It is a concern for every parent from the very first day of our parenthood that our children gets adequate amount of nutrition every day. Children need nutrition for healthy physical and mental growth. Eating whatever is handy may not provide the required amount of nutrition to the body. Therefore parents should focus on food charts and sources of nutrition while adding food to their kid’s platter.
Requirement of nutrition in kids is as similar as in adults, the basic difference is quantity. It is important to know that under or over consumption of even healthy foods can also create health hazards. Our body requires a daily dose of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats for maintaining a healthy body. All these nutrients are gained from different sources of food that we consume daily. Let’s find out the sources.
Proteins- Food like lean meat, egg, sea foods, beans, peas, soy products, dairy products and lenticels are good source of protein. It is said that only one type of food cannot provide required protein for growth and development in children. So it is advisable to combine sources of protein to make it more effective.
Fruits and vegetables – fruits and vegetables contain dietary fiber, essential vitamins and other nutrients. It is very important to include fresh fruit and vegetables in your kid’s diet regularly. Fruits and vegetables like carrot, sweet potatoes, apricot, spinach and kale are rich source of vitamin A. papaya, berries, broccolis are rich in vitamin B. Dark green leafy vegetables should be added to kids diet along with more colorful vegetables like colored bell pepper, pumpkin, eggplant and broccolis. Fruits and vegetables also provides dietary fiber which helps in cleaning bowel movement and improves hemoglobin percentage and over all heart health.
Grains- we all know how popular is pasta and noodles among children. You have to play the tricks by changing white rice to brown rice, packaged breakfast cereal to oatmeal or quinoa. White bread to whole meal bread etc. Make their favorite dishes with healthy ingredients. For example make pizza with whole meal bread base and add toppings like fresh vegetables and lean meat like chicken. Use wheat noodles in place of refined flour noodles which will add fiber to their food and will be easy to digest with other benefits. Make soups with vegetable stock and chicken to make it tastier. Make burger with whole meal bread along with freshly cut cucumber, carrot and other vegetables.
Few things to keep in mind while buying food for children:
No added sugar or preservatives: read the labels on food packets. Avoid any kind of sugary product such as drinks or any other packaged food which is rich in sugar and preservatives. It creates trouble in long run.
Low salt food: make it a habit of adding less salt to your child’s food on a daily basis, lower intake of salt avoids risks of high blood pressure. Avoids fried foods and salted nuts.
No to saturated fats and transfers: Say no to saturated fats and Tran fats. These harmful fats make a place in our body and kids are highly affected with these unhealthy fats which may result in unnecessary weight gain among kids. Food like chips, French fries are rich is saturated fats and trans fats. Whereas healthy fats are good for kids to maintain their daily energy level.
Make a healthier choice yourself: “charity begins at home”. Let’s focus on this proverb. A healthy eating habit is developed among kids by their parents. It is important for the parents to practice healthy eating habit as kids learn from us.
Try new foods and new dishes every day to make the whole process exciting: trying new recipes or presenting the old one in a new style excited children. Inclusion of colourful vegetables and fruits, cutting of fruits and vegetables in different shape and adding an imagery view to their platter always excites kids. Remember kids will always run away from essential nutrients but we must try regularly to give them the best that their body and mind need for their overall growth and development.