In search of new flavours
The basic rules for healthy cooking are: fresh food, prepared simply, with low animal fat, a limited quantity of sugar and salt and vegetables and fruits in season. In the kitchen, try to use as many natural products as possible is the first way to accustom your child to eating with variety: in doing so, he is always being offered new foods (or not eating a certain food for a few months) and you can get him familiar with the authentic taste of seasonal foods.
A precious staple food, remains centre stage even during weaning
During weaning, milk does not disappear from the child's diet, but is integrated with other foods that complement the nutritional intake. The proper type of weaning is, in fact, referred to as complementary weaning, no replacement weaning.
Despite losing its exclusive role, this food, rich in proteins, carbohydrates, fat and water maintains a prominent role in the diet: it must cover at least 50% of energy needs and the child will consume half a litre per day.
If you have the opportunity, you should continue to provide breast milk, which remains the best and the most digestible kind of milk. If, though, breast milk has already been replaced with a bottle, we recommend a "continuing milk", specially formulated for weaning and rich in iron and essential fatty acids.
Completing the diet and enriching it with new flavours
Cheese contains high biological value proteins , necessary for children and an ideal source of calcium, essential for strengthening bones. It is best to choose leaner cheeses, such as ricotta or Parmesan, if your child enjoys bolder tastes.
Yoghurt is rich in calcium, protein and phosphorus. Yoghurt can be offered to children even during their first year of life, as the ferments that it contains make the milk protein more assimilable and the milk sugar (lactose) is pre-digested, and so it is well tolerated by the intestine. Its composition favours calcium absorption and the presence of lactobacilli strengthens and regulates the intestinal flora.
The base element for your first meals, and continuously present ever after
Vegetables, together with fruit, are placed among the top foods during weaning. In fact, vegetable broth is the base of the first meal given in weaning. Vegetables provide a good supply of vitamins, minerals and, above all, fibre, that helps regulate the bowel. In general, they contain fewer calories (a little more for starchy vegetables like potatoes and legumes), and are therefore suitable for feeding your baby.zbr/> When selecting vegetables for the preparation of vegetable broth, it is preferable to focus on seasonal ingredients, grown without pesticides or other chemicals. It is essential to thoroughly wash the various vegetables.
For the first meals, use only the broth. In the following weeks, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of mashed vegetables, made with a homogeniser, especially appropriate if the child suffers from constipation.
A pleasant companion to meals, remaining a good habit into adulthood
Fruit, included from the beginning of weaning, provides the little one with other minerals, sugars and fibre, and its sweet taste is generally enjoyed. In the first year of life, it is a pleasant complement to a child's diet, but it is not an essential food. To accustom your child to eating it, however, it is important to ensure a wider panorama of flavours, which is useful in the development of taste.
Initially, fruit can be offered homogenised and, later, finely grated. Homogenised fruit can be prepared at home with fresh fruit using a homogeniser.
As with any food offered to the child, it is important to know its origin and, especially, to verify that it has been grown without pesticides or other chemicals, choosing it in season, with the right degree of ripeness, and washing and peeling with care.
White or red, essential in the early years
In addition to high biological value protein and easily absorbable iron, meat also supplies a fair amount of vitamins, above all those of Group B, zinc and other micronutrients.
After the 6th/7th month, you can prepare homogenates with fresh meat (50 g), with the aid of a homogeniser, in strict compliance with hygiene and always evaluating the origin of the meat.
An ideal alternative to meat, with the added plus of valuable Omega 3
Fish holds an important place among the foods introduced during weaning. Rich in noble proteins , qualitatively equal to those of meat, it is a good, easily digestible substitute.
It is rich in precious minerals for growth, such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and, in particular, iodine. It is also a good source of vitamins (A, D, PP, B1, B2 and B9, or folic acid) and makes polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3), important for the development of the central nervous system and for the protection of the retina. In addition, the fat in fish helps keep our arteries clean, protecting us from cardiovascular illnesses.
For these reasons, getting your child used to eating fish from an early age has an effective preventive value. You can find all kinds of fresh fish, to be chosen carefully, as well as frozen, making sure that the cold chain is respected. Fish should be well cleaned and prepared, fully removed of all bones, and homogenised. Fish can also be added to baby food or, alternatively, can be served alone, steamed and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil.
A food rich in nutrients, a true gift from nature
Eggs are concentrated sources of nutrients. The yolk is rich in fat, protein, minerals (iron, phosphorous, calcium) and vitamins (A, D and complex B), while the egg white is devoid of fat, but contains high biological value protein. Eggs are able to largely cover the daily protein requirement, but without bringing an excessive amount of calories. Eggs are a very important part of childhood.
Sometimes a bit neglected in a child's diet, but deserving of attention
Beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, soy beans, etc.: legumes, unlike other vegetables, contain high biological value protein and are rich in essential amino acids. Combined with grains, they become similar to meat proteins and are a good source of minerals and vitamins.
They can be introduced between the 7th/8th months, first in the form of vegetable broth and then mashed and added to meals. They must, however, always be peeled. When combined with carbohydrates (semolina, pasta, etc.), they are an alternative to fish and meat.
Lots of energy, good to eat
Grains supply a good source of carbohydrates; in particular, starches (65-75%), protein (6-12%), fat (1-4%) and fibre. Easily digested, grains are added to vegetable broth from early weaning, to enrich them with complex carbohydrates to provide long-lasting energy.
Around the 10th month, when the first teeth have appeared and the baby is learning to chew, pasta, low in fat but rich in carbohydrates, can be added to a baby's diet, chosen in smaller sizes in the beginning. Among the varieties available, durum wheat pasta is preferable as it is richer in protein than soft wheat.
Precious and irreplaceable, from the earliest meals
Extra virgin olive oil, concentrated in calories and essential fatty acids (well tolerated even in childhood), is the perfect complement to a meal: just add a teaspoon to provide the right amount of fat for your child.
The use of olive oil in childhood protects the gastric mucosa, preventing the occurrence of reflux, helping the body to properly assimilate all the necessary nutrients, stimulating the immune system by acting as an anti-inflammatory and preventing autoimmune diseases. In addition, polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6) which it is rich with are critical for bone mineralisation and development of the central nervous system and visual apparatus; phenols and tocopherols (vitamin E), natural antioxidants, counteract the cellular damage caused by free radicals and the oleic acid makes this food suitable for all ages.
Salt and sugar
Resist the temptation!
In the first year of age, the addition of salt is discouraged with respect to leaving the natural flavour, both to avoid unnecessary overloading of the kidneys and to ensure that the child does not get used to savoury flavours which might influence their future food choices, determining, in adulthood, and in susceptible people, the development of hypertension.
The addition of sugar and sweeteners is also discouraged, as the child could later want only sweet foods, favouring cavities and obesity. It is best, therefore, that parents be careful, from the earliest meals, not to indulge the child's propensity towards food that is too salty or too sweet.
Refreshes, hydrates, nourishes: essential
Water is a vital source of nutrients as it is the vehicle of nutrients in the body. During weaning, water can be offered via vegetable broths, soups and milk, as well as simply through mineral water. Fruit and vegetables are also a source of liquids.
The daily requirement for a child is very high and it is important the right amount be provided in the diet. It is preferable to offer the child mineral water, as its physical, chemical and bacteriological remain unchanged and are checked periodically. Parents should contact their paediatrician to find out which of the different mineral waters available on the market is best suited for their child based on the content of trace elements and minerals. To assess, in particular, is the fixed residue (FR), the content of dissolved salts in a litre of water. Water with a FR lower than 50 mg/l are classified as minimally mineralised , while those with a FR between 50 and 500 mg/l are classified as slightly mineralised, those with a FR between 501 and 1500 mg/l are medium-mineralised and those with a FR higher than 1500 mg/l are considered mineral-rich. A good mineral water should contain at least 150 mg/l of calcium, a balanced sodium/potassium ratio (with potassium lower than calcium) have between 0.5 and 1 mg/l of fluoride and have a nitrate content below 10 mg/l.
Children rarely manifest thirst, but parents know that it is important to drink enough. In particular, it is important to offer water often when a child is sweating a lot (for example, in the summer, when he is playing or moving around) or in the presence of a fever, vomit or diarrhoea. Outside of meals, water promotes hydration, while drinking it with meals helps the assimilation of the minerals contained in the food.