MANILA -- Health experts on Wednesday urged parents to avoid feeding their young children with instant noodles and processed foods.
“In complementary feeding, this is when a child starts feeding at six months old, don't give a child food with artificial coloring and flavors. If you think these harm you as an adult, more likely these are going to harm your kids,” Department of Health Disease Prevention and Control Bureau officer-in-charge, Dr. Anthony Calibo said in a press briefing in Makati City.
Calibo said healthy eating does not start during adulthood but during early childhood.
“These instant noodles may have the good intention to provide nutrition, they may even possess the micronutrient Sangkap Pinoy Seal, meaning they have been fortified, but if they're high in sodium, it is going to be unhealthy for the baby's kidney,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Nutrition Council executive director, Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang said it cannot be ruled out that instant noodles do not have nutritional value at all.
“We tell manufacturers to reformulate their products, huwag masyado damihan ang asin. Noodles as the most affordable for households, we tell them to add mga gulay like kalabasa, malunggay, itlog din pwede (vegetables like squash, malunggay, egg also),” Dayanghirang said.
Citing that frequent instant noodles consumption could lead to hypertension, Calibo advised that it must be eaten sparingly.
“For example, you've been feeding your child instant pancit canton every day, that's not a recommendation, probably once a week, and you shouldn't be giving other salty food like chips you already gave instant pancit canton,” he said.
To keep children from consuming instant noodles and processed food, Calibo urged parents to prepare meals ahead of time.
“Children are heavily dependent on adults, start teaching your caregiver to serve healthy food options if you’re working and unable to prepare meals. There are dieticians and nutritionists you can consult and they can help you in the preparation of a healthy meal plan for your family,” he added. (PNA)