Dr Han Wee Meng works with children every day. She knows that between the ages of two and 12, they are growing fast and need to be fed right.

Dr Han, Head and Senior Principal Dietitian at the Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, said that during the growing years, foods that supply protein, calcium, iron and vitamins are critical to their growth and development. Without them, children may be stunted and, in serious cases, it can impact the development of their mental and motor skills. These nutrients are present in the major food groups – grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods.

There’s a plethora to choose from, but here are Dr Han’s 10 top picks:

1. Berries

Strawberries and blueberries are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They protect healthy cells from damage, boosting the immune system.

How to prepare it: Use berries as toppings for ice cream, yogurt, pancakes and cereal. Add blueberries to pancake batter to make blueberry pancakes.

2. Eggs

High in protein and vitamins, eggs are one of the richest sources of choline – an essential nutrient that aids brain development.

How to prepare it: Boil, fry or scramble them, or make omelettes. Add them to soups, porridge, gravy, rice and noodles, or make desserts like custard.

3. Cow’s milk

It is a good source of calcium and phosphorous, which are important for building bones and muscles. Serve full-fat milk, not low-fat or skimmed varieties, if your child is not yet two years old. Unless she is overweight, she will need the extra energy to grow.

How to prepare it: For a quick and easy breakfast, serve milk with cereal or cookies, or blend with fruits to make smoothies.

4. Peanut butter

Rich in monounsaturated fats, peanut butter provides children with energy and protein. However, some brands contain added salt, sugar, palm oil and partially hydrogenated fats, which reduce nutritional quality.

How to prepare it: Spread it on biscuits, or eat it straight from the jar. You can also drizzle it over ice cream or waffles.

For more growing child food tips, see next page.

Ref: T12