What is healthy for your child….

What is healthy for your child….

healthy_childNutrition for children is a very important aspect as we are looking at the development and growth of children. A well balanced diet should have all the required nutrients in right proportions.A parent will always have in his/her mind that their child should be eating healthy.

Now how can you as a parent plan your child’s diet?

These are the following major nutrients that you need to include in the diet-

  • Carbohydrates– They are very important as they provide the major source of energy as calories. Foods from this group provide starch or complex carbohydrates for energy and also provide vitamins, minerals and mainly fiber. Include whole grain cereals like brown rice, whole wheat products, oats, ragi, jowar, bajra etc. Idli, dosa, chapatti, poha, upma, mueseli etc should be included in your child’s diet. Avoid refined cereals like cornflakes and other breakfast cereals which contain high sugar content and bad for the teeth and also for weight control.
  • Proteins– Proteins are the building blocks of our body. Hence a child will need enough protien for rapid growth. Protien is also needed for good hair, skin, nails etc. Majorly, good quality protien comes from milk and milk products like yogurt, buttermilk, cheese and cottage cheese or paneer and also from fish, chicken, eggs etc. Include atleast one serving from fish, eggs, lean meats etc and 2-3 servings from milk and milk products. Cheese can be a whole snack by it self rather than in a burger or on a pizza. Protiens also come from vegetarian sources such as nuts and seeds, beans and legumes. These are the protein sources high in fiber and also in various vitamins and minerals. Including a protien source in every meal is very important. Avoid high fat milk sources such as ice cream, pastries as they are high in fat and sugar.
  • Vitamins and minerals(Fruits and vegetables)- The fruits and vegetable food group is very essential as they are the richest sources of vitamins and minerals. They provide major vitamins such as Vitamin A,C and K and also minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium etc which are all required various organ functions and also for teeth and bone health.A variety in the diet provides a variety of this group. The major minerals needed at this phase are calcium, iron etc and vitamins such as Vitamin A for eye sight, growth, Vitamin C for immunity, Vitamin D for healthy bones and Vitamin E for brain development etc. They also provide fiber, serve as healthy snacks and improve the immunity by ten fold. Include this food group in every meal for better health.
  • Fats– Good fats are very essential for the child for both energy levels as well as for brain development. Fat content should come from good fats such as oils, seeds and nuts. Saturated fat which come from whole milk products, cheese should be given in limited quantities. Fats such as hydrogenated fats coming from all confectionery items such as biscuits, cakes and also the hydrogenated fats from chips and french fries are not good fats.
  • Water– Water is the elixir of life. A child should be well hydrated always. You should encourage your child to drink enough water during the day, especially after rigorous play.

Try to cut down sugar, excess of salt, junk food such as maggi noodles, chips, soft drinks etc. More information on junk food will be posted in the coming week.

If this simple fundamentals of a diet are followed, then your child is on the path to better health.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

4 Replies to “What is healthy for your child….”

  1. 1.My baby has just completed his first year on 10 July. At the time of birth his weight was 2.580 Kg now his wt is 7.980 Kg. is it ok?
    I have not used Milk bottle for him. I used to feed him through bowl n spoon and also giving breast feed.

  2. 1. My baby has just completed his first year on 10 July. At the time of birth his weight was 2.580
    Kg now his wt is 7.8 Kg. He look like 7-8 month baby.

    2 I have not used Milk bottle for him. I used to feed him through bowl n spoon and also giving
    breast feed. I used to give him Cerelac, khichdi n banana. Pls suggest me what should i give
    him in his diet.

  3. Hi Shalini,

    I think you are doing the right things. Please continue breast feeding. See that you include a lot of veggies in the khichdi, greens such as palak too. You can give fruit custurd with jaggery. You can email me his complete diet with the timings and quantity at sanjana@nutrihealth.in

  4. Hi Dr,

    my daughter is 2.5 years old. and weighs 11 kg. Is she underweight??. Her diet is completelty home made. BF, i cup oats cooked in milk, snacks iddli/chappathi/upma, lunch-brown rice and egg, evening 1glass pediasure. night fruits.. My problem is she is not gaining proper weight after giving all these items. Do u think having oats in the BF prevents her weight increase.. Please advise me…


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