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Nutrition For Kids: Guidelines For A Healthy Diet

Contributed by Harleen Kaur

Introduction 

Children’s bodies grow as they do. During their growing up years, they in fact need more nutritious foods than adults, foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals in order to maintain and support their developing bodies. 

It becomes a task to feed your child with nutritious food as children can act fussy and be very picky. 

A range of fresh foods from the five food categories is included in a healthy diet for school-age children, including:

Fruits

Vegetables

Grains

Low-fat dairy

Protein

Your child’s body requires certain nutrients from each food category to develop and function effectively. We must thus consume a variety of meals from all five dietary categories.

Protein intake 

Protein plays an essential role in many bodily functions, including the recovery and repair of tissues in the muscles, skin, organs, blood, hair and nails. Of the 20 amino acids that make up protein, the body can produce 11; the other 9 must come from food. It is important therefore to include an adequate protein diet for them that can be found in seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Fruits and vegetables

Your youngster gets energy, vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, and water from fruits and vegetables. These vitamins and minerals aid in preventing your child from developing problems later in life, such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Encourage your child to have fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. This will also help them to identify the variety of colours, textures, and flavours. It is also advised that every fruit must be washed to remove any dirt or chemicals, but any edible skin should be left on because it is nutrient-rich.

Grain products

Bread, pasta, noodles, morning cereals, couscous, rice, corn, quinoa, polenta, oats, and barley are examples of grain foods. These foods provide kids with the energy they require for learning and growth.

Your child will have more energy boost from grain foods with a low glycemic index and they’ll help your little one to feel fuller for a longer time. 

Low-fat dairy products

Milk, cheese, and yoghurt are essential dairy products. These meals are excellent providers of calcium and protein. Try to provide your child with a variety of dairy products every day, such as milk-based drinks, cheese slices, and yoghurt bowls.

Dairy products containing reduced fat are safe for children over two years old.

But it’s always advisable to check with your child’s paediatrician before giving him any milk substitutes. 

Avoid sugary drinks 

Limit your child’s intake of juice and cold drinks which can have as much sugar equal to | one small glass per day. It is therefore recommended that they should stay away from sugary beverages like sodas, fruit drinks, and sports drinks because they are high in calories and lack essential nutrients. Sugar-filled beverages can cause weight gain over time and raise the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions at an early age. 

Final thoughts 

The well-being of your child is one of the many aspects of parenting that need extra attention and care. It is important for a child to follow a balanced diet so that they get an adequate amount of nutrition. For this it is advised to limit the number of processed foods, added sugar, saturated fats, and other items your young ones consume.

Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. One-third of the food children consume is at school so it is important to make them a nutrient-dense lunch which has a variety of foods including protein, carbohydrates, dietary fibres, vitamins and minerals. This helps the child to have a healthy body and mind. A balanced diet keeps the immunity strong and the child active so that they can grow at the right pace. 

Furthermore, you should also undergo preventive health checkups. These health checkups give a complete report about your health, allowing you to take necessary precautionary measures to improve your well-being and keep a host of ailments at bay.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q1.  What nutritional advice is recommended for a healthy child?

Ans.

A balanced diet and exercise programme, as well as a healthy lifestyle, are the keys to proper nutrition. The five major food groups—grains, dairy, protein, veggies, and fruit are often a good place to begin when putting together a child’s diet.

Q2.  What is a healthy lifestyle for a child?

Ans.

You can encourage your child to live a healthy lifestyle mostly by eating well and being active. Consuming lean protein foods, such as dairy, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet. It also involves refraining from foods high in fat, sugar, and fast food.

Q3.  What should a child eat daily?

Ans.

Your child needs to be fed at least a couple of servings daily from each of the five main food groups: grains, healthy fats, fruits and veggies, dairy, and protein. 

Q4.  Why is children’s nutrition important?

Ans.

For optimal growth and development as well as the prevention of numerous health disorders, children and adolescents should eat healthily.

Q5.  What are the 3 advantages of good nutrition?

Ans.

Early childhood nutrition has three key advantages: it boosts a child’s ability to fight off infectious diseases, promotes healthy brain and other organ development, and enhances their level of activity and mental skills.

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