FOOD BASED DIETARY GUIDELINES

General recommendations

The general recommendations aim at ensuring that the different age groups consume adequate amounts of food that contain the nutrients needed to attain and maintain good health. The recommendations also aim at reducing the growing prevalence of  diet-related non-communicable diseases or the metabolic disorders

 

Good nutrition

No single food by itself (except breast-milk) provides all the nutrients in the right amounts that will promote growth and maintain life. To achieve good nutrition, therefore, it is necessary to consume as wide a variety of foods as possible from the age of 6 months.

 

1.1. Infants (0-6 months)

  • Start exclusive breast-feeding immediately after birth and continue for 6 months.
  • There should be no bottle-feeding.

 

1.2. Infants (6-12 months)

  • Continue breast-feeding.
  • Introduce complementary feeds made from a variety of cereals, tubers, legumes, fruits, animal foods and give with cup and spoon.

 

1.3. Toddlers (12-24 months)

  • Continue to breastfeed until child is 2 years.
  • Give enriched pap or mashed foods twice daily.
  • Give family diet made soft with less pepper and spices.
  • Give fruits and vegetables in season.

 

1.4. Children (25-60 months)

  • Give diet that contains a variety of foods in adequate amounts.
  • Add palm oil or vegetable oil to raise the energy level of complementary foods.
  • Gradually increase food intake to 4-5 times daily as baby gets older.
  • Provide dark green leafy vegetables, yellow/orange coloured fruits, citrus fruits, cereals, legumes, tubers and foods of animal origin.
  • Limit the consumption of sugary food.
  • Continue feeding even when child is ill.

 

1.5. School-aged children (6-11 years)

  • Give diet that contains a variety of foods in adequate amounts.
  • Encourage consumption of good quality snacks, but limit the consumption of sugary snacks.

 

1.6. Adolescents (12-18 years)

  • Consume diet containing a variety of foods.
  • Most of the energy should be delivered from roots/tubers, legumes, cereals, vegetables and less from animal foods.
  • An increase in total food intake is very important at this stage, so is the need to enjoy family meals.
  • Snacks especially pastry and carbonate drinks should not replace main meals. If you must eat out, make wise food choices.
  • Liberal consumption of whatever fruit is in season should be encouraged.
  • Females need to eat more iron-containing foods like meat, fish, poultry, legumes, cereals as well as citrus fruits to enhance body’s use of iron.

 

1.7. Adults (male and female)

  • Total food intake should take into consideration the level of physical activity.
  • Individuals who do manual work need to consume more food than those who do sedentary work.
  • Limit the fat intake from animal foods.
  • Diet should consist of as wide a variety of foods as possible e.g. cereals, legumes, roots/tubers, fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, local cheese (wara).
  • Limit intake of salt, bouillon cubes and sugar.
  • Liberal consumption of whatever fruit is in season is encouraged.

 

1.8. Pregnant women

  • Eat diet that contains a variety of foods in adequate amounts.
  • Consume enough food to ensure adequate weight gain.
  • Eat more cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and animal foods.
  • Take iron and folic acid supplements as prescribed.
  • Avoid alcohol, addictive substances and smoking.

 

1.9. Breast-feeding mothers

  • Eat diet that contains a variety of available food items like cereals, tubers, legumes, meat, fish, milk, fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Consume more  foods rich in iron such as liver, fish, beef, etc.
  • Eat fruits in season at every meal.
  • Consume fluids as needed to quench thirst.
  • Avoid alcohol, addictive substances and smoking.

 

1.10. The elderly

  • Eat diets that are prepared from a variety of available foods e.g. cereals, tubers, fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Increase consumption of fish and fish-based diets.
  • Eat more of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more frequently.

 

  1. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY/EXERCISE

Physical activity both as short periods of intense exercise or prolonged periods of modest activity on a daily basis generally has beneficial effects.

  • Children and adolescents should engage in leisure time exercise.
  • Adults should undertake some form of exercise as recommended by their doctors.

 

  1. HEALTHY LIFESTYLE 

Some habits and lifestyles e.g. tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption have been found to be bad for health.

Prolonged indulgence in these lifestyles predisposes to non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart problems, and hypertension.

3.1. Alcohol

Too much alcohol consumption can lead to risk of hypertension, liver damage, malnutrition and various cancers. There is also the problem of alcohol abuse.

  • If you must drink, take alcohol in moderation.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when driving a vehicle or operating any machinery.

3.2.Tobacco

Tobacco use is associated with lung cancer and other chronic disorders. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the developing baby and can result in low birth weight babies.

  • Avoid the use of tobacco in any form

 

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