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.
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.
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.
Recommended dietary allowance for Indian kids as per National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad:
- 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?)
- 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?
- 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?)
- 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).
- 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?)
- DIET CHART: Make a diet chart and try eating several types of color vegetables (red, orange, green) legumes and others each week. Adding a variety of foods, keeps kid’s meals interesting, colorful and full of nutrition. While eating out or consuming packaged food items, be aware of what’s in your food. Eating healthy is fundamental to good health and well-being especially in the growing years. (Check 5 Ayurvedic herb and 7 nuts spread that takes care of daily nutrition of omega-3, protein, vitamins and minerals)
- WATER WATER WATER:
- 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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