Feeding children can be quite overwhelming and challenging. While doing our best one thing that comes to our mind is whether the kids are meeting their daily requirements or not…
Indeed, very true that you try your best to feed your child. There is no doubt that we leave no stone unturned to fulfil our child’s basic need that being hunger. But are we really feeding them food which is rich in nutrients or food that is calorie dense? If children eat a well maintained balanced diet with a mix of fruit, veggies, along with foods rich in iron, calcium and other minerals then a child’s daily requirement of vitamins is met.
Let’s just take a simple quiz and find out whether your child is getting the most nutrients from her food:
1. Some vegetables are healthy for your child — True / False
If you answered False, then there are no bad vegetables. It is that some vegetables are richer in minerals and vitamins as compared to the others. Bright coloured vegetables like carrots, broccoli, peppers have more nutrients over cucumbers. While packing your child’s tiffin make sure to pack the whole fruit like an apple rather than sauces … as the child gets extra vitamins from apple peel. A healthy tiffin should comprise of a fruit, some protein and whole grain.
2. If your child does not drink milk, his calcium needs can be met by food — True / False
When you think calcium you usually think about milk, yoghurt and cheese. Worried, if your child does not take any of these. Well, foods like almonds, red beans, figs, orange and orange juice are rich sources of calcium. Calcium is necessary for children as it helps them in the formation of strong teeth and bones. For the absorption of calcium give your child cheese, egg yolks and fish.
3. An egg is a better breakfast than cereals — True / False
Definitely, an egg is better for breakfast. Agreed that you are running late and you toss up cereals with milk and fruit for your child, but foods with high protein like eggs take the top spot for breakfast. The reason behind this is that these keep the child’s energy higher for a longer time as compared to cereals. Other than eggs you can also offer fruit smoothies, oats, vermicelli, tapioca (sabutdana) pearls, rawa and ragi dosa.
4. Do you ensure that your child is getting the required iron — True / False
Appropriate amounts of iron are essential for making red blood cells. These in turn supply oxygen to the organs and tissues. Foods like spinach, nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds, raisins, potato skins and peanut butter are high in iron. These should often be served with foods which are rich in vitamin C like oranges, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, tomatoes and bell peppers. This is because absorption of iron is better when taken along with vitamin C. Do keep in mind to limit your child’s milk intake to 2-3 glasses a day as milk hinders in the absorption of iron.
5. I have a picky eater and I am worried that my kid is not getting the required vitamins — True / False
Often children say they are full, despite touching their plates. But don’t worry, even small amounts of food fulfil the need for minerals and vitamins (but this should not be practised daily). In case a child does not eat at all or just eats few things or the child does not want to drink milk because he prefers colas, then opting for multivitamins would be great. Hold on, before you start those multivitamins, make sure you consult your paediatrician for the exact dosage.
Is your kid getting the most from her food? Don’t worry, take each day as it comes. Eating habits of children change from time to time thus affecting their nutritional requirements as well.