Jill Castle an expert childhood nutritionist says, “Feeding kids is an art. Doing it well can be a challenge.”
Every parent knows that children should be given a nutrition rich meal. But it is something most of us as parents are not trained to do. Feeding our kids is something we plunge into from the first day of parenthood without any formal coaching and very little cooperation from the kids themselves.
Nutrition is a critical component of a child’s health and development. The quality of nutrition defines his/her immunity, bone strength, mental alertness, eyesight, formation of muscles, skin, organs and physical agility. Nutritionists explain that as the reason why a few kids are always happy and bouncing while a few are always under the weather.
So what’s the best formula to fuel your child’s development? Nutritionist planning a child’s meal always balances energy yielding and body building foods. Some of these are:
- Protein – Protein helps a child’s body build cells, break down food into energy, fight infection, and carry oxygen. It also powers the brain and growth of muscles, organs, hair, nails, hormones and energy levels.
- Carbohydrate- Children and teenagers need carbohydrates which give them energy for growth. As the children’s need for energy is much more than adults, nutritionists pack more carbohydrates in their diets. Lack of carbohydrates can result in tiredness, poor concentration and a lack of stamina. Fruits, vegetables, grains, rice and breads are an excellent source for carbohydrates.
- Fat- These are a great source of energy, taste and flavour in food. For young kids it plays an important role in brain development, helps absorb fat soluble vitamins and provide lubrication to their growing joints and bones. Nutritionists recommend eating good fat from sources like whole-milk and dairy products, cooking oils, nuts, fish, meat etc.
- Calcium- It is essential in building bones and teeth, blood clotting, muscle and heart function. Child nutritionists plan meals with high intake of calcium rich foods like yoghurt, cheese, eggs, spinach, tofu etc.
There more essential nutrients like iron, folate, vitamins and minerals which are an important part of a nutritionist’s list for children.
As the science of nutrition evolves, nutritionists believe that children’s nutrition should be planned based on their age, development milestones, physical activities and weight. Just like an under nourished child is a red flag on a nutritionist’s radar, so are the over nourished. Thus striking the perfect balance on quantity and quality of food is the recipe to happy and healthy kids.