It's extremely important for children to start to lead a healthy lifestyle, including eating nutritious meals as well as getting plenty of exercise and adequate sleep every day.
These positive health habits will help children grow strong, stay healthy, and decrease the likelihood that they will become obese and have diseases .
Every child needs to take adequate nutrition as this growing age when their bones and brain are developing .
Children are usually very active human being and they need good nutritious food to keep energized . Few children who are into sports needs special diet to keep themselves fit to perform high intensity training. Good nutrition will increase stamina and reduce fatigue.
Children's are fussy eaters, its Parents responsibility to analyse their nutritional needs and make them understand their requirements and achieve their nutrition goals.
Also read :
<-How to add Veggies into Your Child's Diet - >
Lets see what is the Nutrition requirements of Child at their growing ages as below :
Infant - 0 to 6 months of age
Infants usually double their length and triple their weight between birth and one year of age. Breastmilk generally supplies a baby with the required amounts of nutrients, fluids and energy up to about six months of age. It is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed up to around six months of age.
Breastmilk is preferred to infant formula where possible, as it contains many protective and immunological factors that benefit the baby’s development. Fruit juice is not recommended for infants under the age of six months.
Breastmilk or correctly prepared infant formula provides enough water for a healthy infant to replace any water losses. However, all infants need extra water once solid foods are introduced. Incase of formula feeding take care of the following
If you wash and rinse bottles and artificial nipples carefully with hot, clean water boiling or sterilizing them is unnecessary. Be sure to clean out any leftover formula, which can spoil easily and upset your baby's stomach. Some dishwashers have a sanitizing cycle that can give bottles an extra-thorough clean
Always wash your hands carefully before you prepare formula. Be sure all containers and utensils are very clean. Wipe the formula can before opening it
Prepared formula can be kept in the refrigerator for 48 hours if the infant hasn't touched the nipple. If she has, throw out whatever remains after a feeding.
You don't necessarily have to heat up the formula. Although very few babies appreciate really cold formula, some babies are more particular than others. Never heat formula in the microwave. Microwaves heat the formula unevenly, making it deceptively cool in spots and more likely to burn your infant when she hits a hot spot. Hold the bottle under hot water for a few minutes to bring it up to room temperature
Formulas are all pretty similar, but stay with one if it's working well for your infant. In a few cases, switching formulas can help settle little digestive problems, but usually not. Talk to your health care provider before switching your baby's formula.
How Much is Enough : New borns will need feeds every 2 hours or atleast 8 feeds a day initially. baby will drink 60ml for per Kg body weight so if baby is of 3.5 kg she will drink around 210ml of formula milk in 24hours. The amount of milk feed will increase slowly to 90 ml per kg body weight by 4 to 5 day over a week. however these are only approx values it may differ from child to child.NEVER keep 'left over' milk from a bottle for a feed a few hours later. Bacteria from the baby's mouth can accumulate in the milk during this time. ALWAYS give a fresh bottle of formula milk each feed and discard after 1 hour. The baby will usually stay on about 150 mls per kilogram, until they are about 3 to 4 months old. Be aware that your baby will increase in weight over this time, therefore their milk requirements will also usually increase as they grow. As stated above this can vary, with babies possibly drinking anywhere from 60 to 120 mls per feed in first few weeks. To know if your baby is well and 'getting enough' they should be having at least 6 wet nappies over each 24 hour period, by the end of the first week after the birth (newborn babies do not usually pass many wees in the first few days after birth). They should look 'bright-eyed' and active when awake (and not lethargic and disinterested in feeding), as well as have a consistent increase in their weight gain from 10 to 14 days after the birth (babies often lose up to 10% of their weight in the first week after birth). 6 to 12 months of age Solids should be introduced around six months of age to meet the infant’s increasing nutritional and developmental needs. However, breastfeeding should continue until twelve months of age and beyond, or for as long as the mother and child desire. Different societies have their own traditions about which food is more appropriate to start feeding a baby with. Culturally appropriate foods and preparation methods should be encouraged when these are nutritionally adequate. Weaning As a baby is gradually weaned from the breast or bottle and new solids are introduced, there may be reduced body stores of iron. To maintain nutrient body stores: Give your baby foods that are rich in iron and zinc, such as iron-enriched infant cereals, pureed meats and poultry dishes, cooked plain tofu and legumes/soy beans/lentils. Iron-enriched rice-based cereals are frequently recommended as the first food to be introduced, as there is the additional benefit of a lower risk of an allergic reaction.
Foods can be introduced in any order, provided the texture is suitable for the infant’s stage of development. Foods range from fruits and vegetables (for vitamin and mineral content) to meat, poultry, fish and whole eggs..
Do not add salt, sugar or honey to your baby’s food. It is unnecessary.
Avoid cow’s milk as a drink in the first 12 months. Small amounts can be used in cereals and custards. All milk used should be pasteurised.
Whole fruit is preferable to fruit juice. Avoid juices and sugar sweetened drinks.
Put an infant to bed without a bottle, or take the bottle away when the infant has finished feeding to minimise long-term exposure of their teeth to sugar-containing liquids.
Avoid whole nuts, seeds or similar hard foods to reduce the risk of choking.
Introduce foods one at a time. Offer new foods once every three to four days to avoid confusion and to rule out food allergy and sensitivity.
Feed babies during any illness and feed up after illness. Give ample liquids if your baby has diarrhoea.
Occasional exposure of the skin to sunlight is usually enough to provide a baby’s vitamin D requirements, but this does vary from season to season and with skin colour.
2 to 5 Years of Age
What children eat and drink during their early years can affect their health for many years to come. General eating habits are formed in the first few years of life so it is very important that we encourage our children to eat good, wholesome, nutritious food. Healthy children (2 -5 years of age) need to eat these approximate* amounts of food each day from the following food groups: • 3 - 5 serve from the Grains Group. • 1 - 1 1/2 cups from the Vegetable Group • 1 - 1 1/2 cups from the Fruit Group • 2 cups from the Milk Group, and
• 2 - 4 serve from the Meat Group.
A child’s diet should be able to provide his or hers’ body with enough iron.
• Children may feel tired, lack energy and have short attention spans when anemic. See a health care provider if you are concerned about your child being anemic. The healthcare provider can prescribe iron supplements if they determine your child is anemic.
Good food sources for iron: meat, fish, dry beans, peas, spinach/Palaks, iron-fortified cereals, breads, pasta, and rice.
• Iron Tips: The best iron sources are fresh meats like beef, pork and chicken. • Vitamin C helps iron absorption when served with meals. Serve vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables
Importance of Snacks
Young children may not be able to get all the nutrients and calories they need from three meals a day. Snacks help young children get the calories and nutrients they need for normal growth and development.
• Serve your child two healthy snacks each day 1½ to 2 hours between meals.
Some foods may cause children less than 4 years of age to choke: nuts, seeds, popcorn, hot dogs, whole grapes, hard candy, raw carrots, cough drops, chips, chewing gum, peanut butter, marshmallows, raisins, cherries with pit.
Prepare foods so they are not a choking hazard: cut grapes in four pieces, spread peanut butter thin or add apple juice to thin peanut butter before spreading, cut hot dogs and carrots the long way and grind meat or cut it up finely Sit with your children when they are eating. Children should sit at the table rather than walking around when eating.
Children’s appetites change from day to day
Children’s appetites change from day to day
because: of different activity levels;they are having a growth spurt (eat more);they are not feeling well/illness(colds and fl u), they are affected by weather changes(too hot or cold).
Children’s appetites change from day to day the same as adults. You should allow your child to decide how much they will eat each day by offering small amounts of each meal item and allowing them to ask for seconds. Children might refuse at a meal.It is ok for a healthy child to occasionally skip a meal.
Children like foods:
• mild in flavor
• lukewarm in temperature
• bite-size,not mixed together
“In order to get your child to eat certain foods how do you have to prepare them differently from the way you would prepare them for yourself?”
• Let your child help plan and prepare meals.
• Children are very sensitive to taste and temperature of foods. Serve foods with mild flavors that are not too spicy.
• Allow food to cool so it is lukewarm before serving. Don’t serve food that is too hot or toocold.
• Children like finger foods. Cut food in bite-size pieces that are easy to pick up, chew and swallow.
• Chewing meat may be difficult for young children. Serve ground meats, legumes, eggs and peanut
Plan meals to include a variety of taste, textures and colors
Prevent tooth decay:
Limit sweet and sticky foods. Children 2 years and older should brush their teeth atleast twice a day. Children need dental checkups at least once a year.
Tips for Eating Out With Kids
• Eat out at the same time you eat at home.
• Bring a snack for young children to eat while they wait for the food to be served.
• Choose low fat and low sugar foods
Nutrition for children from 6 to 12 years of age
Kids tend to get taller at a pretty steady pace, growing about 2.5 inches (6 to 7 centimeters) each year. When it comes to weight, kids gain about 4 to 7 lbs. (2 to 3 kg) per year until puberty starts. Whole Grains, Breads, Cereals: 7 servings Vegetables: 1 serving dark green vegetables, 3 servings other vegetables Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Milks: 2 servings legumes, 3 /1–cup servings soymilk or other non–dairy milk Fruits: 3 servings Be sure to include a source of vitamin B12, such as any typical children’s multivitamin or vitamin–fortified cereals or soymilk. Energy Energy is provided from the diet by starchy carbohydrates, fats and protein. Serve starchy carbohydrate foods such as bread, rice, pasta, cereals, yams, chapattis, potatoes, and sweet potatoes at each mealtime to satisfy hungry appetites. As a guide around a third of your child's diet should be starchy carbohydrate foods – try to include brown and wholemeal varieties for added fibre. Protein Protein is needed for growth and requirements are high for this age group. The main sources of protein are from meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and eggs. Try to include some protein at each mealtime. Also try to give at least two portions of fish per week - one should be oily such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or pilchards to provide essential omega 3 fats.
Other useful sources of protein, particularly for children following a vegetarian or vegan diet, include pulses, beans, lentils, bread, soya and soya products, nuts and seeds. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring a vegan diet has enough protein.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are vitally important for growing children to provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. You should aim for five portions of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit and vegetables per day. Try to encourage your child to 'eat a rainbow' of colours to provide all the vital nutrients that can protect their health. Potatoes do not count towards five-a-day, and fruit juice only counts as one portion, regardless of how many glasses are drunk in one day. Try adding vegetables to soups, pasta, pizzas and other savoury dishes. Salad can be added as a filling for sandwiches and fruit can be enjoyed with yogurt, breakfast cereals or as a snack.
We all need some fat in our diet as it makes food palatable. It provides essential fatty acids (EFAs) necessary for healthy skin and nerve function and is a concentrated form of energy for growing children. It is the amount and type of fat that needs to be controlled.
Foods high in saturated fat such as butter, cream, pastries, cakes, fatty meats and meat products, fast foods, biscuits and confectionery should be limited to treats. Fat in the diet should be provided from milk, low fat yogurts, lean meat, oil rich fish, cooking oils, margarine and reduced fat spreads labelled high in monounsaturates or polyunsaturates.
Children between the ages of seven and 10 years should have no more than 5g of salt per day. Sodium occurs naturally in many foods and there is no need to add extra salt try using herbs, pepper, garlic and spices instead.
Salt is often present in large amounts in processed food so read labels carefully and limit snack foods that are high in salt such as crisps.
Sugars occur naturally in fruits and vegetables and in milk. Foods that are high in added sugars such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate, sweets and other confectionery should be limited and only be eaten occasionally at mealtimes. Eating sugary foods frequently between meals can cause dental decay. All children should be encouraged to brush their teeth regularly.
Fruit juices can provide important vitamin C but they are high in natural sugars so serve them diluted. Encourage your child to drink milk and water in between meals and avoid fizzy drinks and those high in added sugars.
Bone health: Calcium (Phosphorus)
• Dairy: 3 servings per day for children.
• Serving= glass of milk, 1 bowl of yogurt or a matchbox-sized (1oz) piece of cheese.
• There is relatively no difference in the calcium content between full fat, low-fat and skimmed milk.
• Low fat milk is suitable for children over 2 years ( provided they are eating well) and
• Skimmed milk should not be introduced before the age of 5 years.
Bone health Vitamin D
5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back
Some fortified brands of soya milks, yogurts and desserts – check the label
A few fortified breakfast cereals – check the label. Dried skimmed milk, Fortified yoghurts (Curd /Dahi ) , Eggs,Oily fish: mackerel, herring, other Fish items.
Iron is necessary for healthy blood and a lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Iron deficiency anaemia is associated with frequent infections, tiredness, poor growth, poor weight gain and low moods. Spinach ( Palak) is good source of Iron.
Meat, especially red meat, and oily fish are the best sources of iron in the diet. Children following vegetarian and vegan diets need to eat a plentiful supply of iron-rich foods. Beans and lentils, whole grain cereals, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and watercress, dried fruit, sunflower seeds and fortified breakfast cereals are all good sources. However, iron from plant foods is not absorbed as well as it is from animal sources.
Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron from foods so serve plenty of fruit and vegetables at mealtimes. A glass of diluted fruit juice is also another good way of providing vitamin C with meals.
Kids who eat breakfast perform better in school .
Set a sleeping time for the child to encourage the child to observe this sleeping time so he or she can wake up early and have enough time to eat an adequate breakfast. The child should also have at least 8 hours of sleep or more.
A good breakfast is one that provides about 1/3 of the total energy and nutrient requirements of the child. A well-balanced breakfast should consist of rice or bread or other cereals like oatmeal; a protein-rich food like egg or fried fish or meat; a vitamin C-rich fruit like papaya or mango, and a vegetable.
Another concern affecting children is the intake of foods that are calorie-dense; i.e. high in fat,salt and sugars, but low in nutrients that may result to dental caries, hypercholesterolemia, nutrient deficiency and even obesity.
One way to ensure that the child gets the nutrition she/he needs for the day is ensuring that she/he has a lunchbox containing nutritious foods. Just like breakfast, a packed lunch should provide at least 1/3 of the child’s daily energy and nutrient needs.
Nutrition for 13 to 18 years of age
This is the time of very rapid growth and high demands for nutrients and energy. The rapid growth period starts at the age of 10 or 11 for girls and at the age of 12 or 13 for boys and continues for about 2.5 years. Adolescents need high intakes of calories, vitamins and minerals, especially iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and D. During this time, boys and girls begin to reach puberty (gaining sex characteristics to mature into men and women) and nutritional needs start to differ, although good nutrition is essential for both sexes to grow into healthy adults. Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for our bodies. Starchy carbohydrate foods such as bread, rice, pasta, cereals, yams, chapattis, potatoes and sweet potatoes should be served at each mealtime to satisfy hungry appetites. As a guide about one third of the diet should be made up of starchy foods.
Iron is necessary for healthy blood and a lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia, which is associated with frequent infections, poor growth, poor weight gain and low moods. Lack of iron can also cause tiredness, difficulty in concentrating and a shortened attention span – all of which can particularly affect teenagers studying at school and for exams. Teenage girls are especially vulnerable to iron deficiency when they start their periods and have growth spurts.
Meat, especially red meat, and oily fish are the best sources of iron in the diet. Lean minced beef is a good source of iron and it can be used in a variety of ways – spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, cottage pie, pasta bake, chilli con carne or 100% beef burgers.
Teenagers following vegetarian and vegan diets need to eat a plentiful supply of iron-rich foods. Beans and lentils, whole grain cereals, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and watercress, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereals are all good sources. However, iron from plant foods is not absorbed as well as it is from animal sources. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron from foods so serve plenty of fruit and vegetables at mealtimes. A glass of diluted fruit juice is also another good way of providing vitamin C with meals.
Fat is important in the diet to provide energy, help the body absorb essential vitamins and maintain healthy skin and nerve function. However, a diet high in saturated fats can block arteries and raise cholesterol. It is important therefore to limit the amount of foods high in saturated fat in your teenager’s diet eg fast foods, cakes, biscuits, pies and pastries, fatty meats, butter and cream.
Try to choose foods such as lean meat, low fat yogurts, oily fish, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils and reduced fat spreads labelled high in monounsaturates or polyunsaturates. If your teenager is overweight encourage them to eat a healthy diet and be active rather than focus on losing weight.
Protein is needed for growth and energy and should be provided at each mealtime. Healthy sources of protein include lean meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. Try to include two portions of fish every week – one of which should be oily such as prawns, mackerel, other fish items to provide essential omega 3 fats. Young men can have up to four portions of oily fish a week but young women should avoid having more than two portions of oily fish a week if they hope to have a child in the future.
Calcium is an important mineral for teenagers, to ensure their bones and teeth continue to grow. Milk is a great source of calcium and a healthier alternative to sugary, fizzy drinks too. Dairy products such as low-fat yogurts and cheeses are also important sources. Vegetarian teenagers should meet all their calcium requirements if milk and dairy products are included frequently in the diet.
Teenagers who follow a vegan diet will find it more difficult to meet calcium requirements. It is, therefore, important to include the following useful sources of calcium: soya bean products, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, white bread, sesame seeds, dried fruit and foods fortified with extra calcium such as soya milk and breakfast cereals.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are vitally important to provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Your teenager should aim for five portions of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit and vegetables per day. Try to encourage them to 'eat a rainbow' of colours to provide all the essential nutrients that can protect their health.
Fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C such as oranges, tomatoes, blackcurrants, peppers and watercress are particularly good for teenagers as the vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron and also helps maintain healthy skin. Potatoes do not count towards five-a-day, and fruit juice only counts as one portion, regardless of how many glasses are drunk in one day.
On average most people eat too much salt. Teenagers should try to eat no more than 6g per day. Salt is often present in large amounts in processed foods, so encourage your teenager to read food labels and avoid snack foods that are high in salt, eg crisps.
Natural sugars are found in fruits, vegetables and milk. Foods that are high in added sugars eg biscuits, sweets, cakes and chocolates should be limited and only be eaten occasionally at mealtimes. Sweet, sugary foods and snacks between meals can cause dental decay. Teenagers need to brush their teeth regularly Twice. Encourage your teenager to drink milk or water whenever possible and to avoid fizzy, sugary drinks.
Disclaimer : Please Note : All nutrition tips shared are per standard nutrition guidelines, however, it might effect from body to body.
Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health.
Please speak to your Nutritionist before following any diet. Swasthlife does not hold responsible for any kind of claims.
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