Does getting your children to eat nutritious food feel like a battle? The healthier the food, the greater the challenge. Childhood nutrition is essential, while not letting them eat fast food and sweets is a whole different struggle.
Keep reading to know more about the importance of proper nutrition for children. This will help you set a stage for your kids to live a balanced and healthy life.
Role of nutrition in child development
At every stage of life, nutrition is incredibly important. A healthy diet is one of the important components required during children’s developing and growing stages. It helps build a firm foundation in the child that concerns cultivating the right eating habits right from childhood. The benefits of early childhood nutrition include; strengthening immunity against infections, ensuring the development of the brain and other vital organs, and improving cognitive function and activity levels.
How to improve child nutrition
Healthy foods contain nutrients that are necessary for the development of your children. Here are a few easy and quick ways to improve your child’s nutrition:
1. Eating a variety of food items
To give nutrition-rich food to your children, it is important to choose from various foods, especially from these specific five food groups: vegetables, fruit, dairy, proteins, and grain foods or cereals.
2. Focus on vegetables and fruits
Essential nutrients like fiber and vitamins are present in vegetables and fruits. However, children are mostly fussy about eating from this food group, so choose vegetables and fruits from different tastes, colours, and textures – the more the variety, the more your children will find something they like to eat.
3. Eating healthy snacks
If your child feels hungry between meals, encourage them to eat healthy snack items like vegetable or fruit salads or whole fruit, yoghurt, dry fruits, and roasted seeds or nuts.
4. Get them involved
Create a healthy food environment for your children and include them in food preparation. For example, ask your child to help with meal planning and shopping. Children love cooking, so when they are old enough, teach them quick & simple recipes for healthy meals.
5. Set a good example
Eating healthy yourself will encourage your child’s healthy eating habits. In addition, they will learn from you, and the best way to teach them is by setting an example yourself.
6. Limit junk foods
Limit the consumption of junk food options like fast foods. Fast food is not a healthy choice, as they often contain an excessive amount of saturated fat, salt, and sugar and are low in fiber and other important nutrients.
Childhood Nutrition Facts
Here are some interesting children’s nutrition facts that can help you better understand its importance in your child’s development and growth.
- Your children will need around 1000—1400 kcal each day. However, with an increase in age, the required calories also increase.
- Starting from the age of 6 months, the nutrition needs of your children are greater than breastmilk alone provides. Feeding children with soft foods from 6 months of age is the best way to prevent malnutrition & deficiencies.
- Children have the capability to self-regulate the calories they require during the day. They need calories just enough to maintain a healthy weight. So don’t overfeed them.
- Your children should be physically active for at least 30 to 60 minutes to avoid excessive weight gain.
- Nuts are a significant source of vitamins, fiber, good fats, protein, and fiber essential for your children’s development and growth.
- Leafy vegetables are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, and they help regulate digestion, improve bone health, and reduce the chances of major illnesses.
Why is good nutrition important for my child?
Keep in mind that healthy children are always active and better able to realize their full potential. In addition, proper childhood nutrition influences brain development, attention span, and behaviour. It plays a vital role in determining whether your child is at increased risk of cancer, blindness, memory loss, obesity, asthma, heart disease, and other later-in-life health problems.
Good nutrition during childhood sets the patterns and tone for lifelong wellness and health. A well-balanced nutritious diet will allow your children to reach their full growth potential, perform better at school and maintain high energy levels.
Child nutrition chart
It would be best to consider providing nutrient-dense food, including vegetables, grains, dairy, protein, fruits, etc., for your kids as this will define their energy level for the entire day and determine future body growth.
These are the things that should be included in your child’s nutrition chart :
- Give fresh fruits and vegetables and ensure that fruits are nutrient-dense and raw.
- Serve them with dark green beans and peas, and sprouts.
- Various types of grains should be given to prevent any nutrient deficiency.
- Low-fat drinks or fat-free drinks should be included in the diet. 100% pure juice or milk can shoot up your kids’ energy levels.
- Dry fruits should be given based on the growth and activity of kids.
- The diet should be free of fried food, including trans-fat and saturated fats that are harmful to health.
- Artificial sweeteners should be avoided.
- The entire day’s diet needs to be balanced to cater to your kids’ needs.
Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is necessary for your child’s development and growth. With a few changes and the right attitude toward food choices, you can make a big difference to your child’s nutrition.