Mothers usually continue to breastfeed their babies up to 2 years old or sometimes after this age and babies will take the advantage of this blessing. When breastfeeding is stopped, children are ready to receive all nutrients from various foods that are classified in four main groups. Nutritional needs of babies increases with their age and their foods will be diversified.
An important subject to be considered related to children’s nutrition is that consumption of foods with low nutritional value like snacks and fast foods should be limited because, considering relative independence of children at this age to select food and consumption of these foods in high quantity, they will be inflicted with obesity and overweight and deprived from high-value nutrients.
Another nutritional point is that foodstuffs containing dietary fiber like full cereals, vegetables and fruit should be included in child’s diet because, in addition to supplying vitamins and minerals, these foods provide fiber required by the digestive system and plays an important role in its health by preventing diseases like constipation.
Using milk and dairy products may play an important role in supplying calcium needed by children at this age. Also, there are specially formulated milks for this age group (juniors) in market that have priority over cow milk. Cow milk contains high quantity of protein, most of which is casein that has a lower nutritional value than whey protein and contributes less to growth. In addition to obesity risk, this high quantity of protein imposes pressure to kidneys. While milks formulated with less protein and higher nutritional value (higher whey protein) are free from this disadvantage. Also, cow’s milk fat is mainly formed of saturated fatty acids that, in addition to being harder to digest, it increases risk of cardiovascular damages by increasing harmful fats. While, cow’s milk fat is removad in formulated milks and replaced by a mixture of vegetable oils and useful fatty acids that are easy to digest. Cow milk is poor in terms of some vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and D, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine and selenium, while formulated milks contain proper quantity of such nutrients.