Child's General Health and Nutrition
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On August 13, 2019
A building is only as strong as its foundation; similarly, positive dietary habits incorporated in childhood lead to a healthy life ahead. Changing lifestyles, cooking practices, increased intake of processed and ready-to-eat foods, energy-dense foods and those with high sugar and salt content pose a serious health risk to your child.
As a parent do you wonder what can you do to improve the diet and attitude of your child towards food?
Here are a few simple health tips you can follow to provide a healthy diet and fulfil nutritional requirements of your child
- Give a balanced diet – A mix of carbohydrates - simple [ fruits, vegetables, sugar, milk] and complex [ cereals, grains, millets and pulses].
High amount of protein - Animal foods like milk, meat, fish and eggs and plant foods such as pulses and legumes. Adequate amounts of fat [butter, ghee, Vanaspati]. Vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Children need Energy-rich, body building and protective foods (milk, vegetables and fruits) for growth, development and to fight infections.
- Provide sufficient calcium – Though recommended dietary allowances [RDA] for calcium are about 600-800 mg/day, it is desirable to give higher quantities. Calcium rich foods include milk and milk products, curd, fox tail millet (Ragi), til and nuts etc. Encourage regular exercise as it reduces calcium loss from bones. 10–30 minutes of exposure to sunlight, several times per week produces vitamin D which helps in calcium absorption.
- Ensure your child eats plenty of vegetables and fruits – Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables and fruits are power house of minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and fibre. The Expert Committee of the Indian Council of Medical Research, recommends 300 g of vegetables (Green leafy vegetables: 50 g; Other vegetables: 200 g; Roots & Tubers: 50 g) in a day. In addition, fresh fruits (100 g), should be consumed regularly.
Give fruits and vegetables in various forms (curry, soups, mixed with curd, added to pulse preparations, rice and salad), wash them before cutting and don’t cut them in very small piece before cooking to preserve the nutrients.
- Ensure moderate use of edible oils and fats – Diets of young children and adolescents should contain about 30-50g/day of fats to provide high calorific diet for growth and development. Dietary fats can be derived from vegetable oils, vanaspati, butter and ghee. Substitute part of visible fat and invisible fat from animal foods with whole nuts. Eating fish [100-200gm/week] and whole eggs is recommended. Ready- to- eat fast foods, bakery foods and processed foods prepared in hydrogenated fat, use of re-heated fats and oils should be avoided.
- Encourage your child to maintain a healthy weight – by engaging in regular physical activity, eating small meals regularly at frequent intervals, cutting down sugar, salt, fatty foods, refined foods, and soft drinks.
- Track growth milestones as per age – This can be done by plotting growth charts with the help of qualified nutritionist.
- Increase water intake up to 1.5-2 litres/day or 11-12 glasses/day.
- No distractions like TV or Mobile or tablet while on dinner table.
- Serve small portions of food initially and then give more if they ask for more.
Your child’s stomach is small and eating healthy and nutrient dense food is especially important since it is at this stage most of the growth and development of the body occurs. Get in touch with a nutritionist to know how you can ensure a healthy and fit life for your child.