Understanding The Nutrition Requirements For Your Child
Created by Ankita Gupta Updated on Nov 30, 2018
Good nutrition is important for your child’s healthy growth and development. 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.
Food and nutrients play an important role in development of children. These include healthy grains (wheat, ragi, oats, millet), milk and milk products (cottage cheese, yogurt or substitutes for lactose intolerant children) to cater the calcium requirements, fruits and vegetables.
For preschool and school-aged kids, the mantra is ‘variety’. Healthy eating habits are also inculcated during this time only. Normally, 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 with very little proteins. Only vegetarian or plant-based complementary foods may not sufficiently fill the nutrient gaps in your child’s diet.
Let’s Look into Some Basic Needs of Children
DAIRY PRODUCTS - At least 250ml of milk and yogurt should be taken. For lactose intolerant children adequate supplements should be given. Calcium helps in transport of proteins across the cell membrane in brain and also acts as a messenger. Calcium is needed for good brain functioning and better reflexes.
VEGETABLES - A quantity of nearly 2 bowls of vegetables especially seasonal and green leafy, raw or cooked, should be given every day. Vegetable caters to fulfilment of various minerals and vitamins, fibers for healthy development of both mind and body of your child.
FRUITS - One medium sized seasonal fruit should be taken every day as a midday snack or evening snack. Children should be encouraged to take fruits as snack rather than fried or packaged food. You could also try and use fruits as toppings to various cooked food throughout the day, for your child.
PROTEIN - They are the building blocks of your child’s body. High quality protein includes legumes, nuts, eggs, lean meat. Proteins are essential for clear thinking, concentration and learning.
WATER - Brain is 75% water and it helps in focusing better, creativity, and thinking clearly. Also, water helps in transporting nutrients and removing toxins. Hence 6-8 glasses of water are must for your child.
HEALTHY FAT - Healthy fat includes monounsaturated fatty acid from plant oils like olive oil, peanut oil and avocados and nuts (almond, hazelnuts, peanuts) and seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin, sesame seeds) and polyunsaturated fatty acids include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish, salmon, corn, soybean, flaxseed oil. They help in the brain functioning as well as are sources of energy for your child.
It’s important that the food intake of your child is packed with nourishment of multigrains, goodness of milk, assortment of fruits, vitamins and minerals. Introducing cereals is a great way to meet some of these requirements. I found Ceregrow to be good as my child loves its taste. Ceregrow is a nutrient-rich cereal packed with 15 vitamins & minerals assuring nutrition with every bowl – meaning that the macro and micronutrient requirements of your growing child will be met.
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