You asked

How can I make sure my child gets enough essential fatty acids?

Essential fatty acids (EFAs), are types of fat that are necessary for healthy cells, nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and for healthy brain and eye function.

The body uses two types of EFAs (omega-6 and omega-3) to produce long chain fatty acids which are vital to a body. One such long chain fatty acid is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is essential for proper brain and eye development in infants, even before birth. You may have already noticed that infant formulas are fortified with DHA.

Pregnant women should also make sure that their diets contain DHA. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is another long chain fatty acid that is essential to a body’s health.

How much omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should your child get per day?
A child from age 1 to 3 needs 7,000 milligrams (7.0 grammes) of omega-6 and 700 milligrams (0.7 grams) of omega-3 per day.
A child from age 4 to 8 needs 10,000 milligrams (910 grammes) of omega-6 and 900 milligrams (0.9 grams) of omega-3 per day.

The omega-6 fatty acids are easy to get. They come from all foods that contain oils, therefore, most children get plenty. On the other hand, the omega-3 fatty acids are more difficult to get because there are only a handful of foods that contain them.

Here are some foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids:
•    flaxseed oil, 1 teaspoon: 5,700 mg 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground: 15,900 mg
•    English walnuts, 1/4 cup: 9,100 mg
•    peanut butter, 1 tablespoon, fortified with omega-3: 4,950 mg
•    walnut oil, 1 teaspoon: 2,380 mg
•    wheat germ oil, 1 teaspoon: 3,110 mg
•    soybean oil , 1 teaspoon: 2,270 mg
•    canola oil, 1 teaspoon canola oil: 870 mg
•    wheat germ, 1 tablespoon: 500 mg
•    1 omega-3 fortified egg: 100 mg

Although the body can create DHA and EPA, the diet often lacks the proper amount of essential fatty acids to do so. A child from age 1 to 3 can have 70 milligrams of DHA and EPA per day and a child from age 4 to 8 can have 90 milligrams of DHA and EPA per day. (These amounts are combined).
To ensure that your child gets the proper amount of DHA and EPA, encourage them to eat fish at least once per week. Fish, such as herring, salmon, trout, mackerel, and Pollock are good sources of DHA.

More questions

Trying to feed a picky eater can make mealtimes even more stressful. While food fussiness is a typical phase that most chldren will through, it doesn’t make it any easier for mums to deal with. However...
Foods on this shelf are the best energy providers for your child's body, so the more active your child is the more he will need.
 
There are many nutrients found in whole-grains which are essential for your child’s health.
Check out these simple steps you can take to make sure that your child gets enough calcium.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are some of the best sources of calcium, but it can also be found in less expected sources.
There is a difference between iron that is found in animal sources and plant sources of iron.
Iron is vital in order to ensure good health and development in your child. It is responsible for making haemoglobin, the pigment which carries oxygen to the blood and myoglobin, a pigment that stores oxygen in...
If your child rejects a lot of vegetables, there are lots of ways you can try slipping them into food. 
What exactly is cholesterol and is all cholesterol bad?
There are many factors to consider when deciding if a child is truly underweight

Latest

Trending

Hello Mama!
Help us help you by allowing us and our partners to remember your device in cookies to serve you personalized content and ads.

We're on a mission to help our mums and their families thrive by informing, connecting and entertaining.

Join us in our mission by consenting to the use of cookies and IP address recognition by us and our partners to serve you content (including ads) best suited to your interests, both here and around the web.

We promise never to share any other information that may be deemed personal unless you explicitly tell us it's ok.

If you want more info, see our privacy policy.