Healthy Eating Habits & Role of Protein For Overall Growth
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Sep 22, 2020
Wholesome nutrition is of importance for a growing child. A balanced meal helps a child’s overall physical growth, perks up immunity, helps in mental growth and improves concentration. But, one of the biggest challenges most parents face is of being able to provide wholesome nutrition to their child.
A parent may often give into their child’s demand for certain foods that aren’t necessarily the healthiest but are the only ones the child finds appetizing enough to eat. The effects of a diet deficient in essential nutrients may not be evident immediately. However, its long-term repercussions are many, ranging from obesity, mental and emotional health concerns and many other chronic diseases.
How Do I Ensure That My Child Is Getting Adequate Nutrition?
Help your tiny tot embrace the habit of healthy eating with these tips. We promise you that mealtime will never be a difficult battle again. Here are a few tips to address your concerns about including amounts of nutritious foods in your child’s diet -
Interesting healthy food variations: We eat as much with our eyes, as we do with our mouth. Hence, one of the best ways to help your little one eat healthy is by making your dishes look appetizing. Expecting your child to enjoy a bowlful of green salad is as far-fetched a thought
- You can add fun variations to the child’s daily chapattis or sandwich by making smiley faces on it using veggies, fruits, dips and sauces
- Add delicious toppings and sauces to his mixed bean salad or wrap. If your recipe looks tasty, it’s half the battle won!
Role of protein for a growing child: Protein is essential for tissue and muscle growth, and inadequate protein can result in decreased growth, lesser muscle mass and weakening of the heart. A child deficient in protein can have a serious condition called kwashiorkor. Protein is built from building blocks called amino acids. A few amino acids (known as the essential amino acids) must come from food
- Animal sources of protein tend to deliver all the amino acids our body needs
- While many vegetarian sources like fruits and nuts have protein, they lack some essential amino acids. Hence, vegans and vegetarians need to eat different foods containing proteins to get the benefits of all amino acids
- Happy fruits and veggie shopping: Take your child grocery shopping. Ask to pick out fruits and veggies of choice and involve the child in the process of cooking. Let him help you with little tasks such as fetching ingredients, measuring water, and tasting. The more involved your child is in the whole process of choosing and cooking foods, the lesser are chances of mealtimes becoming a horror story. Your child is sure to savor a meal that he’s been actively involved in making. Read: 5 Food Habits for Child’s Focus & Retention
- Model healthy eating: Be your child’s role model. If parents munch on unhealthy food or guzzle caffeine-laden sodas, it will be difficult for the child to resist. It’s high time you start practicing what you preach your little one. The dietary habits that you enjoy go a long way in determining your child’s food preferences as well. It is important that both, you and your partner model healthy eating habits to set a healthy foundation for your child’s dietary selections
- Offer healthier snacks: Does your little one gulp down the munchies you offer him easily but has a hard time finishing his meals? Well then, it’s a great idea to break down his meals into smaller portions. Include healthy snacks like fresh fruit smoothies, fruits, lassi, trail mix, nuts and yogurt as snacks in between the meals. These snacks offer the perfect combination of nutrition and flavor, keeping your stress- free and your little one satisfied
[Helpful Read: Tips to Make the Child's Meal Interesting]
- Handle cravings: Balance is the key. While you encourage your child to be healthy, don’t completely disregard his cravings for an occasional cookie, hamburger or doughnut. When eaten in moderation, these foods won’t do any harm to your child. Sure enough, after all that healthy eating, your little one also deserves a treat once in a while
Don’t force it: – Forcing your child to eat something and denying him his favorite cravings may make him stubborn. Parents often make the mistake of forcing their child to finish their meals but doing this can further turn them against the idea of mealtime
- Understand your child’s appetite and don’t push him beyond his capacity. This can even backfire and lead him to the habit of overeating in the future, increasing his susceptibility to obesity
- Keep the portion sizes small and refill your child’s plate only when he asks for it
Have any diet tips for little ones, to share? Let us know in the comments section!
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