A healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet is very much
essential for both physical and mental growth of a child. With markets flooded
with junk foods such as pizzas, burgers, wafers and everlasting commercials, it
really becomes very difficult to make them eat healthy food. Parents should teach their kids at the early stage
about the importance of healthy and nutritious food. Having, said that meal
time creates tremors for the parents, as children revolt any nutritious food
that is not tasty.
The daily requirement of calories differs on several factors,
age, sex, growth, and activity levels. For a two to four year girl or boy, the
energy requirement is around 1200 calories, where as the requirement of ten
year old girl may be around 1800 calories. Again the source of calories is also
very important and the intake should be as per the medically recommended quantities
of proteins, fibers, carbohydrates, dairy products, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
For instance, for a 1600 calorie energy requirement of a six year old active
boy child, 4 ounces of protein, 2 cups of vegetables and fruits, 5 ounces of
grains and 3 cups of dairy products are recommended.
What to Eat:
A balanced and healthy diet of children improves the
sharpness of mind and assists in overall physical growth. The balanced food
should essentially contain –
- Proteins: Sea foods, eggs, beans,
lean meat and nuts
- Fruits: Invariably every fruit is
rich in one or other vitamins or minerals. Though fresh fruits are the best,
frozen or canned are better options than the juices loaded with sugar.
- Vegetables: Similar to fruits,
vegetables also provide good intake of minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Green,
red, and orange colored vegetables are very good for health.
- Grains: Whole grains in the form of
whole wheat, oats, brown rice should be preferred than any other form of
- Dairy: Low fat milk or curd, soy
milk, yoghurts are very good for health. As a matter of fact, consumption of yoghurts
loaded with fruits relaxes mind and keeps stress at bay. For this very reason,
this food is advised by several pediatric nutritionists for children appearing
What Not to Eat:
An unhealthy food not only welcomes obesity and other related
diseases such as diabetes, but also makes the child’s mind dull and increases
the anxiety and stress levels. Following are few unhealthy options of food that
needs to be limited:
- Cakes and confectionaries
- Aerated drinks, artificial juices
- Pizzas, Burgers loaded with cheese
- Solid fats
- Deep fried snacks.
How To Do:
The real tough task of implementing the above suggestions can
be made comparatively easier by following the suggestions mentioned below:
- Eat together: Make the meal time
fixed, as the thought of sitting together creates a comfort zone and children
- Avoid restaurants: Home cooked simple
foods are definitely a healthier option for the family and makes the child to
realize the significance of food.
- Cook together: Involving kids in
shopping, packing their lunch, and preparing their meals go a longer way in
changing the kids’ conception about food.
- Teach them: Teach the kids to read
the label of the processed foods and explain the bad effects of added salt, sugar,
- Be creative: Whatever may be the
meal, make subtle changes in the design, and shape to attract the kids.
Kids prefer the food that is tastier; so make the home cooked
nutritious food tastier. It is very difficult to attract a kid with handful of
walnuts than with a pack of salted wafers. But the walnuts as part of toping of
smoothies will definitely bring smile across the kids face. Completely stopping
the tasty but unhealthy food to the children will increase the craving and the
art is to restrict them slowly.