Generally, kids are choosy while eating foods. Sometimes, it is really difficult for the parents to make them eat the nutrients that help them to become healthy and active. But what are the healthiest foods for your kids? & how will you decide that? Often, parents get confused in understanding what kind of healthy foods they should give to their kids. Many parents don’t like to force their children to eat foods they dislike. Naturally, while kids want to have junk foods like hot dogs, pizza, french fries, ice-cream, soda and other processed foods, parents don’t find any other options to stop their habits.
You don’t have to get a degree in nutrition to encourage your child to have nutrient-enriched foods. All you have to understand which foods are beneficial for your kid’s health. After that, you can make a nutrient chart for your kids on your own.
Protein is observed as one of the most vital micronutrients that help in the growth of a kid. A child’s muscles, skin, enzymes, organs, hair, nails, almost everything is developed by the proteins which are made up of building blocks known as amino acids. Amino acids contribute a lot to the mental and physical health of a child. Therefore, whether it is plant-based protein or animal-based, it is essential to take for a healthy lifestyle, especially for the kids.
Benefits of Protein for Kids
- Proteins in different food items help to produce specialized protein molecules in the human body which play a major role in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an important component of the blood that supplies oxygen to each and every part of the body.
- Lack of protein may invite several serious issues like weakness, poor immunity, depression, poor concentration, loss of muscle mass, bone fractures, infections, fatty liver, skin, hair & nail problems and so on.
- Without enough protein in the body, the process of healthy metabolism can be prevented. Proteins in the form of hormones and enzymes encourage healthy metabolism that helps the body to have the proper shape and at the same time in the generation and regeneration of cells in the body.
How Much Protein Do Children Need
Protein is a must-nutrient for your child and the quantity of protein needed for the body actually increases as the child grows older. Here we are representing you a quantity list of protein required for kids of different age groups.
- 0 to 12 months of age: 9.1 grams of protein
- 1 to 3 years of age: 13 grams of protein
- 4 to 8 years of age: 19 grams of protein
- 9 to 13 years of age: 34 grams of protein every day
Ideal Protein Requirement for Kids
The parents need to choose foods that contain high levels of proteins. So how will you choose the kids-friendly nutrients? We are presenting some basic guidelines that will help you a lot.
Dairy Products: Dairy products provide a lot of nutrients that kids need. Calcium and Vitamin D, the two most important elements are essential for building bone and strengthening muscles. The most important dairy products for the kids are milk, paneer, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese.
Eggs: Kids just love eating eggs. Many parents think that consuming eggs is not that good as they contain cholesterol. Yes, eggs have cholesterols but they do not contain a lot of saturated fat. So, it is considered as good cholesterol. You can give an egg every other day to your kids.
Poultry: Most of the kids love to have meat which is actually good for their health. You can try different recipes of meat if your kids get bored with it. You can make a chicken sandwich or a delicious chicken curry which will bring good taste to your child as well as enough protein supplements.
Fish: Fish is essential for a child to develop their brain, muscles, bones, vision and nervous system. Fatty fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that helps to boost metabolism and strengthen the immune system.
Beans: Probably, one of the cheapest protein intakes is beans. Besides this, it is also enriched with fiber which helps in promoting healthy digestion. There are various types of beans like black beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans available in the market. You can try a bean salad recipe or give your kids to chomp boiled beans garnished with a little bit of salt and black pepper. There is also some pasta available which are made of beans and we all know that kids love pasta.
Nuts & Seeds: Let your kids crunch some nuts and seeds every day because they are loaded with healthy combinations of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Mix some cashews, walnuts, almonds, chia and pumpkin seeds and serve your kids with a big smile. As nuts consist of good amount of magnesium, it plays a crucial role in developing bones and producing more energy. You can also add some flaxseeds to smoothies or make a quinoa seed salad that your kids will definitely enjoy.
The most important source of energy for babies is carbohydrates and yes, don’t insist your child to walk with the new diet trend of “cut the carbs.” Both simple and complex carbohydrates are the main source of energy. Kids are constantly moving and they generally engage themselves with so many activities. Naturally, they need a large amount of energy to fuel their day. Our body breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars and assimilates them into the bloodstream to boosts more energy.
Benefits of Carbohydrates for Kids
- Curbs your hunger: Carbohydrates satiates the hunger by raising the levels of hormones that make you feel satisfied by energizing your metabolism.
- Enliven your moods: Carbohydrates help in increasing levels of serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain. Studies show that it supplies stress-reducing chemicals to the brain that makes a kid becoming calm and attentive.
How Many Carbohydrates Do Children Need
- 1 to 3 years of age: 19 grams
- 4 to 8 years of age: 25 grams
- 9 to 13 years of age: 31 grams
Ideal Carbohydrate Requirement for Kids
Grain, Bread, Cereals: Grains are an essential part of a healthy diet for a kid as it provides lots of nutrients and energy for the growth and development of a child. Starches are the example of complex carbohydrates that are found in whole grains. You may choose a breakfast-cereal for your kids. How to make it? Take some multi-grain cereals, now add some chopped banana or any other fruits and mix it well. After that, pour some milk into it. Some easy-to-cook whole-grain foods are oatmeal, brown rice, brown bread sandwich, roti, whole-wheat pasta and pancakes.
Vegetables: Vegetables like potato, sweet potato, corn, pumpkin, peanuts, squash are high in carbohydrates. You can offer your child a vegetable soup or boiled vegetables with a pinch of salt and lemon juice. Start introducing your kids to a variety of vegetables at an early age with a lot of choices.
Legumes: Legumes are an excellent source of multi-nutrients. Some of the most common legumes are kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Fruits: Fruits are an excellent source of carbohydrates as it forms fructose and glucose. Interestingly, dried fruits contain more carbs. So while serving your child oatmeal or cereals, you can add some dried dates or prunes. Fruits are the example of simple carbohydrates.
With the help of nutrients like fats, the body uses to build nerve tissue and hormones. Sometimes the fats consumed are not burned as energy but stored by the body in fat cells for future use. Kids need enough fats for growth and development. Fats can be divided into three major parts: Unsaturated fats, Saturated fats, Trans fats. The best source of unsaturated fats is in plant foods and lean fish. Saturated fats are found in meat and other animal products like milk ( not skimmed), cheese, butter and ghee. We get trans fats from processed foods, commercial junk foods and snacks like pizza, French fries, potato chips, chocolate, cakes, pastries, cookies and so on.
Benefits of Fats for Kids
With the help of fats, our bodies absorb most important nutrients like vitamin A, D, E and K which are essential for developing our central ne