Children need fat in their body for their development. Toddlers need fat for their brain and body to grow and develop well.
Parents should not avoid or restrict fat intake for toddlers and should not be afraid to feed child recommended amount of fat.
If you chose healthy fat then children will not exceed weight for their age and their development will be normal.
Going for unsaturated fat and limiting tans and saturated fat is key for children health.
How fat helps children body?
- Fat helps in absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K that are fat soluble
- Fat helps in hormone production.
- Fat helps in brain development and growth
- Insulates nervous system
What type of oil is good for child?
You can include edible oil in your child’s food if they are aged 3 and above. Below three, consult your pediatrician for best suited oil for your child’s growth. Some fat needed for child’s development for the reasons mentioned above. Oils that generally recommended for children are :
- Canola oil: When you have to saute or stir-fry vegetables use canola oil. Replace butter use with canola oil. To prepare pancakes, dosa, upama, muffins use canola oil. It is unsaturated fat and is rich in omega-3-fatty acids. Canola oil does not give odd flavor and will go well with most types of food.
- Olive oil: Olive oil contains antioxidants and helps in heart functioning. If your child prefers eating salad, add one tsp of olive oil to salad. Use olive oil as a dip for cut vegetables like carrot, celery, broccoli. Or when you bake something use olive oil in place of butter. Some children might not like direct taste of olive oil as they might feel the flavor is little intense for the tongue.
- Sesame oil: In India and other Asian countries sesame oil is used for frying and cooking. It has little nutty flavor and children love to eat sesame oil fried food. It also contains omega fatty acids. Use sesame oil in lesser quantity. Cook vegetables, pancakes, breakfast items in sesame oil. It also helps in strengthening bone and helps little one’s heart.
- Peanut Oil : Before using peanut oil, make sure your toddler is not allergic to peanut. Peanut oil also will give similar reactions if your child is allergic to peanut. Otherwise peanut is good as it contains Vitamin E, antioxidants. Use peanut oil to sauté vegetables. Peanut oil is not that good for deep frying when comes to children. It goes rancid faster than other types of oil. Use peanut oil in smaller amount.
- Flax seed oil : It is recommended for children aged 3 and above. But use flax seed oil in very small quantity. Because children body does not produce enough amount of an enzyme that converts Omega-3 fatty acid ALA that is present in flax seed oil. This Omega-3 fatty acid ALA should convert to DHA for the absorption by cells, by enzymes and these enzymes are produces in negligible amount.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains lauric acid and helps to prevent infection. It nourishes children skin. It also a good teething pain reliever. Applying coconut oil on baby’s skin helps in preventing sun burn and it acts as a sunscreen. Coconut oil is good source of fat and supplies calories for baby and is safe at certain level and after 5 months age. It helps in brain development. If you are going to use coconut oil in your baby’s diet, make sure baby is not allergic to coconut oil. It can be mixed in cereal, breakfast or while cooking vegetables as tolerated and depending on your infant’s feeding stage.
- Sunflower oil: Obtained from Sunflower seeds. It is rich in Vitamin E and supplies antioxidants. It has high smoking point and is good for deep frying purposes and snacks preparation. It is widely used for preparation of chips, samosas and cooking vegetables. It is also good for children for their heart and brain development.
- Vegetable oil: Most cooking oils that are labelled as vegetable oil are made from soybean. It is also used as an ingredient for margarine, salad dressing etc. It provides fair amount of omega-3 fat but less when compared to canola oil. It is bland and can be added while cooking vegetables and preparing breakfast.
Don’t feed too much oily food or food containing saturated fat to your child. For better health of heart and brain children need better oil. Talk to your pediatrician and get recommendation.
Image credit: Photo by Christian Mukala on Unsplash & Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash (Free for commercial use)
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: December 14, 2019