Early childhood, which includes the preschool stage (2–5 years), is a crucial phase of physical, emotional, and mental development that forms the foundation of a person’s future.
A balanced diet for kids is essential for their health and development. Children in the age range of 2-5 years have an energy requirement of approximately 1000 to 1400 calories per day. To support the child’s growth and development during this phase of life, they need to consume healthy meals that are nutrient dense. Healthy recipes for kids should comprise of all the below mentioned food groups in the right amounts:
1. Healthy Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are essential for children’s brain development and focus. When broken down by the body, carbs are turned into simple sugars that circulate in the bloodstream and are used by cells for energy. The brain also uses one of these simple sugars, known as glucose, as its primary energy source. This is why kids need carbohydrates in their diets to stay alert and active during the day.
Try to include whole grain products in your diet like multigrain cereals, whole wheat rotis, etc.
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese can help provide a well-rounded diet for growing children. Dairy is high in beneficial nutrients like protein, calcium, and vitamin D – all which are important for a child’s development.
Milk and milk products are an important source of calcium and protein. Yoghurt has many micronutrients and is amazing for gut health. It should be a part of every growing kid’s diet on a regular basis.
Protein is important for many different things in the body, including helping muscles recover and repair after exercise, and keeping skin, organs, blood, hair, and nails healthy. The body can make 11 of the 20 amino acids that make up protein, but the other 9 have to come from food.
Children who don’t consume enough protein may suffer from health complications, including fatigue, poor concentration, slowed growth, bone and joint pain, delayed wound healing and decreased immunity.
Egg & meat products are a good source of protein & micronutrients.Protein is also present in abundance in chickpeas, tofu and paneer – which should be introduces in a child’s diet.
4. Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and Vegetables aren’t only good because they provide essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and folic acid but also contain other plant substances that are believed to help lower the risk of developing some cancers and heart diseases. So, not only are they good – they could also help avoid some serious health problems down the line!
Seasonal fruit should always be introduced in a kid’s diet. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, peas, broccoli, etc. should be given to child in a fun way in the form of pulao, parathas and much more.
6. Oils and Fats
Healthy fats are essential for growth and development, and young kids need them in their diet for normal brain development. In addition to providing fuel for the body, fats also help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K). These vitamins can only be absorbed if there is fat in a person’s diet.
Ghee should be included in a kid’s diet in controlled amounts and nuts like walnuts, almonds need to be added to the diet.
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Food for a child should be fun and incredibly nutritious. It is always a good idea to tell your kids about the value and the merits of the food that they eat and involve them in their meals. Asking them what they like and making them try new things since early years will help them develop a good relationship with food and balanced diet!