A healthy diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent obesity and weight-related diseases, such as diabetes. Children have their own unique nutrient needs and meeting those needs is vital for a child to grow up big and strong. A child’s diet should consist of a variety of foods that contain a range of nutrients. The food a child eats in their early years can influence their dietary habits later in life, so it’s important to instil good habits and a healthy relationship with food from an early age.
Babies and Milk:-
In the first six months, babies take their nutritional requirements from a milk-based diet. Cow’s milk is best nutrition for children. Milk is a good source of many important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Proteins are essential for a number of important functions including growth, brain development and healthy bones. Of the 20 amino acids or building blocks that make proteins, children need to get 9 essential amino acids from their food. Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. These contain all 9 essential amino acids.
Children should look to include at least five portions of fruit every day. Portion sizes will differ depending on age, size and physical activity. Portion of fruits should be the size of the child’s palm. Encourage the child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits rather than fruit juice. If the child drinks juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice without added sugars and limit his or her servings.
Vegetables are a good starting point for children. Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. Variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy and others, each week. The portion size depends on their age, size and physical activity – so there are no set rules.
Children need a source of carbohydrate in each meal. Whole nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber as well as important healthy fats. Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains.
Fats and sugar:-
Fats are important for children, but in moderation. While children need some fat to grow and develop, too much of any sort of fat is not recommended. Butter, spreads and oils contribute to the taste, texture and enjoyment of food. Fats are also needed to aid the absorption of certain vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K. There are some fats which are essential in your child’s diet for a healthy immune system and for normal brain function.
Poor nutrition can cause health problems, overweight, and obesity. Some of the health problems associated with poor nutrition can be very serious, especially as child grows into an adult. Proper nutrition and regular physical activity are the keys to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing health problem.