Your child’s diet plays a crucial role in his/her development. As a parent, one of the most important things you do is to help your children learn healthy eating habits. Children need a balanced healthy diet with food from all food groups, i.e. vegetables and fruits, whole grains products, dairy and meat, and also protein rich foods.
It’s no surprise that parents might need some help in understanding what it means to eat healthy. The good news is that you don’t need a degree in nutrition to raise healthy kids. All vegetables and fruits are healthy it may be any color, shape, texture or variety. They may be raw, cooked, steamed, boiled, micro-waved, stir fried or roasted. Variety is important, try to choose different colored fruits and vegetables. Never assume your child dislikes a particular fruit or vegetable. The next time you offer it may be the day they decide to try it. Children’s taste preferences do change with age.
An important component of the diet is calcium; it helps in the formation and maintains the bones, especially in growing kids. Over 99%of the body’s calcium is found in bones and teeth. Inadequate intake of calcium can keep your child from attaining peak bone mass, make their bones weak and lead to many problems. Including calcium rich food in your child’s diet is imperative. Include milk and dairy products like milk is the number one source of calcium in the diets of children aged 2 to 18 years. Regular intake of milk increases mineral content and bone mineral density and also reduces the risk of diabetes. Also include millets like kodo, foxtail, barnyard, finger millets (ragi) which are rich source of calcium with 300 to 350mg mineral per 100 gm and can be included in your child’s diet to promote healthy bone development.
TIPS FOR PARENTS TO ENSURE GOOD NUTRITIONAL HABITS FOR SCHOOL GOING CHILDREN.
- Always serve breakfast, even if it has to be ‘on the run’. Some healthy breakfast which can be served quickly include fruit, milk, cheese and toast, cereal like oats, cornflakes, peanut butter and sandwiches, fruit smoothies.
- After schooling serve healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables and dip, yogurt, vegetable or egg sandwich, cheese and crackers, milk and cereal.
- Explain about healthy eating looks like by setting a good example at mealtimes.
- Allow children to help with meal planning and preparation.
- Serve meals at table instead of serving in front of television to avoid distraction.
- Fill 50% of the plate with colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Guide you children the importance of water and its necessity and encourage them to have at least 2-3 liters of water per day.
- Encourage the physical activity at least an hour daily which includes organized sporting activities or something as simple as dancing or gardening.
- Enjoy talking and sharing the daily’s happening with family at mealtimes.
- Limit sugary drinks such as soda and fruit flavored drinks.
- Limit fast food and low nutrient snacks such as chips and candy.
- Limit the fat intake by avoiding fried foods instead go for broiling, grilling, roasting and steaming process.
- Serve the lean meats and other rich source of protein such as fish, eggs, beans, paneer, soya chunks or soya bean and nuts.
- Choose whole grain breads and cereals so child get more fiber.
- Be a role model as kids will follow the lead of the adults they see every day. Over all the main message is to focus on diet quality and healthy eating habits.
HEALTHY TIPS FOR SCHOOL GOING CHILDRENS DURING SCHOOLING
When children attend the school, they move beyond the protected confines of their homes into a new environment. So it is the responsibility of parents to teach children proper hygiene as he/she will be susceptible to various illnesses like cough, cold, fever, head lice etc. Here are few health tips for school going children.
- Hygiene starts with hands so ensure your child’s finger nails are clean.
- Teach your child to wash their hands before eating food and also after using the toilet.
- Ensure your child wash his/her hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing nose.
- Children love their pets so guide them to wash their hands after petting or stroking the animals.
- Keep your child’s school bag clean and free from remnants of food.
- Ensure your child changes in to a clean set of socks regularly.
- Always wash the school uniform in high temperature to kill the bacteria.
- Teach your child to cover his/her mouth while coughing and sneezing.
- Make sure that your child wear cotton-lined socks instead of those made of synthetic fiber so that his/her feet can breathe.
- Always pack the food that has been freshly prepared along with a bottle of clean water.
- Boost your child immune system by maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress and regular exercise.
- Be on the lookout for anxiety or stress in your child by finding out how to spot the symptoms of stress and find ways to manage his/her anxiety.
- Giving your child a brain boosting healthy breakfast which includes a low fat, high protein, and complex carbohydrate for maintaining a steady level of energy throughout the day.
- Provide your child healthy after school snacks which is easily prepared like ,
- Apple with peanut butter.
- Whole grain pasta or bean dip.
- Vegetable poha
- Grilled egg sandwich.
- Dry fruit ladoo.
- Whole fruit seasonal.
- Oatmeal or Whole grain mini muffins.
- Boiled egg