of supermarkets, we find many products for the little ones loaded with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are apparently essential for their growth. With so much adapted and age-specific product it seems as if the little ones in the house were not fed enough with a conventional diet based on “normal” foods, and it was necessary to supplement their diet with all kinds of products.
The new food for the youngest members of the household is olive oil specifically for children. Does it differ in anything from the olive oils already on the market?
The producers affirm that it is specially formulated for children up to four years of age, due to its high content of oleic acid, vitamin E, antioxidants and its degree of acidity (between 0.01-0.02) that help the growth of children. bones, the brain and the nervous system.
Pediatricians and nutritionists affirm that extra virgin olive oil provides the same properties , and that there is no evidence that the degree of acidity influences the improvement of health, it simply gives it the characteristic of a milder flavor.
So it is not necessary to opt for this type of oil, if what you are looking for is to improve the health of children. The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are more than contrasted, the only thing left is for the child to accept its flavor, sometimes too “strong”, but it is enough to choose mild varieties such as Arbequina olive.
In recent years, several advertising campaigns have been launched recommending growth milks for children from one to three years of age, promoting the idea of being ideal milks and necessary for optimal growth, in addition to favoring a greater intellectual development of the little ones. From one year on , the child’s body is ready to assimilate a varied diet that includes cow’s milk (unless it has problems of intolerances or allergies).
There are several reasons that suggest that growth milks are not necessary:
- The caloric intake of many of them is very high.
- The nutrients with which these milks can be enriched are not nutrients that children in the European Union present in a deficit way, therefore they are not necessary at all .
- The nutrients that may appear to be deficient in some children in the EU can be obtained through a balanced diet without the need for supplementation.
Therefore, as with olive oil for children, it does not make sense to pay two or three times more for a product that, although it is not unhealthy, it is not necessary. In addition, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a report evaluating the effects of fortified or growth infant milks on children, concluding the same as many of the nutrition professionals, considering that such milks are not necessary in the healthy population.
The cereal foods are almost essential when starting complementary feeding. They are comfortable, they carry everything that the baby needs and is what almost everyone offers. So where is the problem? Neither more nor less, in the large amount of sugar that many of them provide. If you read the ingredients and find the word: sugar, honey or the like, it should be completely ruled out. In the case of porridge without added sugar, we must take into account another factor, since it may be dextrinated porridge.
These porridges have been subjected to the dextrination process, by which the starch is “broken” to facilitate its digestion. By breaking the carbohydrate into molecules of different sugars, the porridge is transformed into a much sweeter food , no sugar is added, but it naturally contains it in a much higher percentage. In addition, the baby is getting used to the taste much sweeter than these foods actually have. We can also find porridge without dextrination , and even with whole grain cereal, which would be the most appropriate optionif we decide to choose from commercial ready-to-eat baby food. Its taste is not sweet, it is a good quality cereal and it can be a suitable children’s product for children, yes, much more expensive than buying the cereal and preparing it at home. And it is that porridge can also be prepared with oats, rice, corn, millet … and mix it with milk once cooked. You can also buy roasted cereals, without additives and mix them with milk, toasted corn or wheat, “puffed” rice … easy to find in bulk stores.
In the same way as the rest of baby food we are facing a totally expendable product and not recommended, since its sugar content is very high . Until you can eat plain, unsweetened yogurt from nine to ten months in small amounts, the option should always be milk. Yogurts for babies are not made with 100% follow-on milk and they also have other types of additives, and again we are getting them used to the sweet taste, so their consumption does not provide any benefit .
The fruit jar appears as the magic solution so that children who do not eat fruit want to eat it, making families believe that it is a good solution. But is not. Again, the great content of added sugar they provide is exaggerated and we do not teach our little ones to eat. Offer him the natural fruit, whole or crushed, sooner or later if he sees you eating it, he will eat it.
If from the point of view of healthy eating, cookies must be foods of totally sporadic consumption , offering a cookie to a baby under six months is nonsense. As recommended by the World Health Organization ( WHO ) and other official organizations, the baby should be fed with breast milk or formula for up to six months. So what’s the point in offering superfluous foods loaded with saturated fats and sugars, just because they start to chew? None.
Differentiating between non-necessary but not harmful foods , such as olive oil for children, follow-on milk or unrefined, non-dextrinated and sugar-free porridges, is one thing, because you pay more for the product due to the packaging or the convenience of immediate consumption. And another is to make believe that unhealthy foods such as cookies, fruit jars or yogurts for babies are necessary for optimal growth, when clearly the opposite is true, since its relationship with a major health problem is more than demonstrated in our society. We refer to childhood obesity .
What you should know…
- Olive oil “for children”, growth milks … are products that make us pay two or three times more and, although they are not unhealthy, they are not necessary.
- The yogurts “Baby” is a fully dispensable product and not recommended, because its sugar content is very high. Until you can have yogurt (natural and unsweetened) we have milk.
- We cannot make you believe that foods such as cookies, fruit jars or baby yogurts are necessary for optimal growth, when their relationship is more than proven with childhood obesity.