Our body is our real treasure. We need to cherish it and maintain it to live a healthy life. A balanced diet is a necessity of all whether it’s a child or a grown-up person. The difference between the two is their energy levels and the amount of they do. The diet we require for Children needs more component that would provide them with energy as compared to the adults. Moreover, this is these are development years of the children which would make a base for the rest of their life. As Indian parents, we need to understand that what we feed others in the family cannot necessarily be given to kids as well.
What is a balanced diet and why is it essential?
A balanced diet is something that would all the nutrients to the body that it requires to function properly. To receive these nutrients your daily calories should come from fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins.
A balanced diet is important because your organs and tissues need the nutritional value to work effectively. Children that have a poor diet have a high chance that there are problems in their development and overall growth.
Indian parents should know that if the children are not having a balanced diet they are prone to diseases, fatigue, infection, malnutrition and poor physical and mental performance. About the bad eating habits children develop in the early years of their life are likely to remain with them for a long period or maybe a lifetime. Some of the basic key elements that should be included in a child’s diet are as follows:
Children engage themselves in different kinds of physical activities and therefore to maintain their energy levels they require a lot of carbohydrates. Grains such as bread and roti are counted as carbohydrates which are prepared very well by the Indian moms.
For a child of two to three years, they require 3-5oz of grains daily
For a child of four to eight years, they require 5-8 oz daily.
For the children between nine to thirteen girls require 5-7 oz daily while boys require 5-9 oz daily.
The food sources that will you energy are Whole grain bread, Roti, Potatoes, Whole wheat food such as chapatis and Pasta, Rice, Cereals, Oatmeal, Corn and Barley.
Other important nutrients that children need are vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It is recommended that a child should take five or more green and coloured vegetables per day. Green leafy vegetables are a must. Generally, children do not like to eat vegetables but parent talks can solve these things for you.
The daily vegetable requirement for children is given below:
For children of two to three years, one vegetable cup is recommended on a daily basis.
Indian parents should feed their child of four to eight years with one and a half cups of vegetables daily.
For the children from nine to thirteen years
Girls intake should be two cups of vegetables daily.
Boys intake two and a half cups of vegetables.
Vegetables can be raw or cooked. If the child is not interested in eating vegetables You can also make use of them as purees or smoothies. The vegetables you should include are Carrots, Broccoli, Beetroots, Spinach, Tomatoes, Leafy greens like Palak.
The next item in the list which the Indian moms should give their child are fruits. Fruits are a rich source of vitamins and fibres. If you compare fruit juices with fruits then Indian parents should prefer solid fruits over juices. The daily fruit requirement for children is given below:
For the children of two to three or four to eight years, they should eat one to one and a half cups of fruits daily.
If your child is between nine to thirteen years then they should take one and a half to two cups of fruits daily. Essential fruits that Indian parents should give to their children are Apple, Banana, Orange, Peach and other dried fruits which your children like.
Milk and dairy products
Milk and dairy products are a necessity for a child as they help in building the child’s bone and strong teeth through its calcium, vitamins, and proteins.
Children have a special dislike to these dairy products, therefore parents talks can once again help here.
The daily milk and dairy requirements of children are:
For the children of two to three years, you require two cups daily.
For the children of four to eight years two and a half cups are recommended.
In the case of nine to thirteen years of children, they should intake three cups a day.
You can give your Milk, Yogurt or Curds, Paneer, Cheese, and Buttermilk to fulfil milk and dairy product requirements.
Meat, Fish or beans:
These are really important nutrients in child growth as they will provide protein that can rebuild, replace and build the tissues in their body. Moreover, children often enjoy these.
The daily requirements of the meat, fish or beans are mentioned below:
For a child of two to three years, Indian parents should give them 2 oz daily.
While Indian moms should give four to eight years of children 4 oz daily.
For nine to three years of children, the recommended is 5 oz daily.
The food items which will provide you with protein are Meat, Fish, Dry beans, Eggs, Nuts, Peanut butter, Seeds, Soya beans, Pulses, Black beans, green grams, Peas and very importantly Sprouts. Especially those people who are vegetarian should give their child sprouts and beans.
So, we can see how a balanced diet essential for a child as it would provide the body with all healthy nutrients to the body at an early age. Moreover, children develop a good habit to eat home-cooked food and when they grow up, they remain stick to healthy and nutritious food.