How to Diversify your Child Diet

As children become older, their daily energy and nutritional needs increase. Breast milk alone cannot meet all their energy and nutrient requirements for growth, so they need to be supplemented with complementary foods. Complementary feeding is feeding a baby with foods other than breast milk, i.e. transitioning from a milk-based diet to a diversified diet.

Choosing the type and timing of complementary foods for children is very important. Eating supplements not only ensures good energy with a balance and a full range of substances such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. It also helps children get used to the taste of many foods and strengthens chewing and swallowing skills. Improve motor skills through food handling.

Children above six months of age have a digestive system mature enough to digest starches, proteins, and fats found in food. Their nervous system and tongue muscles are developed enough to be ready to explore foods other than breast milk.


  • Exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age;
  • Complementary feeding when the child has just turned six months old (180 days), and at the same time continue to breastfeed on-demand until the child is 24 months old;
  • When eating supplements, it is necessary to ensure an adequate supply of energy needs according to the age-appropriate ratio of nutrient groups such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Feed your child from simple to varied. Introduce a portion of new food to the child individually for 3 to 5 days, watching for allergic reactions (if any). As your child gets used to that food, continue introducing another new food.
  • Start supplementing from finely pureed, ground, semi-solid, and then coarse;
  • Eat supplements by gradually increasing from small to big portion, from liquid to pureed then thick food;
  • Gradually increase the number of times the child eats complementary foods as the child ages.
  • Children need to use various combinations of foods in their meals to help them fully absorb the nutrients they need and ensure that they provide enough four food groups;
  • Increase vegetables and fruits to provide more fiber and vitamins.
  • Ensure adequate supply of trace elements necessary for the development of children, such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and folates;
  • It is not recommended for children to be vegetarian at the weaning age;
  • Food containers (cups, glasses, spoons) for children must be washed. Wash children’s hands before eating.
  • Consult a medical nutritionist or a dietician if your child has some issues such as malnutrition, obesity, allergies, malabsorption, etc. 


ProteinParticipating in the construction of the structure and regeneration of the body’s tissues

Involved in immune responses and is a component of immune cells

Protein from plants: beans, tofu, mushrooms,

Protein from animals: fish, chicken, meat, eggs, milk

FatJoin the structure of nerve cells

Helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K)

Increases the energy density of food, making food more delicious

Maintain body temperature

Vegetable oils (walnut oil, canola oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, margarine (unsalted)
Sugar powderThe primary source of energy for the body

Involved in the formation of cells and tissues of the body

Rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, noodles, vermicelli, pho, spagetty noodles, …
IronCreate red blood cells

Helps maintain normal immune system function

Beef, pork, liver, poultry, fish, legumes (peas, soybeans, lentils,),

Shellfish and seafood: oysters, mussels,..

ZincHelps maintain normal immune system function.

Promote body growth

Increase appetite in children

Fish, chicken, beef, pork, liver, eggs, lentils, milk, cheese

Shellfish and seafood: oysters, crabs, scallops,..

CalciumFormation of bones and teeth (size and stiffness)

Participate in the structure and activity of neurotransmitters

Milk, cheese and yogurt
Vitamin AMaintain the integrity of the respiratory and gastrointestinal mucosa.Liver, egg yolk

Milk, cheese

Red and orange fruits and vegetables: oranges, tangerines, papayas, mangoes, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins..); dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, …)

Vitamin CBoost your child’s immune systemFresh fruits and vegetables like oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, guava, papaya, mango, apple, grape, kiwi, tomato, broccoli, radish, spinach, bell pepper, etc.
Vitamin DSupports the absorption and use of calcium, building bones and teeth for children

Supports the immune, digestive, circulatory and nervous systems

Fortify foods rich in vitamin D such as egg yolks, fish and vitamin D fortified foods (milk, cereals), etc.
FolateInvolved in the growth and division of cells in the bodyAnimal liver

Orange juice, strawberries, pears, watermelon, kale, spinach, greens, asparagus


Months oldNumber of meals/dayProcessing
0 – 6 monthsExclusive breastfeeding
6 – 8 months2 main meals

Breastfeed on demand

All starches, proteins, vegetables and fruits must be pureed, smooth (from liquid to thick).
9-12 months3 main meals

Breastfeed on demand

Grate, or mince, or mash with a fork
12 months3 main meals

1-2 snacks

Breastfeed on demand

The food is cut into small pieces and cooked very soft
23 months3 main meals

2-3 snacks

Food is cut into small pieces and cooked soft


0 – 6 months6 months9 months1-2 years old2- 3 years old
Breast milkExclusive breastfeedingxxx
Formula milkxxxx
Fresh milkxx

(fresh, soft, not moldy)

Milk scumx


StarchWhite rice, potatoesOats, Noodles, VermicelliBread, spagetty, corn, sweet potatoes, sticky riceWhole grains (brown rice, brown bread…)

Legumes (red beans, white beans, soybeans, lentils, etc.)

ProteinFreshwater fish, Lean meat (chicken, beef, pork), egg yolkEgg whites (from 7 months and up)Seafood (limited)Cold meat (ham, sausage, pate…), offal ( liver, kidney , intestines…) (limited)
FatVegetable oil (walnut, canola, sesame oil, soybean, grape seed, olive oil), (unsalted)Vegetable oil (walnut, canola, sesame oil, soybean, grape seed, olive oil), (unsalted)Vegetable oil (walnut, canola, sesame oil, soybean, grape seed, olive oil), (unsalted)Other fats (limited)
VegetableVegetables (Chinese lettuce, spinach, lettuce…), tubers (pumpkin, carrot, zucchini)Vegetables (Chinese lettuce, spinach, lettuce…), tubers (pumpkin, carrot, zucchini)All other vegetables (cooked)Soft raw vegetables
FruitApple, pear, mashed banana (peeled and cooked)Sweet, soft, seedless, diced fruit
like avocado, peach, mango, pear, grape, watermelon…
Seeded fruits (strawberries, kiwi and dragon fruit)Dried fruit and soft nuts
Sweet foodBaby cakes (limited)Other cakes, chocolate (limited)


DrinksBottled drinking water (low mineral content)Bottled drinking water (low mineral content)Fruit juiceFruit juice
SpiceDo not add salt, fish sauce, soy sauce to mealsDo not add salt, fish sauce, soy sauce to mealsSalt, fish sauce, soy sauce (<2g/day)

Sugar, jam, honey (<5g/day)

Non-spicy seasoning (limited)

Industrial sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup…) (limited)

Depending on the child, the timing of complementary feeding can start sooner or later. But it should not be started before 4 months or after 8 months.

FV Hospital’s medical nutritionists and dieticians can advise on an appropriate diet, choose nutritional supplements suitable for children’s conditions, and design menus. Individually for each child so that caregivers can prepare and cook at home.

You can book an appointment with doctors of FV Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, via phone number (028) 54 11 33 33, extension 1419.


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