Fit, Smart & Happy! The Promise of Micronutrients to your Child
Created by Harlene Bhasin Updated on Jun 21, 2021
Most parents make the mistake of feeding their children with a diet rich in macronutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and evaluate the value of a meal or their child’s daily intake based on these three food components. While macronutrients form the basis of a diet, it is equally important to feed your child “micronutrients”.
Micronutrients, like the name suggests, are nutrients that a child needs but in small quantities. However, these micronutrients make a big impact on the well-being of a child. A deficiency can cause growth and development issues, physical weakness, lethargic mind, irritability, weight and skin issues, low immunity, low bone density… and so on.
Just to give you an example you are bound to feel easy when your child eats his/her two roties at lunch and dinner, but the fact that s/he has barely finished a bowl of mixed veggies is something to worry about – on a regular basis, poor intake of veggies can easily lead to a deficiency of Vitamin A and Iron (micronutrients).
While there are many types of micronutrients, I have shortlisted the “5 treasures of health” here, that are a must for every growing child: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium and Zinc. These five have a crucial role to play in your child’s body and at times normal home food is not enough to make up for the daily requirement – in such cases, health food drinks can help cover the gap. Here are some benefits and sources:
Vitamin A is needed for the development and maintenance of healthy skin, eyes and immune function. Foods that are rich sources of vitamin A include yellow and red vegetables, milk, cheese and eggs.
Vitamin D is needed for the development and maintenance of healthy bones, teeth, muscles, and immune function. The primary source of vitamin D is the sun, and so outdoor day activity is essential for growing children.
Iron is needed for the formation of healthy blood cells, and has a role in transporting oxygen around the body – in turn it keeps the child’s energy levels on an even keel. Good sources of iron for children include meat, dark green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.
Calcium is required for the growth, development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and also has important roles in nerve and muscle functions. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soya.
Zinc is a must for healthy growth and development, and normal neurological and immune function. Good sources of zinc for children include beef, pork, chicken and yogurt.
During my consultations, I often give this analogy to parents: In a growing child's life, micronutrients play the role akin to a movie director who stays behind the scenes, but who eventually plays a decisive role in a film’s box office success. So be it through diet or through health food drinks such as Horlicks – which contains all the above micronutrients – do ensure that your child is getting these micronutrients on a daily basis. That glass of milk with Horlicks decides your child’s bone health and immunity not only because of the calcium but also because it contains Vitamin A and Vitamin D absorbing properties. So do the food sources, as mentioned above.
Ensuring that your child meets the daily micronutrient requirement will help his/her to be a cut above the rest. They will be healthy and fit which will ensure their success in all fields of life. Quite simply put – they will be more productive since they will have the energy to meet their daily challenges, be it studies or sports.
Did you find the information shared by our clinical nutritionist, Harlene Bhasin, useful? Are you likely to pay more attention to your child’s need for micronutrients? Do share (in the comments section below) – your learnings and experiences may help fellow parents achieve more of their child
Disclaimer: This is an awareness drive powered by Horlicks to emphasise the importance of micronutrient’s in a child’s diet.
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