Kid’s Nutrition: 5 reasons for Poor Nutrition

Kid's nutrition

Why is Kid’s Nutrition so important?

Taking care of kid’s nutrition from early years itself is very important. This not only keeps their present active but also ensures a dependable and disease-free future. What are the benefits of eating nutritious food? Nutritious and healthy diet has many benefits for children: improves mental health, stabilizes energy, builds immunity and prepares the body against diseases. You can easily develop healthy eating habits in your children from their childhood. This can be the best gift you can give them for their better tomorrow.

Also check, Healthy eating for children?

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5 Reasons Why kids are not getting enough or proper nutrition?

Less adult supervision: 

Life is too fast today. Children and families have busy schedules and it becomes really hard to prepare or sit down to wholesome homemade meals everyday for all working parents. In this scenario, any kid’s nutrition involves a lot of packaged, ready to eat and takeout food. More often than not, these foods will be laden with unnecessary ingredients like preservatives, unhealthy saturated fats, trans-fat and refined flours. When consumed regularly, they can have a negative effect on your child’s health, and some problems can continue into adulthood too. 

Expensive options:

Families are not able to regularly afford the new range of organic or natural foods available in the market. This results in families settling for cheaper, locally available (not necessarily fresh) options. Research shows that food items stored in the warehouses or grown with unnatural methods often lack minerals and vitamins. As a result of this, kids often face deficiencies in their nutritional intake thereby impacting health directly. 

Also check, How is organic food beneficial for your health?

Children are picky eaters:

A major reason why kids are not getting proper nutrition is that nowadays kids are very picky or choosy about their food and eat only selective foods. All the efforts of mothers in cooking a wholesome meal goes in vain when kids only select a few of the dishes or eat in very less quantity. This deprives them of the important nutrients which are available in a variety of foods.

Also check, How can you give nutrition to kids without changing their habits?

Addiction to junk food:

Kid’s love for junk food has increased many folds in the past two decades. This makes a parent’s job of feeding nutrition to kids all the more difficult. Consuming pizza, burgers, pasta, chips, cookies, maggi and other packaged food on a regular basis deprives kids from eating healthier foods and the high sodium content in junk food affects their health in a bad way.

Also check,How junk food affects your child’s health?

Lack of knowledge:

Kids of different ages have different nutritional requirements according to their activity levels. If parents are not well informed about balanced meals and benefits of good nutrition on their children’s health, then even though they are cooking fresh meals at home, the meals might be lacking proper nutrition by not including foods from all food groups. 

What comprises A nutritious or healthy diet for kids?

A nutritious diet plan must provide all the essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water in the required amounts. Requirements of essential nutrients vary with age, gender, physiological status and physical activity.

Why is balanced diet important for children?

Kid's nutrition
Balanced Diet Chart
RDA for macronutrients and minerals
Kid's nutrition
Balanced diet chart
RDA for vitamins
Carbs are important part of kid's nutrition
  • CHOOSE GOOD CARBS: Fibre, starches and sugar are very essential food for healthy diet that body turns into glucose to give energy to function. Carbs that take time to digest and have fibre in them are complex carbs which are found in naturally existing fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. They keep you full for much longer. The other is the simple carb which digests quickly are found in milk, milk products, fruits, refined sugar (like cakes, cookies, candies, canned fruit juice and soda). These refined sugars lack the important vitamins, minerals and fibre and impact the body in adverse ways when consumed in large quantities. (Foods good for allergies in kids?)
Kid's nutrition
  • SPECIAL ATTENTION ON PROTEIN PACKAGE: Protein package includes fats, carbohydrates, vitamin, minerals and other nutrients that come along with protein. Protein makes up building blocks of organs, muscles, skin and hormones. Our body needs protein to maintain and repair tissues. Meanwhile, children need it for proper growth in their early years too. Fish, poultry, nuts, beans, are best choices. A balanced protein rich breakfast is always great for children to start their day. It helps them stay full for longer ideas and hence protein is a must for proper child nutrition. ( How to add protein to your diet?
kid's nutrition starts at early age
  • CONSUME GOOD FATS: Limit foods high in saturated fat and avoid trans fat. Nuts, avocado, seeds and fish are the healthiest sources of unsaturated fat. It is good for eye, bones and mental health of child, helps to boost brain and nervous system development, and strengthen the immune system. Encourage your child to eat all these good fats that support kid’s nutrition. (Foods and remedies for cough?)


food for healthy diet
kid's nutrition
vitamins & minerals
  • ADD VITAMINS AND MINERALS IN DIET: Vitamins and minerals help us to grow, to form bones, muscles, for eyesight, for skin and organs and most importantly help us to fight against infections by building immunity. Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to severe issues related to health. The best way to ensure that your child is getting enough vitamins and minerals for proper growth and development is to provide them with five food groups (fruit and vegetable, complex carbs, dairy, protein and fat).
milk is an important part of healthy diet
  • CALCIUM IS IMPORTANT: It is really important to get strong bones and teeth and we get chance to build them only once – throughout childhood and adolescence. Children who get enough amount of calcium in childhood start their adult lives with the strongest bones possible. Bones which are made only till mid 20s have to last us a lifetime. Mostly calcium is stored in bones and teeth where it supports their structure and hardness, but the body also needs calcium for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. Calcium is predominately found in milk and milk based products like cheese. And is also found in dark greens and in smaller quantities in some nuts and seeds. (Should kids take whey protein?)
a nutritious diet plan
kid's nutrition
balanced diet
Indian Thaali


water is important part of kid's nutrition
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush our system of waste products and toxins, helps with essential nutrients and keeps the body energized. It can also be mixed with some herbs for added benefits. (Summer drinks for kids?)

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Nutrition tips for Toddlers

Toddlers between the age group of 1 to 3 years go through a lot of developmental changes. It can often get challenging for parents to feed them healthy food and manage daily nutrition. There aren’t any strict rights or wrongs however there can be certain choices that can make the mealtime pleasant for both the child and the parent, while keeping it nutritious too. These nutrition tips for toddlers can help.

which nutrients are most important?

Toddlers need roughly 1000 calories a day. Healthy food for toddlers must be packed with nutrients, namely some key ones like calcium, vitamin C, D, Iron (which are mostly found deficient too!) within those limited calories. For instance, handing over a cookie with 100 calories will take away your chance of feeding Iron to your child through a bowl of spinach soup. One nutrition tips for toddlers is to replace junk food with healthy food. Certain informed choices will have to be made to ensure that the calories are full of quality in the early years. (How iron deficiency affects child?)


Toddler years are a time of growth and development and protein plays an important role during this phase. Whey protein for child especially toddlers also has its benefits. Whey protein for toddlers can be made at home with the left-over fluid when yogurt is curdled. (How whey protein helps?)

WHY No Sugar for toddlers?

Another important nutrition tips for toddlers is to avoid sugar. Studies suggest that you should give no sugar for toddlers under 2 years of age.. The reasons for which sugar should be avoided are mentioned below:

  •  Calcium combines with phosphorus to make calcium phosphate which is the most important component for our bones. When sugar is consumed, there is an acid that’s released in the body. In order to balance this acid, calcium is extracted from the bones resulting in weaker bones and easy fractures.
  •  Vitamin D assists in absorption of Calcium by the bones. Consumption of sugar increases an enzyme that degrades vitamin D. And thereby results in reduced absorption of calcium by the bones. Double whammy! 
  • Vitamin C helps to make collagen and also delays the decaying process of bones. Sugar intake restricts the absorption of this vitamin into our body cells resulting in weaker bones. 
  • Magnesium works on keeping the bones strong. Sugar strips the body of magnesium too by releasing it out through urine.


Toddlers are busy growing and crossing new milestones. Along with their body, their observation and admiration is also increasing and feeding healthy food for toddlers becomes more important. They are trying and accepting new food flavors. As a parent, it is imperative to present healthy food options which are not detrimental to the child’s growth, mainly bones. A study states that kids in India (and worldwide) tend to consume double the recommended limit of sodium in their diet. When sodium intake becomes too high, the body gets rid of sodium via the urine, taking calcium with it, which depletes calcium stores in the body resulting in weaker bones. Every bite matters and should be chosen wisely! That is why no salt for toddlers is advised.

Other important nutrition tips for toddlers to keep in mind:

(1) various textures and tastes:

nutrition tips for toddlers
introduce various textures and tastes
  • The sooner the transition from baby food to family food happens, it not only makes the life of the parent much easier but also prepares the child to try varied textures and tastes. Early introduction of healthy food is necessary for growing kids. Nutrient deficiency can directly impact digestion, bones and brain development of the child. Hence, every bite the child takes should be loaded with goodness (and taste!) (Baby’s first foods?)

(2) Food format Matters:

nutrition tips for toddlers
food format matters
  • For ideal nutrition intake, we should serve a variety of healthy food for toddlers preferably in the format he or she loves to eat. It is not only liberating but also time saving for the parents to share the same meal with the child as he/she is eating. It is observed that it’s not the healthy food that makes a child fussy but the food format. If a child is given healthy food in his/her favourite format in their early years, then they learn to eventually pick up and enjoy those vegetables, fruits and nuts without much fuss. For example, if a child loves fries, then baking sweet potato or carrot fries with favorite seasoning is a no brainer. It a kind of co win situation, combination of taste and health.

Check here: Kids notice the format of food and not the food

(3) healthy eating habits:

nutrition tips for toddlers
kids tend to copy parents
  • Kids do as their parents do. They copy! Sharing and eating appealing, tasty healthy food with the child, makes the whole process of feeding not only simple but also pleasant. Mostly food preferences are formed early in life. Hence, onus is on the parent as to what options does he/she serve to the child. Serving healthy food for toddlers or child-friendly food will most likely make the child habitual to less spice, easy to chew, limited food options. These habit forming preferences only become firmer with age resulting in either higher consumption of processed food (like cookies, fries etc) or a separate meal preparation at home (which can get frustrating eventually). (Why junk food should be avoided?)

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