Kids these days are always on the go. They are busy with school, extracurricular activities, and socializing with friends. Because of this, it can be hard to get them to sit down and eat a healthy meal. As a result, they either eat junk food or skip meals altogether. But in the long run, it can lead to problems such as obesity, poor concentration, and low energy levels.
Why is Kids Nutrition Important?
The early stages of a child’s life are crucial for overall growth and development. That is why it is essential to inculcate healthy eating habits from the very start. Proper nutrition with a balanced diet plays a key role, including veggies, fruits, healthy fats, protein, fiber, and other essential macro and micronutrients. Also, consider including some of these antioxidant-rich foods and nutrient-dense superfoods for a host of health benefits.
In addition, kids have different nutritional needs depending on their age and stage of development. Also, they have different dietary needs based on their activity level. As a result, it is vital to tailor their diets to their individual needs.
Nutritional Tips for Kids
Of course, every kid is different, and some may need more or less of certain nutrients than others. For example, active kids may need more calories than others. And kids with certain medical conditions or allergies may need a different diet plan. But a few must need nutrients are essential to growing up healthy and strong. So, what should you include in their daily diet?
Protein is essential to build cells, repair tissues, and grow bones and muscles. In addition, it breaks down food into energy that the body needs to function every day. This macronutrient works as a building block and is vital for child growth and development. Foods that are excellent protein sources are egg, meat, lentils, beans, legumes, tofu, poultry, fish, nuts, dairy products, and soy milk.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy kids will require to jump and play all day long. Complex carbohydrates are generally nutrient-dense and provide lasting energy rather than a quick burst followed by a crash. On the other hand, kids may feel sluggish and lethargic without complex carbs (whole, unprocessed food). So, it is essential to balance complex and simple carbs as they turn to glucose in the body and are an energy source. Add whole grains, beans, potatoes, bread, rice, cereal, low-fat dairy, and more for the best carb sources.
Fat is another essential macronutrient that the body requires to build nerve tissues. The irreplaceable building block contributes to growth and development. Healthy fats provide essential fatty acids, help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and are a significant energy source. Include avocado, whole eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, whole milk yoghurt, and more as healthy fat sources.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are vital for keeping us healthy and help the body's function. It is one of the best remedies for health issues and various metabolic processes. Also, it fights infection, heals wounds, and supports the immune system. You can include vitamins and minerals such as fruits, vegetables, milk products, eggs, fish, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, and unprocessed cereals.
Including fiber in the daily diet keeps you full and helps in bowel regularity. From regulative digestive tract to weight control, fiber intake is essential. You can start the day with a high-fiber breakfast, including whole-grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Also, kids love snacking, so include healthy options like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in their snacks.
Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin that helps transport oxygen from the lungs to the other body parts. As a result, it contributes to energy production, reduction of fatigue, and normal cognitive function. Some dietary iron sources are meat, fish, fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, mushrooms, dried fruits, etc.
Healthy Eating Habits for Kids
From our childhood, we get used to the flavors. Therefore, it gets necessary to teach healthy eating habits from the start.
So, what can parents do to encourage their kids to eat better? First of all, it is important to lead by example. If you eat a balanced diet yourself, your kids are more likely to follow that. Also, make sure to be creative with the meals and add more colors in the form of fruits and veggies.
Just not the food; kids should also indulge in various activities throughout the day. Kids these days prefer sticking to the screen instead of going out and being involved in physical activities. Surround your kids with influencing resources to give them a healthy lifestyle and promotes a positive mindset. Involvement in outdoor games, mind games, exercises, good foods, enough sleep, traveling, and entertaining events will lead them to understand the world outside their smart gadgets too.
What kids eat is more important because they are growing, and their bodies need the right balance of nutrients. So, as they say, eat well today for a better tomorrow!