Soft or Solid Food Energy Density of Diet and Protein and Energy Requirements

A child's diet during the period of diarrhea should not be drastically different from his or her normal healthy diet. Therefore, for children who are currently breast-feeding, they should continue to do so, and for children who are in the weaning period and have a mixed diet, they should continue to have a mixed diet of soft or solid food. If the child on a mixed diet is dehydrated, his or her soft and solid foods should be temporarily stopped for a period of approximately 4 h when he or she rehydrates. However, it should then be resumed. For children who are in the weaning stages, WHO recommends small, frequent feedings (six or more times a day) to increase nutrient absorption. The type of food should be energy rich, low in bulk, locally available, and nutritious. The diet should contain complementary protein sources and easily digestible fats, and complex carbohydrates should be avoided. All the foods should be well cooked. Easily digestible staple foods that can be easily mashed include rice, corn, potatoes, and noodles. These staple foods should be mixed with vegetables as well as sources of protein if possible. It is also important to ensure adequate rehydra-tion. In addition, the consumption of fresh fruit juices and mashed bananas is highly encouraged because they provide a good source of potassium.

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