Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Nutrition for pre-school children


The ages between one and four are a crucial time for learning  good dietary habits that can lay the foundations for future good health. GOOD NUTRITION AT THIS AGE IS LIKE SOWING SEEDS FOR HEALTHIER TOMMORROW.
Diet directly affects optimal development  of  the body and the brain.
Nutritious food help to form strong teeth and bones, muscles and a healthy body; a good immunity. 

Young children’s need for energy and nutrients is high, but their appetites are small due to small stomach capacity and they can be fussy, too, and it can be a challenge to get your child’s diet right. At this age, children are often good at regulating their appetite. If they’re not hungry, insisting on larger amounts of food can create a battle, which you’re likely to lose. 

Key foods and nutrients

Base your child's intake on the following food groups to help ensure she’s getting all the important nutrients. If the family diet is healthy, children can just have family food. 

Make sure your child has the following, every day: 


Include at least one kind of starchy carbohydrate, such as whole wheat bread, rice, pasta, or potatoes. Young children have small appetites, so high fibre-rich carbohydrates can be bulky and inhibit the absorption of some minerals. Gradually introduce higher fibre carbohydrate foods, so that by the time children are five, they're eating the same fibre-rich foods as the rest of the family. 

Key nutrients:- Carbs which is mainly needed to provide them energy throughtout the day, along with energy they also provide B complex nutrients and also some minerals esp nachni which is rich in both calcium and iron.

Examples:- poha, upma, parathas, khicdi, pulavs, briyani, sandwiches, porridages, bhel, potato chat, tikkis, jowari, corn, nachni 

Fruit and vegetables

Aim for at least five servings a day, where a serving is about a handful in size. Use fruit in puddings, chats and as snacks.

Vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked (serve crunchy rather than very soft to preserve the vitamins and minerals). 

If your child doesn’t like vegetables, try hiding them by pureeing in to soups, sauces, casseroles and pizza toppings.

Key nutrients – Iron, vit A, C, Antioxidants
Milk and dairy foods

Your child should be having the equivalent of about 500 to 600ml of milk and its products a day. Milk can be used in cereals or in drinks,milkshakes, puddings and sauces. Cheese, panir, yoghurt can be given instead of milk. Grated cheese/panir, cheese spread can be used on sandwiches or toast. Try yoghurts as a pudding or snack between meals, served alone or with fruit.
NON VEG – Egg, Meat, fish and alternatives 
Recommend at least two servings of fish a week, one of which should be oily. Use eggs, either boiled, in sandwiches, as omelettes or scrambled.

Pulses and legumes
Try different beans and pulses, such as lentils, baked beans, peas and chickpeas. 

Nutrients- Protein, Calcium, B-12, Vit D, Zinc

BEST FOOD COMBINATIONS- khicdhi, milk+roti, dal+rice/roti, curd rice, dal + roti, idli, dosa, dhokla, uttapa i.e combination of cereal + pulse gives the best quality protein comparable to that of an egg which is considered excellent.

Fats and sugar - Foods to be careful with....

Fatty and sugary foods include spreading fats, cooking oils, sugar, biscuits, cakes, crisps, sweets, chocolate, cream, ice cream and sugary drinks. Don’t give these often, and when you do, make sure they’re in small amounts only. Many of these could affect your child’s intake of more nutritious foods and lead to a less healthy diet Offer them at the end of a meal rather than between meals as a snack.  

Keep total fat intake between 25 to 35 percent of calories for with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.

To sum it up…..

Most kids are going to have fussy food days (or years)
If it’s up to them, kids will only choose food that tastes good and that they are familiar with. 
Kids have to be taught to think about nutritious eating
Parents are food teachers - kids learn eating habits and food choices from their parents......so please look at your food habits first.



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