FOR PARENTS: NUTRITIONAL GUIDANCE TO RAISE A HEALTHY CHILD
series: MEETING NUTRITIONAL NEEDS by Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN
Top things that parents could learn about in order to have the most impact on their child's health and development? I would probably start with just getting an adequate variety of foods as much as possible. Trying to get as many different kinds of foods and exposing the child to different food varieties.
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Making the best of what you have available to you both financially and geographically is important. If the parents are in a new environment--if they're in a new country or a new setting--maybe the access to food is different than what they're used to. Learning from who's around them--maybe learning from people who are more used to the environment or maybe from the area--different ways of food preparation and being a little bit more open to utilizing the available resources, can be really helpful.
Talk to the nurses and the healthcare providers. They can give you a lot of great information as well about food and nutrition and what's appropriate for a child. What might be appropriate for your oldest may not be what's appropriate for your youngest. It's important to keep in mind that variations of age, physical needs, emotional needs--all those things can alter what a child might need. One child might actually require a special diet or special nutrients in order for them to thrive. If the doctor does decide that they need vitamins or that they need additional supplements or additional food servings, it's not a judgment on your ability to parent. Rather, it's that child's personal needs and what they require for them to thrive, grow and keep up their development.
Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN
Lara Zakaria is a Syrian-American pharmacist and clinical nutritionist residing in New York City. She owns Foodie Farmacist LLC, an integrative medicine, nutrition, and genomics consulting practice focused on prevention and reversal of chronic disease. An active member of...
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The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Tristate Chapter, she is also honored to serve on the national Board of Directors.
Her ground experience includes participating with multidisciplinary medical teams serving displaced refugees and underserved local communities in Jordan and Lebanon. Lara also serves on several advisory committees including the Jordan Relief Committee (including the Za’atri Clinic Advisory Commission), Advocacy, and as chair of the Pharmacy and Nutrition Committee. Lara is an active advocate for awareness of the Syrian Crisis and medical worker safety, meeting with representative of the United Nations and of the US congress and senate, as well as in presenting SAMS work at various universities and roundtable discussions including the University of Michigan, Columbia University, CUNY Medical School, and New York University Medical and Law School.
Lara is currently a graduate student at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and a candidate for a Masters in Public Health with a special interest in Behavioral and Social Health.