5 Nutrition Best Practices To Improve Your Child's Development
Created by Payal Updated on Feb 28, 2019
There is a strong relationship between nutrition, health, and learning. Nutrition in early years is linked to not just physical health but also to learning skills and academic performance in children. A proper balance of nutrients in this formative period is critical for brain development. [Check - What Should Be Child's Daily Meal Plan?]
Providing adequate nutrition through the various stages of childhood is an important parenting goal and can be quite a challenge. Children may be fussy, difficult to feed or may have strong likes and dislikes. Parents have to find a way around it. Of course, it is easier said than done! The tips below will help you plan your child’s meals well.
Tips to Help You Plan Child’s Meals Better
Here are 5 top nutrition tips for Optimal Development in children. Read on…
#1. Aim To Provide A Balanced Diet
A day’s meal should ideally have something from each of the three main groups - carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It should contain vitamins and minerals too. The carbohydrate should preferably be in the form of wholegrain chapatis or bread, whole-wheat pasta or oats. Protein-rich foods include meat, fish, eggs, and beans. Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and milk need to be consumed every day. Include healthy fats that are found in nuts, seeds, and whole milk products. Aim to give a wide range of seasonal fruits and vegetables; up to five portions a day. [Explore: Balanced Diet for Child's Complete Growth]
#2. Choose Foods That Are Nutrition Dense
Some children are fussy and eat small portions only. Choosing nutrition dense food allows these small portions to provide a good amount of nutrients. Examples of protein packed foods are seafood, lean meat, eggs, beans and soy products. Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh fruits rather than fruit juice. Boost your child’s nutrition by blending fruits like berries, mango, banana or apple with yogurt and/or milk. Serve as a snack between meals. You can also blend diced vegetables like carrots, spinach, beetroot, etc. into dishes like porridge, khichdi or soup. [Explore: How to Choose a Nutrition-dense Diet for Your Child]
#3. Avoid Junk Food
Aim to limit your child's calories from such foods as they have little nutritional value. Save sugary treats like cakes, cream biscuits and soft drinks for special occasions. These foods tend to be naturally high in undesirable saturated fats and salt. Limit fried food, crisps, packet snacks, etc. and try to replace them with healthier less oily, baked alternatives. Look for ways to replace saturated fat of poultry meat like sausages with that of nuts, vegetable oils, seafood which provide essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. [Explore: 10 Things Putting Your Teen On A Junk Food Detox]
#4. Quantity Of Food
Many parents worry that their child eats less quantity of food. Your child’s daily diet should include three main meals with two smaller nutrient-rich snacks in between. Serve age-appropriate portions to them. For example, a child in this age group would be fine with 2-3 glasses of milk a day. Do not let them fill up on large helpings of their favorite foods so as to allow space for healthier options.
#5. Work On Getting Your Child's Eating Habits Right
It is equally important to set the scene for healthy eating habits at a young age. Be a good role model. Set an example by eating healthy and together as a family at mealtimes. Use your imagination to encourage them to eat fruits and vegetables. Encourage physical activity for at least three hours every day and about 12 hours sleep. Stick to a schedule and avoid food bribes.
Disclaimer: This Blog is supported by Nestle Ceregrow. A child needs more nutrition than an adult. Each bowl of Ceregrow contains the goodness of grains, milk & fruits and makes up for the lack of sufficient nutrition. Follow Early Childhood Nutrition to learn more.
Calculated basis per kg body weight; ICMR 2010