Between the age of 2 to 12 years children grow fast and need to be fed right from the beginning. Food plays a vital role in the overall growth and development of children. It is required not only for their growing bones and muscles, but also to boost their brain-power. Basically, healthy food for child is not only for physical energy but for cognition, focus and memory also. Nutritious food for kid is the common concern among all the parents around the globe. What to feed them for proper growth and development is what worries the parents the most. Nutritious food for kid becomes more important when he/she starts going to school. This is primarily because, children spend 1/3rd of their time of the day in school. According to a research, most of the kids are deficient in important nutrients because of their food choices. This is a direct outcome of increased intake of processed and refined foods such as chips, cookies, pizza, burger, fries and carbonated drinks. These foods not only have zero nutritive value but also have an undesired impact on the health of the child.
We all make efforts to prepare or plan balanced diet for child, but what makes diet a balanced diet?
What all should Nutritious food for Kids contain?
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. It builds, maintains and repairs body tissues. It is made up of chemical “building blocks” called amino acids. Body uses amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes. It helps in growth of cells, boost metabolism and even strengthen the immune system. Nuts and seeds are rich source of protein and best food for child growth.(Easy protein foods to feed kids)
The body needs calcium to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions. Calcium is stored in bones and teeth in our body, where it supports their structure and hardness. The body needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every part of body. (Easy Calcium and Vitamin D foods for kids)
Carbohydrates are sugar molecules. Along with protein and fats, they are one of the three main nutrients found in foods and drinks. Body break down carbohydrates into glucose, which is the main source of energy for body’s cells, tissues and organs. (Weight gain foods for kids)
Fats are nutrients that provide energy to kids. Apart from supplying fuel for the body, it also helps the body to absorb some vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K, which are fat soluble and can be absorbed easily if taken with fat. (Saturated fat that is good for the body?)
Fiber, also known as roughage, is the part of plant based foods. It passes through the body undigested and keeps the digestive system clean and healthy. (Recipe of fiber rich meal for kids lunchbox)
Iron is a mineral that body needs for many functions. It is a part of hemoglobin, a protein which carries oxygen from lungs to other parts of body. It is also essential in providing energy for daily routine. Iron is vital for brain development too. (Iron rich spreads on apply on bread or paratha for kids)
Zinc is the second most important trace mineral after iron which is present in every cell. It is needed for the activity of over 300 enzymes that helps in digestion and metabolism. (Foods that can build immunity in kids)
Magnesium is a nutrient that body needs to stay healthy. It helps in regulating muscles and nerve function. It also supports immune system, bone health, improve mood, better sleep and concentration. (Magnesium rich food recipe for kids that they will enjoy)
Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte. It helps your muscles work and nervous system to function properly. It also regulates the balance of fluids in the body. (How to treat constipation in kids?)
Vitamin A is crucial for eye health. B Vitamins are essential for body’s various metabolic processes. It have a direct impact on your energy levels and brain function. Vitamin C helps in formation of red blood cells. It also helps to boost immunity. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin E is powerful antioxidant which helps cells fight off infections. It is important to maintain normal blood clotting as it help wounds to heal and keeps bone healthy. Vitamin K is the one who helps in that. (Some easy foods covering all the essential vitamins)
5 Nutritious foods for kid’s Growth and Development
Main dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are main source of calcium for small kids. Dairy foods are essential for the good health of kids and form an important part of a complete balanced diet. It is considered as healthy food for child to get strong bones and teeth. Dairy products also contain potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, riboflavin and other essential nutrients. There are many ways to include dairy foods to your kid’s diet, like in form of smoothies, cheese sandwich and fruit yogurt. (Nutritious summer drinks for kids to keep them hydrated)
Fruit provides vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and many phytonutrients (nutrients naturally present in plants), which helps kids body to stay healthy. Fruits being rich in antioxidants boost child’s immunity and gives sustainable energy. It also ensures kids healthy growth and development. High in fiber contents it aids in proper functioning of digestive system and thus prevents constipation. Fruits also provide a wide range of health- boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids. These qualities make them super nutritious food for kid. While planning a balanced diet for child fruits play important role. (Best fruits for teenagers and kids acne, hormones, stress)
Almost all vegetables are rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is considered as healthy food for child as it helps in enhancing immunity, keeps bowel movement regular, avoids constipation and promotes healthy growth and development. Vegetables improve kids gut health which promotes absorption of necessary nutrients for growth. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale helps in brain development of kids. It also helps in maintaining the energy level of kids throughout the day. (How to keep the nutrition safe while cooking vegetables?)
Whole grains are nutritious foods for kids as they are powerhouse of energy and rich in carbohydrates, protein, iron, fiber, iodine, magnesium, zinc, folate, riboflavin and vitamin E. All these nutrients help in overall growth and development of kids. Whole grains are a great way to start the day for a toddler or young child. They are nutrient- dense, energy rich foods which make them ideal food for busy school going children. They help to maintain energy level and feeling of fullness for longer. Whole grain includes wheat, bulgur, oatmeal, quinoa, corn, barley and millet. As it contains dietary fibers, it also helps to maintain digestive health and contributes in preventing constipation. (Recipe of whole grain and millet pizza)
Nuts and seeds
When we talk about nutritious foods for kids, nuts and seeds tops the list for children of any age. Nuts and seeds are among the best foods with protein to meet the daily requirement of the body. They are packed with antioxidants, protein, calcium, fiber, potassium, healthy fats like omega 3 and 6. Considered super healthy for brain development in children, nuts also help keep their immune system strong. It also aids in losing weight as it keeps kids feel full for long time. (Easy to feed veggies, nuts and seeds spreads)
Recipe: Biscuit Cake WITH HIDDEN NUTS AND HERBS
Let’s make every dish tasty and nutritious by ‘hidden’ nutrition of veggies, herbs and nuts.
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We know that preparing and feeding healthy foods everyday is a huge task. Even more tough when kids are picky eaters. Kids prefer certain foods and formats. It is not easy to feed kids bitter Ayurvedic herbs, variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds everyday.
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Let’s try to make every food a child wants to eat more tasty and nutritious with (hidden) veggies, herbs and nuts.
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