• The release of energy from foods
• The use of energy by muscles and other organs
• Protection of cells and tissues from the oxidative effects of free radicals (see ‘Antioxidants’)
You’ll find a healthy balanced diet contains everything your little one needs. One way to do this is to give them a daily diet made up of all the colours of the rainbow – yellow for starchy foods, brown for meats and/or legumes (beans and lentils) and reds, greens, yellows, purples and oranges for vegetables and fruit.
If your baby is exclusively or even partially breast-fed, Health Canada recommends that they should have a daily Vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms. Please ask your health professional or pharmacist for advice.
Vitamin A helps build strong bones and teeth, supports night vision and aids healthy skin.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) releases energy from carbohydrate and aids normal growth.
Vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin) and B6 helps energy, metabolism and the formation of tissue.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects against the damage of free radicals, it also plays a part in building teeth, bones, cartilage and gums.
Vitamin D improves calcium and phosphorus absorption and helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect the fat in body tissues from oxidation.
Free radicals are unstable by-products of the chemical reactions in our body. They are a bit like little black spots which ping around the body causing damage to the surface of cells, proteins and DNA. Antioxidants are vitamins (Vitamin A, C, E) sometimes known as ACE and are the body’s superheroes – fighting the black dots.
Minerals and why your baby needs them
Minerals are split into two types, ones that we need in tiny amounts (trace elements) and ones that we need more of. Examples of trace elements are iron, zinc and selenium. The ones we need more of include calcium, phosphorus and sodium. Minerals have lots of different functions in the body.
Calcium & Phosphorous help build and maintain healthy bones and teeth
Iron helps build red blood cells (see Why your baby needs iron in the nutrition section of our Beginner stage )
Zinc is a factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation
Selenium helps protect against oxidative stress
Magnesium aids in energy metabolism, tissue formation and bone development
Once your child is started on solids it is important to include iron-rich foods in their daily diet.
Effects of Iron Deficiency
• Iron deficiency anaemia
• Poor appetite
• Poor physical development
• Poor growth
• Irreversible developmental delays in cognitive function
Causes of Iron Deficiency
• Delayed introduction of iron-rich foods
• Offering cow's milk instead of breast milk or iron-fortified formula (cow's milk is a poor source of iron)
• High fiber diets since fiber 'binds' with iron and can prevent its absorption
• Gastroenteritis and other infections and illnesses.
Iron For Every Age
0 to 6 months – Iron is stored in your baby's liver during the last six weeks of pregnancy so premature and low birth weight babies are at risk. Ask your healthcare professional if a supplement is needed.
6 to 12 months – Foods that are high in iron are needed every day. Heinz Rice Cereal has 100% of your baby's daily iron needs and meat is one of the best sources of iron, making it easily absorbed too. You can offer pureed meats from six months and finely chopped or as a finger food for older babies.
Cow's milk is low in iron and Vitamin C and, therefore, is not suitable as a drink until after 12 months. Fruit juices, like Heinz® Juices, are high in Vitamin C, which helps with the absorption of iron.
Toddlers and preschoolers – Growth has slowed down but iron is still very important and high-iron foods are needed every day. Heinz Toddler Nutrios® have 100% of your toddler and preschooler's daily iron needs.
It’s a good idea to introduce just one new food at a time for 1 or 2 days then, try something else. This gives your little one time to adjust to a wonderful world of new flavours. Plus it’s easier to know which foods your baby likes or dislikes, and helps to identify any possible allergies. You’ll find Heinz 6 month+ baby foods are ideal, in addition to freshly prepared vegetables and fruits.
• Start by introducing Heinz iron-enriched Baby Rice Cereal, gradually increasing to 1-2 tablespoons a day
• Next introduce soft vegetables, gradually increasing to 1-2 tablespoons a day
• Then introduce soft fruits, gradually increasing to 1-2 tablespoons a day
Remember, there is no need to add any table salt or sugar to your little one’s food.