NUTRITION
September 1st, 2021
3 mins read

What is the Importance of the Right Nutrition for Children?

Childhood nutrition is important to nourish brain cells and fight infections

Try to encourage healthy eating habits to boost immunity in kids

Nutrition deprivation can cause health ailments like pediatric obesity

Childhood is the most important phase in our development and growth. It is this stage that hones our physical and mental abilities. So, providing the right nutrition becomes essential to assist children in their growth and development. Some factors that govern nutrition in children include quality and quantity of the meal, timings and the amount of micro and macro nutrients present in the food. The ratio of macros like carbs, fats and proteins to micros such as minerals and vitamins needs to be balanced for the overall well-being of the child.

A child’s growth spans three phases. The first year is called infancy, the subsequent years in a child’s life until the age of 10 years is known as childhood. The time between 10 and 18 years is called the adolescent phase. Nutritional requirements vary across each phase and if these aren’t met, the overall growth of a child may be affected.

Read on for insight on the importance of nutrition for children and tips on how to increase immunity in kids with essential nutrients.

Importance of nutrition for children 

Growing children require the right amount of nutrition. This is because during early years of growth, they have less energy reserves. Hence, they can manage their hunger only for a short period. To ensure your children don’t feel acute hunger, feed them healthy and well-balanced meals at appropriate intervals.

Another reason to consider nutrition importance in children is because there is rapid nervous system development during childhood. In fact, it is during this phase when the brain and the nerve cells begin to strengthen their connections. Providing good nutrition in early childhood is essential for proper brain growth, overall development and to fight common infections. While carbs and fats provide the needed energy, proteins help build a child’s body. Therefore, an ideal diet must include nutrient-dense foods in the form of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes and dairy products [1].

Don’t neglect the importance of vitamins and minerals either. These nutrients help the body ward off infections. Be it vitamin A for preventing visual impairments or iron-rich foods to promote physical and mental skills, it is essential to include the right amount of nutrients in your child’s diet [2].

Additional readTop Diary Foods that Dieticians Recommend and Health Benefits of Diary

nutrition tips for kids

Nutrition deprivation in children 

To understand the importance of the right nutrition for kids, consider a hypothetical scenario where a child is deprived of essential nourishment. This may cause a variety of ailments such as malnutrition, which occurs either when the nutrient supply is less or in excess. If children are undernourished, it not only affects them physically, but also takes a toll on their academic and cognitive skills. However, in case your child consumes excess fats and carbohydrates, there is an increased risk of pediatric obesity. This can lead to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders in later life [3]. Dietary deficiencies during childhood thus has a great impact on the health of a child.

Ideal food pyramid for kids 

The optimal nutrition for children can be achieved by following a simple food pyramid, which helps you design a healthy diet for your kids. It also serves as a guide in helping you figure out different nutrient combinations for a well-balanced diet.

Pyramid level  Quantity to consume  Foods types 
Base of the pyramid  Sufficient   Dairy products, cereals, pulses and legumes 
Second level of the pyramid  High  Fruits and vegetables 
Third level of the pyramid  Low  Animal food sources, fats and oils 
Top of the pyramid  Minimal  Junk foods or foods rich in sugar and fat with negligible nutritional value  

 

Foods that improve immunity in kids 

Here are some foods to include in your child’s immunity boosting diet.  

  • Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli that have antioxidants and other needed minerals  
  • Lean poultry, nuts and beans as they are a good source of zinc
  • Citrus foods like oranges and lemons for Vitamin C
  • Yogurt, apple cider vinegar, fermented foods as these are probiotics needed for a healthy gut
  • Nuts like walnuts and almonds as well as seeds like pumpkin seeds as they are a good source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals

All in all, practicing healthy eating habits helps build immunity in kids. There are many benefits of healthy eating which include the following [4]. 

  • Stabilizes mood 
  • Enhances memory 
  • Maintains healthy weight 
  • Minimizes the risk of mental ailments 
  • Makes your kid physically active
  • Helps fight infections

Additional readHow to Take Care of Your Child’s Mental Health During the Pandemic

Childhood nutrition is a deciding factor that contributes to the health of children until adulthood and beyond. Malnutrition or depriving children of essential nutrients also has long-lasting effects on physical, emotional and psychosocial development. Encouraging kids to eat a well-balanced diet and stay physically active can boost their growth. If you have any concerns about your child’s nutritional requirements, you can reach out to pediatricians on Bajaj Finserv Health. Book an appointment within minutes and take a healthy approach towards the well-being of your child.

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