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Kids & Nutrition: Understanding & Creating A Balanced Diet for Your Child

6 October 2020

Among the macro and micronutrients i.e vitamins and minerals, we highlight 10 essential nutrients your child mustn’t miss out on while growing up and what might be the best foods to consume them through.

A basic prerequisite for a healthy life is the importance and inclusion of a healthy diet on a daily basis. Especially for kids, childhood growth and development are largely linked to what they consume on an everyday basis. While as parents we ensure we tell our child to stay away from junk, it’s also important to let them know the necessity of a healthy diet. So what exactly does a balanced diet for a school going kid include? Before we proceed, check out this image below that indicates what an ideal food plate should look like.

So, what exactly are these nutrients that we’re talking about? Read here!

Carbohydrates
As a grown up you may feel that carbohydrates are a big no-no in your world. Though “carbs” as we call them, are looked down upon, they are actually very important in a child’s nutrition as they are a great source of energy. In fact, they’re the best source of energy that helps your child stay active the entire day. And carbs don’t have to be boring at all. Serve them to your kids through potatoes, rice, breads, cereals like Wheat and Millets, oats, etc., and you’ve got one happy, healthy kid running around.

Protein
Proteins are made of amino-acids that are essential for cell and tissue growth, to support muscle contraction and movement, is structural component of various hormones and enzymes, so on. Proteins effectively help a child’s body build cells and tissues, fight infection, carry oxygen and also provides energy Foods that contain high levels of protein include eggs, fish, nuts, beans, dairy products, etc. You can also give your kids Complan nutrition, as this health drink contains 100% milk protein and many other essential nutrients that deliver two times faster growth. Click here

Fats
Alright then, fats can be tricky. Your child sure certainly needs a good amount of fat in their diet, however, it’s important for you to know the difference between good fat and bad fat. And, more importantly, it’s necessary to know what quantity of fat to serve your kid. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that kids need all kinds of fats in their diet in adequate quantities. Omega-3s, especially, help keep the brain active. Foods that include good fat are whole-milk, dairy products such as ghee; meats, nuts, oilseeds, oily fish, etc.

Calcium
We’ve always heard our grandmothers say that one must have enough calcium in their system for healthy bones and teeth. Well, they weren’t wrong at all. As growing children, their diet must consist of foods that are calcium-rich. You’re aware that calcium through dairy has the better bioavailability. Include 500 ml of milk and milk products in your child’s diet. Other sources include Calcium includes: green leafy vegetables such as amaranth, colocasia leaves, , ragi, Bengal Gram, horse gram, rajmah, soya beans, til seeds etc., too, are sources of  calcium which can prove to be super beneficial in the diet of your school going kid.

Vitamin D
One of the most pressing problems in children today is the deficiency of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb Calcium. Lack of Vitamin D can lead to defective mineralization bones thus leading to weak bones.   . Hence, it’s important that you ensure your child gets it both- naturally and through the food they consume. It’s important for children to go out in the morning sun for some physical activity Food sources of Vitamin D includes fortified milk and milk products, mushrooms,  egg yolks, fish like salmon and trout etc. ,

Iron
Iron is necessary for a child to build healthy blood that carries oxygen to cells all over the body. As you grow up, iron deficiencies can be a huge hindrance and for the same, it’s important to ensure you add the right foods to the daily diet from a young age. Meat, Poultry, whole grains, beans, green leafy vegetables, legumes, dry fruits like dates provides Iron. Vitamin C helps in absorption of iron from plant foods. Include Vitamin C rich fruits like gooseberries (Amla), Citrus fruits and Guava in your child’s diet.

Vitamin B12
One of the essential nutrients that play a huge role in keeping your nerve cells functioning correctly and forming red blood cells. Your body doesn’t naturally produce this, but Vitamin B12 can be acquired through various foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, milk, cheese, etc. This nutrient has many impressive benefits on your body, so make sure you have it in your daily meals for a healthy, balanced diet.

Folate
Commonly known as folic acid of Vitamin B-9, this nutrient is crucial in the red blood cell formation of your body, along with healthy cell growth and functioning. You can easily find this nutrient in green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and peas, apart from fruits such as mango papaya.

Zinc
Zinc is an absolutely essential nutrient that’s responsible for a number of important functions in the human body, including strengthening the immune system. For growing children, it needs to be a part of their balanced diet to make sure their learning and memory are strong. Foods such as certain types of seafood, meats, beans, peas, nuts, yogurt, etc.

Vitamin A
This nutrient helps growth, assists the eyes in adjusting to dim and bright lights, keeps skin healthy, and works to prevent infection. ‘Apart from green vegetables, carrots, mango, papaya, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apricots, fish oils, which are good sources of Vitamin A, fortified health drinks can be included in the diet. Complan is a good choice as it has been scientifically formulated for growing children and contains Vitamin A, C, E and more. You can read more about Complan and its importance in your child’s daily diet here.

What would this mean? Fortified milk and milk products can also be a source of vitamin D

This only means that while you can get these through the food, it’s important to also have exposure to sunlight- got this from the internet as it was widely stated in articles. Can definitely add the line about milk and milk products

Growth is influenced by genetics, nutrition, and other environmental factors. Please consult your healthcare professional further.
The information provided in this article is based on the writer’s personal experience and view. Any recommendations made about physical activity, nutrition source, and benefits on this website should be consulted with your paediatric/ health professional. The information you receive in our blogs, and other communication does not take the place of professional medical advice. Any recommendations made about physical activity, nutrition, or diet on this website should be consulted with your healthcare professional

 

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