Nutritional needs for children differ with time and age. To ensure your kids thrive well in all aspects, it is your responsibility to care and pay attention to the nutritional needs of your child. A balanced diet is crucial no matter whether your baby is a toddler, preschooler, grade-schooler, or teenager.
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Nutrient deficiencies have become pretty common and cause uncommon problems. Your modern diet may lack several vital nutrients, let’s explore some of them, one by one:
- Protein – Kwashiorkor, a severe form of malnutrition that can occur due to lack of protein in diets. Include meat, poultry, fish, egg, peanut butter, milk, and protein-rich supplements in your diet.
- Iron – The consequence of iron deficiency is Anemia. Therefore, do include spinach, beans, nuts, dry fruits, meat, and iron-fortified foods in the diet.
- Iodine – Enlarged thyroid gland (goitre), mental retardation, and developmental abnormalities occur due to lack of iodine in food. Usage of Iodised salt is one means of accommodating Iodine in the diet.
- Vitamin A – World’s leading cause of blindness is Vitamin A deficiency. Include Vitamin A rich foods in the diet to fulfil its requirements. Such as orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, Red Palm Oil, Liver, sweet potato etc.,
- Calcium– Osteoporosis, a fatal bone disease in which bones become fragile, is the outcome of calcium deficiency. Therefore, include calcium-rich foods in your diet such as boned fish, dairy products, dark green vegetables, and so on.
- Magnesium – Abnormal heartbeats, fatigue, asthma, depression are the outcomes of the lack of magnesium in diets. Thus, it’s better to recognize its importance and include it in your child’s diet.
Multiple nutrients play a crucial role in the integrated development of the child. A well-planned and balanced diet can fulfil all the needs of your young champ!
Let’s take a glance at the nutrition tips for a toddler, preschooler, grade-schooler, and teenager.
Nutrition Tips for Toddlers (1-3 years)
A toddler is a child between the ages of one and three. Between the ages of 1-3, a child starts using spoon (though proficiency takes a little while) for self-feeding and shows eagerness to make food choices.
See below table to get an idea of feeding toddlers.
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|Food Groups||Servings for 12-24 Months||Servings for 24-36 Months|
|Milk||1 – 1½ cups (whole milk)||2 cups milk (low-fat milk)|
|Protein (eggs, beans, peanut butter, small fibres of meat, poultry, and boneless fish)||2 ounces protein||2-4 ounces protein|
|Grains ( wheat bread, pasta, and rice)||1 ounce = 28 grams (at least half whole grain)||5 ounces grains (at least half whole grain)|
|Dairy Products||1 cup full-fat yogurt, or 1 – 1½ ounces soft pasteurized cheese||1 cup low-fat yogurt, or 1 – 1½ ounces cottage cheese|
|Iron-fortified cereals (barley, oats, wheat, and mixed cereals)||As per RDA’s
Not sounding technically appropriate to use the phrase “As per instructions”
|As per instructions|
|Fruits (well-sliced)||1 cup fruit||1 – 1½ cup fruit (fresh, frozen, canned, or dried)|
|Vegetables (finely cut and well-cooked)||1 cup||1 – 1½ cup vegetables|
|Pure fruits and vegetable juice||4 – 6 ounces per day||4 – 6 ounces per day|
|Honey||As per instructions||As per instructions|
Nutrition Tips for Preschoolers, Grade-Schoolers, and Teenagers (14-18 Years)
Gradually, children start developing strong opinions (likes and dislikes) about food. Let your child explain what he/she wants to eat. Permit them to eat what they want but within boundaries. Strive to provide balance and also motivate your child to make healthy choices. Parents are the direct role models for their young ones. Resorting to healthy food choices, regular intake of water and healthy liquids, adequate sleep, modest exercise are an inevitable part of a healthy eating regime
|Nutritional Needs||For 4-8 Years||For 9-13 Years||For 14-18 Years|
|Calories||Girls: 1,200 – 1,800*
Boys: 1,200 – 2,000*
|Girls: 1,400 – 2,200*
Boys: 1,600 – 2,600*
|Protein||Girls: 3 – 5 ounces
Boys: 3 – 5.5 ounces
|Girls: 4 – 6 ounces
Boys: 5 – 6.5 ounces
|Girls: 5 – 6.5 ounces
Boys: 5.5 – 7 ounces
|Fruits||Girls: 1 – 1.5 cups
Boys: 1 – 2 cups
|Girls: 1.5 – 2 cups
Boys: 1.5 – 2 cups
|Girls: 1.5 – 2 cups
Boys: 2 – 2.5 cups
|Vegetables||Girls: 1.5 – 2.5 cups
Boys: 1.5 – 2.5 cups
|Girls: 1.5 – 3 cups
Boys: 2 – 3.5 cups
|Girls: 2.5 – 3 cups
Boys: 2.5 – 4 cups
|Grains||Girls: 4 – 6 ounces
Boys: 4 – 6 ounces
|Girls: 5 – 7 ounces
Boys: 5 – 9 ounces
|Girls: 6 – 8 ounces
Boys: 6 – 10 ounces
|Dairy||Girls: 2.5 cups
Boys: 2.5 cups
|Girls: 3 cups
Boys: 3 cups
|Girls: 3 cups
Boys: 3 cups