Power Up Your Child’s Nutrition
Did you know that between the ages of 6 – 12 years, your child has a growth surge – growing up to 6 cms in height each year?
It’s a stage marked with high nutritional and caloric needs. So how do you ensure that your child gets all the necessary nutrients to support their growth during these crucial years?
Child nutrition experts recommend that children consume a balanced diet that include the macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils as well as the micronutrients such as specific vitamins and minerals that are essential for growth.
Macronutrients – Power up their day
- Carbohydrates should constitute more than half your child’s ingested daily calories to supply them with the energy they need.
- Proteins are needed at this age to build up muscle and nerve cells necessary for their high activity levels.
- Fats and Oils, given sparingly, provide them with the essential nutrients for maintaining active body functions.
Micronutrients: Keeps them on the go
One of the most important micronutrients that children need to grow is Iron.
Iron gives kids the energy to stay active. Iron also contributes to their optimal mental development, which means they learn better. Studies have shown that children who suffer from Iron-deficiency lag behind their peers in mental and physical activities.
How do you ensure your child gets enough iron?
Give your child adequate portions of meats and legumes (lentils, beans and chickpeas). Along with these foods, also offer them foods rich in Vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberry, kiwi, broccoli, green pepper) as these will help increase the absorption of Iron in their body.
You can boost your child’s intake of Iron by giving them fortified foods such as Fortified Milk and Breakfast Cereals.
VITAMINS: The Mega Boost of Energy and Vitality
Growing kids need the B Vitamins. They help produce energy from carbohydrates in every cell of your child’s body, thus providing them with efficient energy release and vitality.
Sources of B Vitamins are whole-grain products, fortified cereals, meats (rich in Vitamins B1, B2, B6), legumes, nuts, milk and other dairy products (rich in Vitamin B12 and Riboflavin), eggs and green leafy vegetables (folic acid). In addition to these, also give your child foods rich in Vitamin C as they help produce energy in their body cells.
BONE NUTRIENTS: Growth and Strength from Within!
Childhood and early adolescence is the time when the skeleton is built and peak bone mass is attained. Good nutrition is important at this stage for healthy bone formation and prevention of osteoporosis later in life.
Your child needs optimum amounts of Calcium and Phosphorus to help them form strong, healthy bones. In addition to this, they also need adequate amounts of Vitamin , which helps their body absorb calcium and deposit it in their bones.
How do you ensure your child has strong and healthy bones?
- Expose your child to at least 20 minutes of sunshine, which is a good source of Vitamin D, 3 times a week.
- Offer your child Vitamin D-fortified milk and dairy products.
- Remember to offer 3 servings of dairy a day for adequate Calcium and Phosphorus intake. Exercise is good.
- Healthy activity helps strengthen your child’s muscles and bones.
WATER: The drink of champions
Water is a vital nutrient for the life of every cell in your child’s body.
Kids have special water requirements because:
- Their bodies contain higher amounts of water (60-70%)
- They lose water easily and more frequently
- It not always easy for them to remind us that they are thirsty
Children should therefore be encouraged to drink water even if they are not thirsty.