The A-Z of child nutrition- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Parents always struggle to strike the right balance with their children’s nutrition needs. Nutrition is never about quantitative eating, it is always qualitative eating. 

Nutrition needs for 1 -10 years
During these building years, children must be exposed to eating fresh, unprocessed foods to build healthy digestive systems which in turn ensure good immunity. Their basic needs would stem from their curiosity of exploring different textures and tastes of foods. They can easily be met with foods given below in order of priority.

 Seasonal fruits
 Vegetables (raw and cooked)
Probiotics curd and buttermilk
Carbohydrates like rice, roti, upma, dalia, idly, dosa, poha
 Fats like ghee and butter.
 Proteins like eggs, chicken, fish, paneer, tofu
Children are inquisitive by nature. Let them feel the texture of the food. Make sure you give small portions of foods so that they are not overwhelmed.
Ensure three full meals —breakfast, lunch, dinner. Add five gm of ghee to them. It supplements the body with good fatty acids and Vitamin D. 
Make them snack on fruits, salads, nuts and raisins. A glass of whole milk is suggested 30 min prior to play time. Keeping your child hydrated is the key to balance out the above suggestions.

Between 10 – 18 years
This age group sees a lot of hormonal changes. The inability to understand these bodily changes can make this age group crave for sugary refined food. Carrying water flavored by lemon grass or mint will help them stay hydrated and curb mindless snacking.Sweet and sour fruits are great replacements for sugary, refined processed foods.Educate your child to not bow down to peer pressure when it comes down to social outings. 

Nutritional needs for sports
Physically-active children must obtain their daily energy needs from low glycemic index carbohydrate sources. A few recommended sources would be rice, roti or dosas made from different flours like wheat, bajra, ragi, jowar, and maize. This would also ensure good supplementation of microminerals essential for the physiological well-being of the child. They can even indulge in whole wheat pastas tossed with chicken or tofu and vegetables in butter to make it a one-bowl meal.Jaggery, dates, almonds, walnuts, oats, muesli, raisins and ghee can be used to make a great energy bar.

A food must contribute to kids’ growing needs
There should be a variety of sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter foods with crunchy, soft or chewy texture
Things to remember
Avoid packaged foods
Identify if your child is thirsty or hungry
Don’t force feed children and turn them into mindless eaters
Avoid juicing fruits unless your child is a baby

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