Ensuring a good nutritional start for the pediatric population has a lifelong impact on growth, productivity, and quality of life. The right nutrition in the right amount leads to a healthier life as they grow. Eating patterns built in childhood serves as foundations for life and overall health. So it is important to understand each food group to develop a well balanced and nutritious diet for children.
A nutritionally balanced diet in terms of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water are essential. It enhances immunity by providing the daily requirement of nutrients to the body. Healthy eating habits go a long way in ensuring a healthy life. A healthy eating plan gives the body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within the daily calorie goal. A well-balanced diet contains foods from all the groups in the recommended amounts. Foods are grouped under three major headings depending on the relative concentration and function of the nutrients.
ENERGY GIVING FOODS: Calories are a measure of energy. Energy is required for growth and physical activity (playing). The amount of energy needed depends on age, sex, anthropometric details and physical activities. Energy giving foods are rich in carbohydrates & fats, that form the primary fuel to provide the energy required for the body. The major sources of carbohydrates are cereals, millets, roots and tubers, sugar, honey, glucose, jaggery, etc. The major sources of fats are oil, butter, ghee, nuts etc
BODYBUILDING FOODS: Body building foods are rich in protein and fats, the chief cellular substances. These supply the building material to the body and also make good wear & tear of tissues. A child must have enough protein in terms of quantity and quality. Foods rich in protein include milk, fish, meat, egg, pulses, and nuts.
PROTECTIVE FOOD: This group is rich in vitamins and minerals. These nutrients in the food prevent the onset of various diseases and also help the body in fighting against infection. The best way to ensure your child receives enough vitamins and minerals for normal growth, good vision, healthy skin, and development is to include green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits (yellow and orange), dairy product, egg, meat, whole grains and nuts in the diet.
Besides the above-mentioned nutrients, focus on Dietary fiber
DIETARY FIBER: Fiber helps to maintain healthy gut microbiota and gives satiety. They help to regulate the bowel movements and thereby prevent constipation. Fiber is largely present in whole grains, whole pulses, vegetables, fruits etc.
TIPS AND GUIDANCE FOR DIETITIAN & NUTRITIONIST:
- Enjoy regular family meals at the table with the television switched off to avoid distraction
- Allow your child to eat their food slowly as it takes time to realize the sense of fullness.
- Allow your child to follow their natural appetite when deciding how much to eat.
- Help kids regulate appetite and hunger cues with whole fruits and mindful eating Discourage snacks like sweets, fatty foods, and junk foods.
- Stock healthy snacks at homes.
- Practice right cooking methods and healthy eating habits.
- Don’t ignore your child’s weight problems.
- Don’t permit your child to skip meals to reduce weight.
- Don’t use foods as an excuse to make children do anything.
We have the Best Peadiatric Clinical Dietitian’s in Apollo Children’s Hospital Chennai, to help you plan your child’s Diet.
Visit Ask Apollo to book an appointment with Dr Vasundhara Padma S N L , Dietitian and Nutritionist in Visakhapatnam.