Nutrition for kids plays a vital role in their lives. With the rise of snacking nowadays thanks to the lockdown, kids today might not be getting the vital nutrients they need, to support their growth and development. This leads to hidden hunger that can affect their well-being over time.
Globally, at least 1 in 2 children under 5 suffers from hidden hunger due to a lack of essential nutrients according to a 2019 report by UNICEF. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that the food consumed by kids meets their Required Dietary Allowance (RDA). Dietician and Pediatric Nutritionist, Ranjani Raman shares ways that you make eating a fun and healthy experience for your child, infused with the right nutrition.
Trust their tummies
Uneaten meals can worry parents especially when their kids eat very little, refuse to eat healthy foods, or refuse a meal. Kids are picky eaters and force-feeding or presenting them with food they do not like, even if done with the best of intentions, can have unintended consequences. Instead, feed your child small portions of food at regular intervals and familiarise them with knowing when they are full. It is also important to present food in a way that they enjoy like veggies put into colourful sandwiches, a fruity milkshake and a handful of almonds on the side, to ensure that they are eating the right way.
Bring out the fun in fruit with dairy
Kids and fruit are like two peas in a pod. They are perhaps the easiest to feed your child. Fruit is packed with essential vitamins that act as powerful antioxidants, preventing cell damage and boosting the immune system. To make fruit even more nutritious and fun, you can use cookie cutters to cut them into shapes and serve with salads, dry fruit, or even add a touch of dairy. Dairy products are an important part of the diet because, in addition to providing carbohydrates calcium and protein, they provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals. According to the Required Dietary Allowance (RDA) guidelines, kids need calcium of about 400-600 mg daily. Dairy is a nutritionally dense food and is a good source of calcium. To make dairy interesting for your little one, go in for a nutrient-rich, tasty dairy serve, enriched with fruits. This will not only delight your child but will also take away your worries of ensuring their daily dose of nutritional needs.
Pack in food-for-thought
Set aside some time to teach your child about the importance of nutrition. Kids are more engaged through storytelling so give them a colouring sheet with nutrient-rich foods like milk, veggies, grains, and fruits and colour along with them. Make it simple to understand by teaching them how Vitamin, Calcium, and Protein are the building blocks that will boost their immunity, give them the energy to run around and play and make their bones strong
It is time to make food fun for kids and let them grow up easy. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we will understand their needs better and help them make better food choices thereby keeping hidden hunger pangs at bay.