Healthy and Nutritious food for Kids
We all know the fact that we cannot survive without water. Water is one of the most important nutrients. Water performs many functions in our body.
Water is an important element that helps in the maintenance of optimal health in kids. Children need to drink at least 1.5 litres of water every day. Include milk, coffee, fruit juices or other hot beverages in the total quantity of liquid consumption.
Do not force your child to drink more water than required. The exact quantity of water required by a kid and even an elderly is determined by the foods they take. Simply, drink water whenever you feel thirsty.
Limit the consumption of sugar sweetened juices and carbonated beverages. A glass of such beverages contain 10 – 15 teaspoons of added sugar, which is totally unhealthy.
Feed more water during hot days to prevent dehydration.
- Nutty Kids
Many of us tend to avoid taking nuts thinking that nuts are fatty! This is not fully right though. Nuts belong to a nutritious group of food and it helps in building immunity. It is one of the foods that are rich in minerals and consists of almond, peanut, cashew, pistachio, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and much more.
The essential micronutrients like selenium, omega fatty acids, potassium, iron, etc are present in good quantities in nuts. These nutrients aid in regulation of bodily functions and prevent several disorders.
Feeding nuts to children enhances the immunity and improves their brain function. When it comes to giving nuts to children, feed them broken nuts sprinkled on foods as topping or as a paste. Almond butter or peanut butter could add flavour to toasted bread. Powdered nuts or chopped nuts could be added to desserts or soup. When it comes to feeding your child innovation is the key.
Remember not to feed nuts to the children below age of two years as it may cause severe allergic condition which may be fatal. Also, up to 8 – 10 years of age, one or two spoons of nuts or two nut balls a day is sufficient.
Potassium, a kind of salt is an essential mineral for physical growth.
Lack of potassium causes inflammation of the internal parts of the body. If you find your child with swollen face, or legs or looks bulky without any increase in weight, it could be due to potassium deficiency. Also, potassium removes the excess amount of water from the body and prevents water retention.
In addition, potassium for kids maintains and regulates the fluid balance in the body, regulates the functions of kidney, nervous system and proper muscle development.
Banana has the highest amount of potassium and eating one banana a day provides sufficient potassium. In addition, potatoes, beans, citrus fruits and tender coconut water are rich in potassium.
Remember, too much potassium for kids causes chronic kidney issues.
Iodine, not so popular among the nutrients, plays a major role in regulating the functions of the whole body.
Iodine deficiency is common in western countries. Lack of iodine causes hypo-thyroidism which almost ruins all functions of the body gradually, from causing extreme tiredness to various auto-immune disorders. You don’t need to follow any special diet to increase the iodine content in your kids. Rather make them eat healthy home cooked food often and reduce eating out or eating processed foods.
- WHO recommendations
All food-grade salt, used in household and food processing should be fortified with iodine as a safe and effective strategy for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders in populations living in stable and emergency settings.
All manufacturers of salt have taken this mandate seriously and have come out with Iodised salt as against the normal salt in order to beat the deficiency.
Processed foods are high in salt, and hence unhealthy, though they might have iodine also.
Iodine is present in dark green vegetables, soy products, eggs, dairy products, seaweed, fish and oyster.
- Fiber for Kids
Most kids do not get the required amount of fiber in their diet, the reason being they are die-hard vegetable haters. Balanced and nutritious food for kids means a blend of all nutrients from energy building foods to the commonly overlooked micronutrients.
Fiber plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy digestive system in humans. It helps elimination of stools from the body with ease. Removal of unwanted substances from the body aids in maintenance of good health. Lack of fiber results in constipation and may cause many stomach disorders in children. Fiber helps smooth and effective functioning of digestive organs.
Fiber rich foods include greens (all types of greens), green vegetables, whole grains and cereals, apple, pineapple, bananas and pears – to be precise, most vegetables and fruits. Add one or two foods that are rich in fiber every day.
Feeding fiber also aids in optimal heart health in children.
A word of caution when you feed your child fiber rich foods.
» Let your child drink sufficient water as the fiber functions effectively in the presence of water
» Though it is not common to have an over dose of fibre, it may be important to note that too much fiber in diet could cause loose stools and diarrhoea.
- Fats for Kids
Health conscious people tend to avoid fats in diet. Those who have younger ones in the family also feed their children fat free or low fat foods. This could be wrong.
Fat is an essential nutrient for growth and development of healthy kids. Fat provides sufficient energy and helps the body to absorb other nutrients in kids. Eating fats improves the brain functions of kids. Adding sufficient fat in the food helps build the cell membranes. Moreover fat soluble vitamins like A, E and K, and essential fatty acids are important for the health of humans.
Also, low fat foods make your child become pale with brittle nails, dry skin and coarse hair. There is no need to follow a low fat or completely fat free diet for your children.
Foods with fats for kids that make them healthy include:
» Nuts and seeds
» Cheese, Ghee and Butter
» Whole Milk
» Fish oil / flax seed oil / Vitamin E
» Eggs, meat, fish
However, remember not to feed too much fats and the unhealthy fats! Unhealthy fats like hydrogenated oils and trans fats cause inflammation of the internal organs, make children lazy, obese, reduce nutrient absorption, etc. Example: margarine, chips, packaged foods, fried foods, etc.