A guide to the best nutrition for healthy child development
Children can be picky when it comes to eating. They often tend to develop a natural preference for foods that are appealing and enjoyable. So making them eat healthy, nutritious foods is quite a task altogether. No matter how noble your intentions are, getting your child to eat leafy greens instead of doughnuts and bagels is never easy. So what can you do to fuel healthy child development and growth?
Here are some healthy food for kids that are both healthy and delicious
Yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein, and it makes for a great snack for kids. Calcium is essential for the development of bones while protein is important for building, maintaining, and repairing the muscle tissues. Besides, the presence of live bacteria in certain types of yoghurt is beneficial for the digestive system. A serving of yoghurt containing probiotics – bacteria that keep the gut healthy – can aid digestion. Greek yoghurt contains zero added sugar and twice the amount of proteins found in regular yoghurt. It is best to keep your kids away from flavoured yoghurt because they contain artificial sweeteners and sugar, which are linked with an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. However, to make it more appealing to children, you can always add fresh fruits or sprinkle whole-grain cereal on top of yoghurt.
Next up on the list of healthy food for kids is eggs. A whole egg contains sufficient amounts of proteins, vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids – all of which help in the brain development of children. Besides, eggs are filling so it keeps their tummy full for longer hours. Therefore, they are less tempted to indulge in unhealthy snacking.You can serve them boiled, scrambled, or sunny side up with whole-wheat brown bread for breakfast – whichever way your kid likes it!
Nuts and seeds
Loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, nuts and seeds make for an excellent child brain development food. Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds help in the development of the child’s cognitive skills – the ability to pay attention, memorise, reason, and learn things.If you can’t get your kids to eat them, try sprinkling some on breakfast cereal, bread, or smoothies and shakes. However, moderation is key, so be sure that they stick to a serving size of ¼ cup of nuts and seeds to reap the health benefits.
Most kids make a fuss when it comes to eating fish. But let’s face it, fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acid and vitamin D, which helps boost mental health and enable the child to focus on studies and daily activities more efficiently. Several studies show that children, who consumed sufficient amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, experienced improved memory and verbal learning ability.You can prepare grilled fish, add them to tacos, or serve them as fish cakes to entice your child.
Fruits and vegetables
Leafy greens, like kale and spinach, are packed with nutrients – antioxidants, vitamins, fibre and folate – but are low in calories. This makes them an essential part of a healthy diet for kids. Not only do they help boost immunity but also play an integral part in healthy child development. Furthermore, these offer several health benefits including the reduced risk of mental health problems, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease, as the child grows.The key is to make their plates visually appealing. Plate up with a wide variety of bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, apples, plums, and berries. You can also blend to prepare a smoothie, just the way kids like it.
Tips to inculcate healthy food habits in children
Here are a few tips that will help kids develop healthy eating habits:
- Look for healthier substitutes – for example, instead of French fries, serve them mashed sweet potato or baked potato.
- Quit the ‘clean plate’ club – allow your kids to eat just as much as they feel like eating.
- Be a role model and allow them to follow your steps – if your kid sees you start your day with a healthy bowl of cereal, he/she might be inspired to eat healthy as well.
- Offer them a variety of healthy food option so that they don’t get bored eating the same foods every day.
If you need help choosing the best food for your child's growth, you can always talk to a nutritionist/dietician through on DocsApp. He/she can help prepare a diet chart for your child keeping their overall health in mind.
Healthy eating for kids is crucial to healthy child development. With the help of an experienced dietician, you can ensure that your child gets his/her daily dose of nutrients served in a way they like it.