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Dietary requirements for your child’s growth and development

Every family needs to maintain a healthy diet throughout life. It is very important for children to have a healthy eating lifestyle in order to have normal growth and development. Children need all the necessary nutrients from foods and drinks like milk, vegetables, fruits and other products. Plenty of exercise and play will help to have an immediate impact on the well-being of your child.

Some of the key things that need to be kept in mind for the all-round development of your child are listed below.

Good Habits

Establishing good eating and exercise habits early in life will help your child achieve their growth potential and provide a strong foundation for a healthy life. Children need almost the same types of foods as adults but only in smaller proportions. A good balanced diet will help in the proper brain development of the child.

Calcium needed for healthy bones

Calcium plays an important part in the development of a child’s bones. Though the height of the child is inherently dependant on the parents, children who do not get enough vitamin D and calcium will be shorter than other children of the same age. Children are always active and playful so they need constant and frequent healthy snacks to replenish the calories they burn.

Energy and nutrient needs of your child

Every body composition is made up of body fat, muscle, bone etc. In addition to the amount of physical exercise the child does, their age will determine the energy and nutrient requirements of the child. For e.g., the more muscle an adolescent boy or girl has, the greater is the calorie requirement.

Toddlers have a high amount of body fat which starts to decrease as they enter their primary school years. During puberty the child’s body fat will increase again. Boys and girls have similar amounts of body fat till the end of their adolescent years. Boys lose some of their fat in their adolescent years while girls still have it till their adult years. So boys have higher energy requirements than girls.

Below is a table with the approximate calorie requirement age-wise for boys and girls

AgeBoys Calories(Approx.)Girls Calories)(Approx.)
1-3 years1230 Calories1165 Calories
4-6 years1715 Calories1545 Calories
7-10 years1970 Calories1740 Calories
11-14 years2220 Calories1845 Calories
15-18 years2755 Calories2110 Calories

Vitamin and mineral supplements

As long as children eat a varied diet, they do not need additional supplements. However, today most children are fussy eaters and so they get insufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals. This has resulted in the need for mineral and vitamin supplements.

Calcium

Most children get enough calcium if they have milk, yoghurt, healthy cheese etc., in their diet.

Vitamin D

If a child does not eat meat or oily fish and does not spend time outdoors in the day light, then there may be a deficiency of vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D causes diseases like rickets and other bone problems.Iron

Iron

It is an important requirement for your child’s body. New-borns get enough iron requirements from their mothers through breast milk. It is important to eat iron rich foods or else take iron fortified cereals or other foods to prevent iron deficiency.d. Mineral

Mineral

This mineral plays an important role in the formation of bones and teeth. It helps the body process fat and protein. It is necessary for the secretion of the parathyroid hormone which helps control the levels of calcium in the blood. Magnesium can be found in whole grains, spinach, tofu, red meat, beans, pulses and nuts like cashews and peanuts etc.

Phosphorous

It is essential for development of the body. The amount of phosphorous absorbed from food varies depending upon your need for the mineral. The deficiency in phosphorous can lead to muscle weakness and bone pain. Phosphorous can be found in lentils, seafood, almonds, sunflower seeds etc.

Potassium

Along with sodium and chloride, potassium is involved in controlling the amount of water and maintaining the correct acid-alkali balance in the body. Potassium also helps the body store blood sugar in the form of glycogen, which is the principal source of energy required by all muscles in the body to function properly. Potassium can be found in potatoes, avocados, asparagus, bananas, oranges and tomatoes.g.Sodium

Sodium

In other words means salt. It is one of the most over consumed minerals. Increased salt intake leads to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Zinc

Although it is needed in minute amounts, it is essential for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in normal cell division. Foods that have zinc are eggs, shell fish like crab, oysters, lobsters and soya beans etc.

These are some of the important things that need to be kept in mind while determining the food habits of your family, especially children. The choices you make while buying food will have an impact on the health, vitality and the wellbeing of your family. Eating foods from all food groups in the right quantities will help you achieve maximum benefits.

Please check our earlier article on Lifestyle habits of a healthy family.

Please check our SMART DEALS.

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