Nutrition Requirements Of Children With Higher Activity Levels
Created by Preeti Updated on Nov 15, 2018
A child’s overall growth and development depends largely on their food intake. It’s important for parents to ensure their child gets a diet that provides all the necessary nutrients that are required to match the activity levels of the child. What’s a nutrient-dense diet you may ask? Here is help - nutrients are broadly divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats and are required in larger quantities. Cereals, pulses, tubers, etc. are rich in macronutrients. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals which are required in smaller quantities. Milk, fruits, vegetables, green leafy vegetables, dry fruits, non-vegetarian foods, etc. are good sources of micronutrients that are needed for your child’s healthy bones, skin, eyes, and brain development.
Pre-school children grow rapidly and have higher activity levels and nutrient requirements. However, due to their small tummy capacity, they cannot eat enough to obtain all the necessary nutrients from their regular meals. Traditional food prepared at home usually consists of cereals, roots, and starchy fruits, which provide energy but may not fulfil the protein requirements. Secondly, only vegetarian or plant-based complementary foods may not sufficiently fill the nutrient gaps in your child’s diet. Therefore, it is important that you introduce nutrient-dense foods at this stage to ensure that your child gets all the macro and micronutrients that will help bridge the nutrient gap.
Choosing nutrition dense food allows these small portions also to provide a good amount of nutrients. Examples of protein packed foods include 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 yoghurt 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.
List of Important Nutrients For Preschooler With Higher Activity Levels
Calcium is an important ingredient for bone mass development, nearly all of which is built during childhood and adolescence. It is essential to get your child eat calcium rich foods, which are also rich in vitamin D that strengthens bones too.
2. Vitamin E:
A lot of pre-schoolers are missing out on their regular doses of vitamin E. Fat-free
and low-fat foods, which tend to be low in E, a vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. Best sources of vitamin E are nuts, avocados, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, spinach, tomato sauce and so on.
Though not digested, fibre is essential for children. Enabling your child to eat fibre-rich food now will protect them from a variety of digestion related disorders in the later stages of life. Children get a generous amount of fibre from consuming breakfast cereals. It is ideal for a child to have at least one fibre rich food every day.
4. Vitamin A, C & D:
Children these days are getting about less amount of Vitamin A, C and D in
their diet as their consumption of fruits and vegetables have become low. Vitamin A promotes a healthy immune system and prevents eye problems, while the Vitamin C is important for healthy bones and it helps the body absorb Iron. Lastly, Vitamin D helps the body absorb bone-building calcium. All of these are key players that ensure a healthy body and mind.
Low iron is common among overweight children. Iron deficiency can lead to learning
and behaviour problems. The calorie intake for such children could be high but their diet may lack the required nutrients. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells throughout the body and plays a role in brain development. Some of the natural sources of iron include leafy vegetables like spinach, silver beet, broccoli; and beans, nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruits, etc.
As your child grows, there is an ever increasing demand of energy-rich and nutrient-dense food intake to match the sort of activity level they happen to be in. To supplement the regular food, I also introduced cereals for my son. He likes Ceregrow and I’m happy as far as he likes the taste. This cereal has Vitamin A, C, D, calcium and protein that help in overall growth & development. My son looks forward to meal time, which wasn’t a case earlier! Happy until it keeps meeting my super- active son’s nutrient requirements.<
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