With a young child, meals can be an everyday hassle, especially when you want to introduce new food, and motivate children to make healthy food choices.
Children starting their school years have several nutritional requirements that need to be met, and at the same, are at an age which shapes their lifetime food habits.
"School-going children are still growing and are physically active which plays a significant role in determining a child's nutritional requirements. Genetic history, gender, body size, and built are various other factors. The nutrients or foods needed by children are the same needed by adults, but the quantities vary," nutritionist and wellness coach Avni Kaul said.
She adds, "In the growing years, foods that provide protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins are vital for their growth and development. Without them, their growth may get stunted and, in serious cases, it can affect the development of their mental and motor skills. These nutrients are available in major food groups - grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods."
Here are five foods that should be included in the diet of a growing child:
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, gooseberries are very high in Vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They protect healthy cells from damage and helps in boosting the immune system. You can add them in yogurt, or serve them raw to your children.
Eggs are quite popular. Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins. Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, an important nutrient that supports brain development. You can serve them either as boiled, scrambled, fry or prepare omelettes.
High in monounsaturated fats, peanut butter provides energy and protein to children. However, certain brands contain added salt, sugar, palm oil and partially hydrogenated fats, which reduces nutritional quality. So, look out for the label carefully.
Fibre present in these foods maintains digestive health and prevents constipation. Amaranth, Barley, Maize, Ragi are one of the finest options. If your child is not fond of them then you can give them in the form of biscuits and wholegrain bread.
Bright-coloured vegetables and fruits
Include carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, cherries, tomatoes and papaya. They are high in beta carotene and other carotenoids that are changed into active vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is vital for good skin and vision, growth and repair of body tissues.