What you eat in your childhood – a period of rapid growth and development- will prepare you for a healthy life. A balanced wholesome diet for children inclusive of all five food groups (grains, proteins, dairy, fruits and vegetables and fats) is essential to prevent malnutrition, boost the immune system, avoid obesity, and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Here Are 5 Food Groups Your Child Requires:
1. Cereals, whole grains:
Products such as rice, roti, bread, and breakfast cereals. This food group provides your child with an excellent source of carbohydrates, a substantial source of protein, a good source of Vitamin B group, including folate, and a good source of minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.
2. Pulses and legumes
lentils, peas, and dried peas are rich in protein, unsaturated fat, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, iron, and calcium- nutrients that are building blocks for your growing children.
3. Milk and meat products:
Milk and meat products are vital components of your child’s meals since they are the richest sources of protein, calcium, fat, riboflavin, and phosphorus. Try to feed your child a range of dairy items on a daily basis, such as milk beverages, cheese slices, or yoghurt. These will aid in the development of the child‘s bone and dental health.
4. Fruits and vegetables:
Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, and fluids to children. Encourage them to eat at least 1-2 fruits every day to boost their immunity. Make colourful rainbow platters using a variety of vegetables and fruits. You may include vegetables in rice, pasta, parathas, or porridge.
5. Fats and sugars:
Fats are nutritious components that provide your child with energy as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K. These lipids are necessary for a child’s cognitive, brain, and ocular development. Include avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish (mackerel, sardines, and tuna), walnuts, chia, flax, olives, and certain vegetable oils such as canola, olive, and peanut in your child’s diet as a healthy part of your child’s total fat consumption. Limit your child’s intake of sugary drinks (like fruit juice, soft drinks, and flavoured milk), sweets and candies, since they are high in calories but low in nutrients.
|Age Group||Cereals (g)||*Pulses||Vegetables (g)& Fruits(g)||Milk (ml)||Fats & Oil|
Ref: ICMR – NIN
* For Non-vegetarians. 30 g of pulses may be substituted with meat.
About the author: Asma Sajid is a Senior Nutritionist and Young Child Feeding Counsellor at Fernandez Hospital.
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