Can you help him to put together a healthy lunch? Look for these delicious food to create a nutritious meal for him!
Start your preschooler on a healthy eating activity with this word search. Take this chance to introduce and share about new food that your child might not have tried before, or talk about the nutrients each food offers to growing children.
This fun word search activity promotes strengthening of children’s visual-spatial skills, focus, memory and overall mental acuity. Through the food images and words for each food, children discover new vocabulary along with visual association. Young children who are learning to read and spell will enjoy growing their literacy skills too!
Parents can take a step further to discuss with children about the food images on the activity sheet. Explore food categorisation (fruit or vegetables), conversation starters about cooking methods (Ask questions on how each food is cooked in your family’s meals, can we create a new dish with fruits?), or their personal favourite food and fruit! This activity becomes a springboard to diverse communication topics, and encourages children’s curiosity to ask questions to find out more!
Don’t forget to share with us your child’s experience with us on our Facebook page!
Iron is needed to make haemoglobin found in red blood cells.
These red blood cells carry oxygen around our child’s body, to ensure that their organs, muscles, tissues and cells receive oxygen.
Iron is also essential for brain development and optimal function of their central nervous system.
How much iron do babies and toddlers need per day?
Health experts advise that full-term healthy babies are born with an iron reserve. During the first six month, babies obtain iron through breastmilk and/or iron-fortified infant formula milk. When they are ready to start solids, foods rich in iron can be included in their diet so they receive essential nutrients from fresh food too.
Babies who have low iron levels, or are diagnosed with anaemia or iron deficiency, may experience symptoms such as pale skin, frequent tiredness, dizziness and a slower development. It is important to seek medical advice or treatment from health experts. Doctors may prescribe multivitamins with iron for kids, or iron supplements for children to include in their diets.
List of Wholesome Foods Rich in Iron
Through diet, children can obtain iron from their daily meals. Eating a balanced diet is part of forming healthy eating habits in the family, to educate young children about conscious eating.
There are 2 types of iron – Heme and non-heme iron; from meat and vegetables respectively. Between both types of iron, heme sources are more easily absorbed by the body. Here is a list of iron-rich food that are great options for your babies and toddlers:
#1: Red meat
Beef, lamb, pork and duck are types of red meat that parents can prepare for children. However, due to religion or other reasons, certain red meat may be avoided. Hence, parents should look to other poultry or non-heme iron from vegetables instead.
Amount of iron your child gets: 100g beef = approx. 2.6mg iron; 100g lamb = approx. 1.9mg iron; 100g duck = approx. 2.7mg
Food ideas: Grill, stir fry, roast or bake – put together a one-pot beef stew, lamb pasta, or duck porridge. For young children, ensure that meat is fully cooked, avoiding semi-rare cooking states to reduce risk of food contamination.
Besides being touted as a brain food for its doses of DHA and Choline, eggs are high in iron too. For babies, serve them fully cooked as undercooked ones may pose a risk for food poisoning due to salmonella bacteria.
Amount of iron your child gets: 1 whole egg = approx. 1mg iron
Food ideas: One of the most versatile ingredients, eggs can be served in a variety of ways. Hard boiled eggs are great for babies and toddlers for that palate experience. Stuff omelettes, scrambled eggs and baked frittatas with added goodness from spinach and tomatoes (or other veggies!) for extra nutrients! Or simply crack an egg in your toddler’s bowl of Mee Sua – easy peasy!
Don’t belittle these itsy-bitsy beans! Kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas provide a rich source of iron for growing children. Vegans and vegetarian families may consume more of these beans for iron intake. What’s more, these beans add fibre to your child’s diet too, easing his bowel movements.
Amount of iron your child gets: 100g kidney beans = approx. 2.2mg iron; 100g lentils = approx. 3.3mg iron; 100g chickpeas = approx. 2.9mg iron
Food ideas: For babies, these beans may be blended and mashed to prevent choking. Try a mixed beans hummus as a deliciously healthy dip with toast or celery sticks; or perhaps a warm beans gravy to go with their iron-fortified cereal or rice. For toddlers, roasted chickpeas make tasty and healthy finger food too!
#4: Kale and Spinach
These leafy greens are often added into baby’s food for good reasons. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Kale and spinach are rich in iron, and boost high nutritional goodness that support healthy development. Clearly, Popeye knew what’s good for him!
Amount of iron your child gets: 100g kale = approx. 1.5mg iron; 100g spinach = approx. 2.7mg iron
Food ideas: To retain the nutrients in spinach and kale, cook them briefly before they wilt completely. These vegetables are brilliant as is – try sautéed spinach with garlic, baked kale chips, or simply add a handful of these delectable greens into your child’s bowl of grains or noodles.
#5: Iron-fortified cereals, pastas and whole grains
Instead of white rice, consider offering iron-fortified cereals and pastas. That way, your child receives his daily dose of iron intake from his source of carbs too!
Amount of iron your child gets: Refer to individual packaging
Food ideas: Infant cereals enriched with iron are convenient food options. Serve according to the recommended way, so simply add fruits rich in Vitamin C to aid in iron absorption!
Clams and oysters are ocean-fresh sources of iron-rich foods to add to your child’s diet. However, do be careful with the first introduction of seafood to your little ones, especially if there’s a seafood allergy in the family.
Amount of iron your child gets: 100g cooked clams = approx. 28mg; 100g cooked oyster (farmed) = approx. 7.8mg iron
Food ideas: Clams are commonly added into porridge or soup-based meals for their natural seafood sweetness! If your child enjoys fresh seafood, try a clam and oyster pasta dish or a Spanish cuisine like paella – ensure seafood is thoroughly cooked before serving your tot.
Besides regular diet, children may consume iron-fortified formula to meet their daily nutritional requirements and support optimal development.
To improve iron absorption, offer foods or drinks rich in vitamin C to enhance iron absorption. Freshly squeezed juices usually score with the kids! All in a bid to raise healthy and happy world-ready children!
Are you including iron rich food in your children’s meals? Do share them too!
Parenting is an exciting life-transforming chapter.
It can unearth character traits or skills you never knew existed, and turn you into a new person you never imagined possible. Has becoming a parent changed you for the better, or for the worse? Let’s hear it from these mums in Singapore who share their earnest transformations and experiences!
The most obvious change after becoming a parent would be physical ones for mothers. After nine months of skin stretching to accommodate a growing baby and belly, some things may not revert to what they were before.
Mum of two toddlers, Jingyi Gab says looking at herself in the mirror and accepting those scars and stretched tummy are some changes that took some getting used to since pregnancy. This mama acknowledges that they are her badge of honour and feels that these physical scars portray the truth about unconditional love.
For Lup Wai who home-schools both her kids, she gamely accepts that the “haggard look” comes with being a mum who has witnessed the “ups and downs of looking after kids “, as “having children makes life even more colourful, interesting and exciting!”
Patience and temper – lost or found?
With children, situations may take unexpected turns which catch parents unawares. You may find yourself breathing through gritted teeth and struggle to remain calm when dealing with the kids. When that happens, patience run thin and tempers are lost, or found?
Mums agree that after having kids, they undergo self-discovery and revelation…only to learn more about themselves. Patience, or the lack of, is an understated hidden gem!
The worse bit for Joanne, mum of 2, is “discovering I have less patience and worse temper than I thought I did. Now, I (try) to be more patient, choose kinder words and generally being more aware of my “triggers!”
Andrea Kang Gruszka seconds Joanne’s revelation: “I go from Jekyll to Hyde in a matter of seconds – it takes VERY little to antagonise me now!”
While it takes a conscious effort to hold their tongues and minds before firing away, mums also realise that their children are mirrors of their teachings. For Yvonne Mardiana whose girls are in primary school, she admits that she “became more aware of how mean and how loud I can be from my children’s reminders.”
Days before children came into the picture, it might have been easy to judge other parents when their kids throw tantrums in public. After becoming a mum, Lai Xiuli who has two young children understands that some situations are trickier than others. She compares them to “infantry training” (as the kids) train my energy level, my patience and train me to see things with an open-mind. Guess that changes me to be a better person? Children definitely add lots of colours and laughter into our lives.
”For new mum, Nerissa Lewis, despite the sleep deprivation, she feels that becoming a mother has made a better loving person with the new perspective and meaning in life.
“You become more aware of what’s going on in the world just because you want “it” to be a better place for your children,” she adds.
As Andrea rounds it up, “Everyday I’m pushed to consciously choose love – love is not an emotion, it is a choice. Patience, self-giving, tolerance, optimism are thankfully by-products of having chosen to love.”
Making decisions and managing time
Naturally, decisions made are usually in the best interest of your children. That includes deciding to eat healthily, go for more vegetables and be the right role models in front of your kids. Mum of 3, Clarissa Chen shares that she has since become “more aware on food choices”. Late night suppers and date nights with the husband is also a thing of the past as part of their marriage! Turning into a picky eater no more because “the kids are watching me at meal times”, says Jessica.
Candidly revealed by mum of a toddler, Serynn Guay, “I’ve (become) better at multi-tasking and generally more tolerant of work, because nothing, NOTHING (including coordinating a 1000 pax event involving Ministers) at work is more challenging than getting a toddler to eat vegetables.” Suddenly, no mountain is too high to climb at work! Much have been said about time management skills being sharpened too, regardless of the size of your brood, right?
As Evangeline Yang, mother of 2, shares about motherhood, she has become more patient, more loving and more creative.
To that, Yvonne agrees that becoming a parent “improves my creativity in cooking, arts and imagination”, skills which might not been used to describe her prior to starting a family.
Creativity skills are also sharpened and used in unexpected ways as Jessica Kong shares.
“I gained the ability to tell smooth white lies without flinching when asked about the whereabouts of their pacifier, tv remote, kinder surprise egg…,” she reveals.
“Looking at my children with love, taking care of them takes so much effort and knowing you would do anything for them opened up my eyes to how my parents took care of me,” confesses Yvonne. “Be appreciative of the time spent with your spouse, your children and your own parents.” It takes a village to raise a family, just as it has been for our parents themselves.
After all the days are long, and the years are short. First time mum, Melissa Goh agrees wholeheartedly that she enjoys the positive changes in herself.
“The feeling that we give selflessly really applies here,” she shares.
At the end of the day, parents continuously strive to become better individuals and better parents. All in a bid towards loving our children more with each day, as we nurture and raise world-ready children with each tantrum, spice and everything in between!
Do you think you have changed for the better or worse after becoming a dad or mum? Share with us your thoughts too!