Growth & Nutrition for Your Child: It takes two to tango
Created by Huda Shaikh Updated on Aug 05, 2021
When parents come to my clinic and talk about the concerns they have regarding their child’s growth, they are mostly concerned about height and weight. While each child has a different growth pattern, providing correct foods to your child during his/her growing year’s is essential to ensure that a child meets his/her growth potential.
Good nutrition reduces the risk of malnutrition, obesity – and not only that, it also reduces the risk of diseases like diabetes and hypertension at a later stage in their life. Good nutrition can protect your little one from illnesses, leading to proper growth and development. Just like adults require a proper balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) children too require different amounts of nutrients at different ages. For instance, breast milk is the best and sole source of nutrition during the first 6 months of your child’s life. Similarly, for a child in the age group of 3-9 years, there are three important nutrients. Let’s go through each of these in more detail…
Vitamin A is required for proper growth and development, strengthens the immune system and takes care of eye health. Vitamin A is found in foods like papaya, tomato, mango, bell peppers, green leafy veggies, carrots, sweet potato, fish, liver, carrots and melon.
Iron is responsible for building up a healthy blood circulatory system and improve cognitive abilities. Sources are lean meat, eggs, fish, liver, green leafy veggies, nuts and beans.
Iodine is required in order to prevent learning disabilities and delayed development in children. Sources are iodized salt, pineapple, dried prunes, strawberries, banana, boiled egg, fish and beans. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. Sources are milk, paneer, curd, cheese, buttermilk, almonds and soymilk.
In addition to above, here is a list of foods that will have a positive impact on your child’s growth…
Protein: Protein is required for the wear and tear of muscles, growth and for various enzymatic functions in the body. Opt for lean meats, eggs, curd, beans, paneer, beans and unsalted nuts for your child.
Fruits: Fruits are a storehouse of fiber and antioxidants which ensure that your child remains healthy and develops a strong immune system. Encourage your little one to consume a variety of fruits and at least two servings every day. You can include dried fruits like apricot, prunes and anjeer but restrict the quantity to only 2-3 max in a day. Opt for fruits than packed fruit juices as these contain added sugar and are devoid of fibre and essential minerals. It’s best to prepare fresh fruit juice at home. Vegetables: Just like fruits veggies also contain a good of fibre and antioxidants. Aim to give at least 2-3 servings and include a combination green, yellow, orange and starchy vegetables.
Wholegrains: At least 4-5 servings of wholegrains are recommended for growing children. Choose grains like wheat, ragi, oats, daliya, whole wheat bread and brown rice. Avoid maida and maida products.
Dairy: Encourage your child to have milk, curd, paneer and low fat cheese. To add to the nutritional value of milk, go ahead and add a tablespoon of Horlick’s Growth Plus, which contains beneficial nutrients essential for growth. Bonus: It makes the milk tasty too!
Foods to be avoided…
Sugar: Limit the consumption of sugar, by adding minimal amounts of the same in your child’s diet. Some examples could be brown sugar, corn syrup, honey and maple syrup. Avoid canned food as this is high in sugar or sodium.
Fats (saturated and trans fats): Avoid too much of red meat, chips, bakery items and oil-based sauces to your child’s diet. Opt for healthy fats (omega 3 and omega 6 and Vitamin E) which are found in olive oil, rice bran, canola oil, avocado, nuts, fish and olives.
| Oct 24, 2017
thanks for Sharing Huda Shaikh ! childhood years are very crucial for laying the foundation of a healthy body and development of immunity. Parents' biggest concern related to their child is how to catch up on lost growth. these tips would definitely come in handy . thanks again Ma'am!
| Oct 25, 2017
Hi Sakshi,Thank you for the question. Every child has a different growth pattern. Some gain weight easily however others take time. As stated in the article you need to add adequate amount of protein in the diet and ensure that your child is getting adequate nutrition from the diet itself. Add in 2 servings of fruits,at least a glass of milk,dal,pulses,boiled eggs (2),curd and ensure you give him a healthy and filling breakfast.
| Oct 25, 2017
Hi Saurabh,Agar uski aakhein paidaishi kamzor hain to thoda waqt lagega chashma jaaneme. Magar aap usko Vitamin A ki saare sources khilaeyye aur T. V,LAPTOP,IPAD aur mobile phone se dur rakhiya jitna ho sake. Iss cheez ka bhi khayal rakhein k usko barabar se nind mil rahi hai ya nahi.
| Oct 25, 2017
Hi Krishnakali,How old is your son ? Preferably you need to reduce the amount of sweets he has been eating. Gradually reduce the quantity and replace it with healthier alternatives like fruits,dried fruits,fruit yogurt,fruit pudding,rice pudding,rawa kheer,smoothies and you can use jaggery/dates/banana to sweeten the above.
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