Foods Forbidden To All Young Children

The following articles are particularly indigestible for children, and should not be allowed them under four years of age, and some of them should not be given at any period of childhood: Fried food of all kinds, game, salt food, the flesh of swine in all forms, pickles, salads, condiments, except salt, "stews," the "dressing of fowl, sauces, visceral foods (such as liver, kidneys, tripe, etc.), all raw vegetables, potatoes (except baked), tomatoes in any form; the coarser vegetables, such as beets, turnips, cabbage, etc.; fancy bread, cake, and pastry; griddle cakes, canned food of all kinds; fancy confectionery, sweets, and preserves; cheese, rich soups, jellies, dried or unripe and overripe fruits (bananas, so often given to young children, are very bad for them), nuts, fruits with large seeds, such as grapesj the skin of all poultry, fruits, or vegetables.

All food should be plainly and thoroughly cooked. No greasy or highly seasoned dishes are permissible, and as a rule twice-cooked meats are indigestible.

Tea, coffee, and alcohol in every form must be withheld. The two former beverages interfere with digestion and make the child nervous, and the latter lays the foundation for a permanent alcohol habit. Soda water with sirups should not be given. Too much water should not be allowed with meals, and what is given should not be ice cold.

Children, as they grow up, should continue to observe regularity in the hours for taking meals, and the habit of perpetually nibbling at cake, crackers, and confectionery between meals should not be tolerated. It is best for young children not to be put to sleep immediately after their most substantial meal of the day. As they require a nap in the early afternoon, many advise giving this meal at 4 p. m.

The following is a useful summary (taken in part from Holt) of:

General Rules For Feeding Young Children

i. Allow time for meals.

2. See that the food is thoroughly masticated.

3. Do not allow nibbling between meals.

4. Do not tempt the child with the sight of rich and indigestible food.

5. Do not force the child to eat against its will, but examine the mouth, which may be sore from erupting teeth; and examine the food, which may not be properly cooked or flavoured.

If good food is refused from peevishness merely, remove it and do not offer it again before the next meal time.

6. In acute illness reduce and dilute the food at once.

7. In very hot weather give about one fourth or one third less food, and offer more water.

The young infant depends wholly upon animal food, and derives the necessary carbon largely from the sugar of milk. The older child lives in part only upon animal food, and begins to derive additional carbon from bread and other cereal foods.

Quantity Of Food Required

Experiments have been made by Ueffelmann, Hasse, and others, to determine the necessary percentage of albuminous food required per diem per kilogramme of body weight, by growing children, with the following result:


Average weight of child.

At 2 years

4 grammes.

12.5 kilogrammes.

At 3 to 5 years



At 8 to 11 years



Thus it is seen the percentage of albuminous food required diminishes as the child gains in weight, and more carbohydrate food is used to replace it.

The daily average quantity of food required by each child in an aggregate of twenty-eight healthy children between the ages of two and three years is reported by Starr to be as follows: Bread, 7.5 ounces; butter, 0.98 ounce; meat (beef), 4.6 ounces; potatoes, 3.9 ounces; milk, 32.6 fluid ounces. The daily average for each child in an aggregate of twelve children between the ages of three and six years was: Milk, 48.6 fluid ounces; beef, 12.1 ounces; rice, 13 ounces; bread, 10.3 ounces; butter, 1.08 ounce. The daily average for each child in an aggregate of twenty-four children between the ages of four and ten years was: Roast beef, 12.46 ounces; bread, 10.23 ounces; potatoes, 10.03 ounces; butter, 0.99 ounce; milk, 38.5 fluid ounces.