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What to know before playing

The messages need to be short, concrete, simple to memorise and to implement. They translate into everyday language and complex notions used by the medical and scientific community become accessible to everyone.

Just as a table needs to rest on 4 identical legs to be stable, a child needs to rest on 4 pillars of equal importance in order to thrive.

The 4 pillars of health for a thriving child are :

  • Varied diet, appropriate to the child’s age;
  • Complete vaccinations
  • Good hygiene and adapted initial care in case of illness
  • Love and attention; communication between parent and child

DIET

First of all :

  • From birth to the age of 6 months = breast milk only
  • From age of 6 months = breast milk + a complement
  • 4 meals per day = a little bit of everything, every day, and construction food first (cf. below)

I- Les catégories d’aliments :

-  Food Categories :
A child grows very fast from conception to the age of 2 (1 000 days) : at age two, he reaches half of his adult size : It is therefore absolutely necessary for him to eat construction foods every day. Pregnant and nursing women also, for the same reason.
Just as it is necessary to have good quality and quantity of materials to build a solid house, construction foods are necessary for the child to be in good health and grow well.

These foods are all animal and vegetable proteins :
> animal protein = meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
> vegetable protein = peanuts, soy, peas, beans and lentils.

-  Protection foods :
We need to protect ourselves from illness at all ages. Every one then needs to eat protection foods every day.

These foods are all fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked (warning: cooking reduces the quantity of vitamins).

-  Energy foods :
Every one needs them, particularly adults who make sustained efforts. They calm hunger, but eaten alone, they do not prevent malnutrition.

These are sugars and lipids (grease, fat) :

  • Sugars : there are 2 sorts of sugars with different effects:
    • Slow sugars : they are not sweet to the taste and are digested slowly. They are necessary to sustain effort.
      They are :
      - cereals : wheat, corn, rice, sorghum, millet
      - roots/tubers: potatoes,taro,yam,cassava, manioc
    • Fast sugars: they taste sweet and are quickly digested. They give a burst of energy and risk reducing appetite when taken before a meal. They should be consumed with moderation. They are sugar, honey, cane sugar, candy and sodas
  • Fats : they are necessary to develop children’s brains.
    They are animal and vegetable fats, such as oil, butter, avocados….

-  Drinks :
Only water that is potable is necessary !

II- Food quantities :

The quantity of food that is necessary for a child is minimal !

  • For « construction » foods :
    • 1 year-old : 1 TB of meat/fish or 1/2 egg yolk
      or 2 to 3 TB of cooked legumes
    • 2 year-old : 2 TB of meat/fish or 1/2 egg yolk
      or 3 to 4 TB of cookeing legumes
    • 3 year-old : 3 TB of meat/fish or 1 egg
      or 6 to 7 TB cooked legumes
  • For "protection" food : at each meal, according to the child’s appetite.
  • For "energy" food :
    • Fats = 2 TSP per meal
    • Sugars:
      • Slow sugars : at each meal, according to the child’s appetite, to complement the construction foods
      • Avoid fast sugars

III- Good practice :

-  Every day eat a food from each category based on what can be found on the market to maintain good health.

- Supervising the child during his meal is very important to make sure that he is eating both construction and protection foods.

- Comparing prices of non-essential foods (candy, sodas, alcohol, tobacco, etc.) and the prices of necessary foods allows the family to make thought-out choices in favour of their children’s health.

L’HYGIENE

I - Water hygiene : use chlorine (liquid or tablets) to purify water for drinking

II - Hygiene of the body and hands : wash hands before preparing meals, after using the toilet, touching trash bins, etc.

III - Environmental hygiene : use latrines, collect waste.

PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

Talking to, playing with a child, is just as important as giving him food.
It’s the food of the heart, which is just as indispensable in a child’s life as water is indispensable to the life of a plant.

RISK SITUATIONS

- In case of diarrhoea, vomiting or fever, give the child abundant liquids (breast milk, potable water or rehydration liquid)

- supervise children to avoid domestic accidents.