Parenting Food and Nutrition

Is it important to follow the food pyramid for Your Child?

Anurima
1 to 3 years

Created by Anurima
Updated on Sep 17, 2015

Is it important to follow the food pyramid for Your Child

I often wonder as to where my child gets the energy from to run around, jump and play constantly for hours after a full day at school. I have heard the same thought being echoed by my friends who have toddlers to keep them on their feet all day. We, as parents, may run out of energy, but on the other hand the little ones seem to have an endless supply of fuel! On the contrary, if there are days when my child is not aimlessly running around, I get worried and wonder if she is feeling well! (I am a mum what to do)

Children are curious and inquisitive little beings and need a supply of energy to keep them going on a day-to-day basis. This energy and strength come from eating a well-balanced meal. Nutrition for children is based on the same principle as that of an adult. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat and protein are the nutrients required by adults and children on a daily basis. The difference however, is that the nutritional requirements vary age to age and the amount largely depends on the child’s age. Parents and caregivers play a key role in making healthy choices for children and also teaching them on the importance of eating healthy. It is not always easy to make our children eat a well balanced diet especially when we deal with picky eaters, but knowing more about the suggested requirements and nutritional information can help figure out a way to get the essential nutrients into their diets.

What are the groups of food found in the food pyramid?

The food pyramid is essentially a food guide in the shape of a pyramid, which includes the healthy food in different coloured sections and the recommended intake for each of the groups. It is essentially a graphic guide to help us know what we should be eating every day.

The following are the food groups in the pyramid:

Grains: Grains are an integral part of our diet and provide energy, proteins, iron and fibre. The amount of proteins and energy varies with the type of grain. Whole grains are considered healthier than refined grains. They provide a combination of complex carbohydrates, water and fat soluble vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Examples of healthy grain choices include whole wheat bread, roti, rice, parathas, dahlia, oat flakes, oat meal, ragi and dosa.

Vegetables: Vegetables provide essential nutrients such as folate, antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, all of which protect the body against diseases. A colourful mixture of vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, spinach, brinjal and various gourds may be included in a diet.

Fruits: Fruits provides the body with a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, which protect the body against several diseases. Eating seasonal fruits or fruits such as apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes, pears, gooseberries, guavas are among the popular fruits with numerous health benefits.

Oils and Nuts: Oils and nuts provide the body with essential fat. Fat is a source of energy and helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Added fat such as ghee and butter may be limited to about 3 tsp per day. Nuts, oils, seeds and fish provide with the healthy fats- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are required by the body.

Milk and Milk Products: Milk and milk products are a source of calcium and other essential nutrients such as potassium, vitamin D and protein. Children and adolescents need an adequate amount of milk and milk products to maintain bone strength and density. Healthy choices of milk products include cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, lassi and the like.

Pulses, Fish and Meat: Pulses, fish and meat are a good source of protein. Fish also contains Omega 3, fatty acids, vitamins A and D, iodine and calcium, which are all essential nutrients required by the body. Pulses such as rajma, masoor dal, bengal gram, green gram, soya beans, moth, toor dal etc. are great source of proteins.

Why follow the food pyramid for your child?
In addition to ensuring that your children eat healthy, it is also essential to keep in mind that they follow a balanced diet. Encouraging your child to eat a variety of food and balancing his meals according to their physical activity and digestive capacity can do this.
A growing child requires a number of servings from each of the groups in the food pyramid.

Age Grains Vegetables Fruits Oil/Fat Dairy Protein

1

How much is one serving?

Grains:

• 2 Slices of bread ( Approximately 60gms)
• 1 Roti (Approximately 60gms)
• 1 Cup cooked Rice, Pasta or Noodles (Approximately 150gms)
• ½ Cup or 75gms Oat Flakes or Oat Meal

Vegetables:

• ½ Cup or 75 gms Cooked Vegetables
• 1 Potato
• 1 Cup or 150 gms of Salad Vegetables such as Lettuce, Cucumber, Tomatoes

Fruits:

• 1 Medium sized Apple, Banana, Pear, Guava
• 1 ½ tablespoons of Raisins, Dates

Milk and Milk Products

• 1 Cup or 250ml Milk
• 100gm of Curd or Flavoured Yogurt
• 1 Cup or 250ml of Lassi, Buttermilk

Pulses, Fish and Meat:

• ½ Cup or 75gms of cooked Lentils such as dal, rajma and soya beans
• 65-100 gms of cooked chicken or meat
• 8.-100 gms of fish
• 2 medium Eggs

Foods which contain excess fat, sugar and/or salt may be avoided as eating them too often may do more harm than good to a child’s health. Food such as chocolate, cookies, confectionary, soft drinks, fried and fast food do not have a place in the food pyramid as they are not needed to provide nutrients for normal growth and development. Hence, these foods may be had in moderation as an occasional snack/meal and in small amounts. 

How much calories does your child need?

Balancing your child’s diet also involves making sure that the child gets the sufficient amount of calories. Calories are a unit of measurement used to measure the energy provided by food. The calories required by a growing child needs to be approximately proportioned from the five groups of food in the pyramid.

The amount of calorie required varies from child to child and depends on factors such as age, gender and amount of physical activity. So a child who is more active will need more calories. For example, a child who goes for swimming or plays a sport on a regular basis will need more calories every day, versus a child who enjoys reading or prefers light activities. This is the reason why the requirements are suggested by providing a range of calories and a not particular number for each age group. 


The following table shows how much energy your child needs on a daily basis.


For Boys:

boys

For Girls:

girls

It is essential that a child receive good nutrition from an early age. By providing healthy meals, paying attention to portion sizes and inculcating good eating habits from a young age will ensure that your child’s immunity is strengthened; they stay healthy and gain weight appropriately.

 

 

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| Oct 29, 2018

thanks

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| Oct 29, 2018

thanks

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| Oct 13, 2018

Beautiful one.... Thank u so much

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| Oct 13, 2018

Beautiful one.... Thank u so much

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| Nov 27, 2017

thanks a lot for this wonderful blog

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| Nov 27, 2017

thanks a lot for this wonderful blog

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| Nov 27, 2017

thanks a lot for this wonderful blog

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| Nov 05, 2017

thank you very much Dr.

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| Oct 05, 2017

thnk u fr sharing helps me a lot

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| Oct 05, 2017

thnk u fr sharing helps me a lot

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| Oct 05, 2017

thnk u fr sharing helps me a lot

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| Sep 15, 2017

Thank u for shareing this usefull suggesion.

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| Aug 31, 2017

This is simply great. It can help many worried mothers like me who are unaware of proper food diet for their kids....... Thanks a lot

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| Apr 29, 2017

Thank you for this very useful article. I had d same worry that my child is getting enough nutrition or not. This info solved my doubts n I m going to follow food pyramid

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| Apr 29, 2017

thank you. Very useful info

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| Apr 29, 2017

very useful information.. thanks a lot

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| Apr 29, 2017

very informative thank you so much..

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| Apr 29, 2017

very nice information. ..thanx a lot

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| Apr 29, 2017

thanks.... very useful information

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| Apr 29, 2017

thanx for sharing

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| Apr 29, 2017

thanks

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| Dec 29, 2016

Thanks a lot. Extremely useful.

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| Jul 17, 2016

very helpful

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| Jul 16, 2016

Thnku it's very helpful..

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| Mar 07, 2016

Thanx ..very helpful

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| Dec 15, 2015

It's really helpful. Thanks for the article.

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| Dec 15, 2015

my baby is 6 months old and his weight is 6 kg. what should i add his diet for increase weight. pls suggest.

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| Dec 14, 2015

Gt to know so many things.. Really helpful. thanks

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| Oct 29, 2015

this is really very good article.. thanks for sharing all the etails as all the parents are confused about that what to give and how much to give.

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| Oct 22, 2015

Very useful....

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| Oct 19, 2015

Nicely detailed

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| Sep 17, 2015

Very useful information. . Thanx fr sharing

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| Jul 01, 2015

Thanks for such an informative blog and looking forward for more

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| Jul 01, 2015

Very informative arunima.... Thanks

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| Jan 19, 2015

Thanks for sharing such information

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| Jul 04, 2014

Hi arunima, amazing article. Very useful n to the point info.

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| Jun 30, 2014

Once again a very informative blog Anurima. Thanks for sharing! :)

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| Dec 10, 2013

Quite informative..

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| Sep 16, 2013

Very informative article. But if the child does not eat vegetables and fruits, pl. share your views

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| Jun 12, 2013

Thanks a lot Anurima.... very elaborately article... very useful.

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| Jun 11, 2013

Thanks Anu for sharing such a useful information

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| Jun 11, 2013

Thanks Anu for sharing such a useful information

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| Jun 07, 2013

thanks for this useful info.... as moms we are always worried if our kids are eating enough and is it nutritious... this food pyramid really helps.

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| May 13, 2013

really very informative... I was always worried of how 2 decide how much my 22 months boy needs... Thanks 4 answering it sooo nicely

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| Apr 04, 2013

wow, great article, thanks!

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| Apr 03, 2013

Thank you all for your kind comments. Writing a blog like one of these is a learning experience for me too.

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| Apr 03, 2013

hey Anurima, this is a whole lot of important information.. a very catchy title indeed which is what got me interested in the first place.. thanks for this.. answers a lot of questions.. !

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| Apr 02, 2013

very informative article and essential to know too

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| Apr 01, 2013

Very informative article Anurima.

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| Mar 30, 2013

Thanks for sharing this...

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