A healthy child is a happy child. For proper growth and development, the right nutrition should be given to them, be it the toddlers or the preschool children. It not only meets their energy requirements but also helps in growth and overall development. The branch of nutrition that deals with the nutrition of children are called ‘pediatrics’. You might have heard about or met a pediatrician that tells you what to feed your child. Why is the ‘child nutrition’ a matter of concern then? The world data reveals that a large spectrum of children fall under the malnourished side or on the over-nourished side.Children are the future of a nation and proper nourishment ensures their good health that is why it is very important in order to build a disease-free and healthier future. Most of the children of the higher socio-economic status fall prey to obesity by binging on junk foods. How to ensure the proper nutrition of your child then? Let us discuss here-

For infants

it is the very first stage of life in the real world. The main focus is on breast milk because it is tailor-made for the baby and has all the nutrients and antibodies needed to build immunity in his body. Weaning is done after six months along with regular breastfeeding. The food should be fresh and wholesome. The composition is usually liquid or semi-solid that doesn’t require chewing. Easily digestible foods should be given like boiled fruits and vegetables, fortified boiled cereals that have enough iron and zinc. Simple unsaturated fats can be given but not in high amounts.

Toddlers and preschool children

children at this stage are hungry and demand frequent meals. They should be given high-calorie foods rich in carbohydrates, protein and normal amounts of fats (15-20g/day). The calcium demands can be met with milk and milk products and vegetables like GLVs. In the case of lactose intolerant and milk allergic children, calcium-fortified foods and supplements can be given. The RDA ranges from 1000-1500Kcal.

School children and pre-teens

children become more selective in foods and develop likes and dislikes. The energy requirements increase therefore the diet should be wholesome, rich in carbohydrates, fibers, protein, fats, and vitamins. The academic life makes them busy and they might not get hungry. The best alternative is to make healthy food tastier. Since they are going to be reproductively active soon, their daily food intake should be increased. Eating fried and junk food can make them overweight so don’t allow your child to eat those kinds of foods, and depend more on home cooked and organic foods!