Are you concerned about your kid’s eating habits? Do you feel that he doesn’t eat properly and are you worried that it may affect his health? Would you like to educate your little one about the various benefits of eating well and are looking for some more information on the same?
If you nodded along solemnly, you might want to read our post here. Here we look at the best and healthy nutrition for kids, why it is important, and the various supplements that you can add to his diet.
Why Is Nutrition Important For Kids?
What your kid eats today will greatly impact his health throughout his later and adult life. If your kid eats healthy and nutritious foods today, he will use the nutrients properly to quicken his development. It will help him in many ways, from being healthy and fit and feeling energetic to doing well in studies and have fewer problems overall.
Here are some of the benefits of proper childhood nutrition:
- Eating well and healthy will promote optimal growth and development.
- Eating healthy foods during the childhood years will help him prevent the occurrence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It will also help reduce your kid’s chances of developing chronic diseases in later years, such as diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer.
- If he eats well now, it will reduce his risk of getting affected with many diseases. Iron deficiency, which can lead to further health conditions, dental cavities, obesity, and osteoporosis are some of the health conditions that you can keep at bay.
[ Read: Ways To Get Kids To Eat More Vegetables ]
- Eating healthy will also greatly reduce his chances of contracting with various health conditions that can be a potential life threat, like a stroke.
- The right kind of nutrition will keep his energy balance in place. It means that he will have a healthy weight and will not suffer from issues with obesity and weight.
- It will also reduce his chances of contracting various cancers like cancer of the esophagus, prostate, stomach and colorectal.
- Eating a healthy diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will help him grow and develop well. Calcium will promote good bone health, and it will be good for his teeth and will also prevent bone loss in later years.
- Encourage him to eat a healthy and full breakfast on a daily basis. It will help him in various ways like help his problem-solving abilities, help in verbal fluency, improve creativity and strengthen memory. If your kid does not have a healthy breakfast, he is more likely to have problems at school as well as other behavioral and emotional problems.
- When your kid eats well, it will help him grow to his proper height and will allow him to reach puberty at the right time. Eating well will also prevent various health and developmental issues like dehydration, a delay or irregularity in monthly periods, the risk of suffering from eating disorders and more (1).
[ Read: Nutritious Foods For Kids ]
A Healthy Eating Nutrition Chart For Kids:
Here is a suggestion based chart that shows you what types of nutrients are important for your kid and in what quantity:
Your kid’s balanced diet should be a blend of proteins, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. It should also meet the daily caloric requirements of your kid’s body. About 50 percent of your kid’s caloric requirements should come from carbohydrates. About 20 percent of your kid’s caloric requirements should come from protein and about 30 percent from fats.
[ Read: Vitamin Chart For Kids ]
|Nutrition||Food Group||Recommended %|
|Carbohydrates||Cereals and grains, etc.||33%|
|Vitamins and Minerals||Various fruits and vegetables||33%|
|Meat Protein||Fish, meat, and eggs||12%|
|Milk Proteins||Dairy products||15%|
|Fat and Sugar||Fatty foods, sugary sweets, etc.||7%|
Here are some food examples along with the suggested serving size. The chart also suggests how many times you should give a particular serving each day. You can make a selection from one or two food items from each food category for your kid.
|Food Group||Foods Example||Serving Size||Daily Serve|
|Grains||RicePastaCerealBreadRollsWheat BiscuitNoodles||1 cup½ -1 cup½ -1 cup1-2 slices½ -1 roll1½ cup||Age 2-5 years, 4 servingsFor school children, 5-9 servings|
|Vegetables||Cooked veggiesCauliflowerMedium potatoCarrot (sliced)SpinachBroccoliTomatoSalad||Half a cup cooked vegetables or one cup raw, leafy vegetables.||Age 2-3, 2 servingsAge 4-7, 2-4 servingsAge 8-11, 3-5 servingsAge 12-18, 4-9 servings|
|Half a cup frozen for raw fruits, or 6-ounce fruit juice, or ¼ cup dried fruits||Age 2-3, 2 servingsAge 4-7, 1-2 servingsAge 8-11, 1-2 servingsAge 12-18, 3-4 servings|
|Dairy Products||MilkYogurtCheeseCustard||250ml200g40g250ml||Age 2-3, 1 servingAge 4-7, 2-3 servingAge 8-11, 2-3 2/2 servingsAge 12-18, 3-5 servings|
|Lean Proteins||MeatBeefChickenFishEggsDried beansPeasLentils|
|100 g (2 slices), cooked¾ cup, chopped1 chicken leg1 medium filet1¾ cup canned or cooked beans, lentils or peas1 tablespoon||Age 2-3, 1/2 servingAge 4-7, 1/2-1 servingAge 8-11, 1-1 2/2 servingsAge 12-18, 1-2 servings|
|Fats, Sweets and Oils||Low-fat mayonnaiseLight salad dressingSoft margarineVegetable oil (canola, safflower, olive or corn)||1 tablespoon oil or mayonnaise||1 serving|
Here is a suggest meal plan with examples. It has a recommended meal time and a suggested menu for your kid.
|7:30||Breakfast||Medium bowl of semi-skimmed milk with whole grain cerealA glass of fresh orange juiceA banana|
|9:30||Morning Break||A small box of raisinsA bottle of unsweetened fruit smoothie|
|12:30||Lunch||Cheese, salad, jacket potatoAn appleA bottle of water|
|16:30||After School Snack||A grass of semi-skimmed milkA small packet of low-fat crisps|
|19:30||Dinner||SaladWhole wheat pastaSpaghetti Bolognese (without oil, more vegetable, less meat)A glass of juice (with canned fruit and one scoop ice cream)|
|21:30||Evening Snack||A slice toast (whole meal) with peanut butter|
As you ensure your kid eats a balanced and nutritious diet, it is also important to put equal emphasis on his water intake. Drinking water is important for almost every tissue and every process in his body. It will help eliminate waste from his body and help him maintain a proper body temperature. Your kid should drink water and any additional fluids as a regular habit each day. The amount of fluid you need is based on several factors. Some factors that influence how much fluid and water your kid should drink are the climates where you are and the level of activity your kid has. On an average, your kid should have the following amount of fluids (2):
|4-8||1-1.2L (approx. 5 glasses)|
|9-13||1.4-1.6L (approx. 5 to 6 glasses)|
|14 and More||1.6-2L (approx.5 to8 glasses)|
Nutritional Supplements For Kids:
You may feel that supplements are really important for your kid, but he can get the highest amount of nutrition from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Your kid should receive his daily nutrition from the following sources:
- Milk and other dairy products like yogurt, cheese, butter and such.
- Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables.
- Protein from sources like meats, eggs, fish.
- Whole grains like brown rice, wheat, and oats.
- Vitamin A will help your kid’s normal growth and development. It will also improve immunity and is good for the eyes, skin and bone and tissue repair. Vitamin B will help his metabolism, will provide him energy and keep his blood circulation healthy. Vitamin C will improve muscle and tissue health and improve immunity. Vitamin D will be great for bone and teeth health and also help his body to absorb calcium.
- Calcium will make his bones and teeth stronger.
[ Read: Calcium Rich Foods For Kids ]
- Iron will help build muscle and promote the health of red blood cells.
Your kid may need supplements in the following case:
- If he is a fussy eater, does not always finish his meals or ends up eating junk food. His doctor will recommend a supplement if he eats junk food and has nutritional deficiencies.
- In case he has a medical condition, like asthma or a digestive problem, or has a particular medicine that he needs to take, his doctor may recommend a particular supplement.
- If he is very active and regularly takes part in very physically demanding sports and activities.
[ Read: High Calorie Foods For Kids ]
- Your kid may eat only vegetarian foods, or may be on a dairy-free diet or any other specific restricted diet. In such a case, his doctor may recommend supplements to make up for certain deficiencies.
- If he has a lot of carbonated soda, it can leach out the vitamins and minerals from his body.
Hope now you know what are the nutritional needs for children. Before giving any supplements to your kid, it is important to speak to your pediatrician. Have you prepared a meal plan for your kid? Do share it here.
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