Healthy food is essential for the growth and development of both physical & mental health of a child
If the nutritional foundation is good, then the child will grow up to be healthy, well adjusted, both physically & mentally strong. Therefore, it should be the primary concern of every parent to ensure the child is eating well and eats the right type of food to achieve this goal, it becomes very important for parents to have some knowledge of nutrition.
So, let’s begin with the basic facts about nutrition now all the foods available to us contain some nutrients which are carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, fats & sugar, fiber and water let us understand what function these nutrients perform for body growth.
Carbohydrates, fats & sugar supply energy to the body and provide fiber to maintain gut health. Proteins help in building and repairing tissues in the body. Vitamins and minerals provide protection to the body from diseases. Water forms a medium so that food can be digested well.
And let’s see which foods provide the above-mentioned nutrients and for convenience all foods are divided into following six groups:
- First food group which should be chosen as mainstay of diet is provided by -whole grains, millets starchy fruits like banana, mango, Chiku etc. and starchy Vegetables like potato, sweet-potato, arbi etc. and whole pulses are essentially main sources of carbohydrates
- The second very essential group to be included daily is all dals and meat group dals, besan, soya egg, meat, chicken and fish helps in body building.
- The third food group is dairy products e.g., milk, dahi, paneer, cheese, main sources of calcium and proteins especially for vegetarians and help in developing strong bones and teeth.
- The fourth group includes all non-starchy fruits and vegetable main sources of vitamins and minerals
- The fifth group is of fats and includes all types of oil, ghee, butter and all types of nuts and seeds etc.
- The sixth group is of sugars, including gur, sugar, dates etc. Both fats and sugars provide the energy + Satiety value yet dangerous group to be used judicially.
Now no single food will provide all the nutrients so parents must learn to include a lot of variety of foods.
From all above food groups and choose better foods from each group
A few tips limit processed foods as they contain sugar and salt both and stripped of fiber e.g., boiled corn or even frozen corn are better than corn flakes. Milk shakes with fresh fruit is better than adding bottled chocolate syrups, or ready-made shakes
Fresh fruits are better than using packaged juices. Curd or plain yogurt is better than using flavored yogurts, or smoothies.