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Emma is super-fussy at the dining table, and ultra choosy too (well, she chooses just what is not right for her health!). The “tantrum vs. nutrition” conflicts powers up right there and of course, the former sweeps it! Like broad daylight, the goodness and significance of a balanced diet is set out; yet, there are Emmas all around, in all households, in all regions of the globe! Is your child eating right?

What is the importance of nutrition in the development of children?

Dealing with picky eaters is pretty tedious a task. However, gauging the vitality of good food in great health, it’s definitely worth a try. As a parent, you should always urge and ensure that your child follows the right food habits. Yearn to know why? Here is why, you should:

  1. Physical Growth and Development: A nutritious diet has profound impact on your child’s physical development. Great food caters to stronger bones and better muscles. Healthy food aids in maintaining a healthy weight, keeping at bay the risks of malnutrition and obesity. Your child’s immune system gets enhanced incredibly with the right food and he is well-shielded from a vast variety of illnesses. Good food also helps your child in staying active through the day!
  2. Emotional Development: Does your child get moody without much triggers? It could very well be hormonal influences of fatty and junk food. Switch to better nourishment and help him stabilize his moods for he deserves great days just like you! Better eating habits result in happier and composed moods. A child eating right is more prone to have better social and communication skills.
  3. Brain Development: Is your child scoring low in math consistently, in spite of exposing him to the best educational experiences? The blame-taker (or the culprit in most cases) could be none other than unhealthy food! Junk foods like fried and sugary foods lowers the concentration levels in children. Boost your child’s cognitive and comprehension capabilities with a healthy platter.

What are the common deficiencies in children?

According to World Journal of Clinical Cases, as published by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “The most common nutrient deficiencies among school children are: calcium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin E. It has been reported that the 2 most common deficiencies seen in generally healthy children are iron and vitamin D deficiencies. Classical nutrient deficiencies lead to stunting (energy, protein and zinc), rickets (vitamin D) and other bone abnormalities (copper, zinc, vitamin C). Iron deficiency anemia, as a public health problem, has been well recognized in recent years in developing countries and even in developed ones, and has received considerable attention by the World Health Organization (WHO). Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis are common in northern climates, but even in sunny countries such as Israel, Australia and southern Europe. It is especially common among the elderly, veiled, dark skinned, and other at-risk population groups, who are also regularly warned to avoid sunlight to prevent skin cancers.”

How to know if your child eating is right and enough?

Healthy food can be categorized into three: Fruits, Vegetables and Pulses. Ensure that your child gets all of these on all days. The right amount of food varies on basis of age and gender of your child. As a ground rule, feed your child only till his hunger is quenched and at right intervals. Monitoring your child’s height and weight consistently can help you track his growth and development.

What is a balanced diet for children? What are the foods that children MUST have?

Balanced diet for children

Balanced Diet For Children [Image Courtesy: www.snotty-nose.com]

Fruits: Fruits should constitute slightly below a quarter of your child’s meal. You can include bananas, apples, oranges, mangoes, grapes, pineapple, berries, papaya, water melon and kiwis. Fruits fill the platter with a great deal of nutrients like potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin A, Vitamin C and magnesium.

Vegetables: Slightly above a quarter should be vegetables. Make sure to include some rich leafy greens like spinach, carrots, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, beans, potato, cucumber, mushroom and beets. Vegetables render sodium, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, fiber and magnesium.

Grains: Cereals like rice, wheat, millet, pasta etc should form a quarter of your child’s meal. Grains contain carbohydrates and starch, riboflavin, zinc, folate, iron, thiamin, phosphorous, magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E etc.

Protein: Include eggs, fish, poultry, meat and dairy products.

Water: Substitute sugary and aerated drinks with plain drinking water.

Some Healthy Eating Habits For Your Child

Here are some awesome eating habits you can follow to get your child eat right.

  1. Have fixed meal times with ample time in between (not too long, not too less). Schedule it such that the entire family is at the dining table together at least once a day.
  2. Avoid screen during eating. No TV, No Phone!
  3. Make variety the meal master. Give your kid great food options differing in taste, color and texture; healthy food would never again be a boring deal!
  4. Stock up your pantry with nutritious options.
  5. Explain to your child the goodness of each item you offer them.