A balanced diet is extremely important for all of us, but it is especially important for kids. Food has a major impact on the overall wellbeing, growth and development of children. It is essential to give your child a diet that includes all vital nutrients, minerals and vitamins. A balanced diet for kids must include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and lean meat and fish, if your preferences are non-vegetarian.
Getting kids to adhere to a balanced diet and adopting healthier eating habits is no easy feat. Any new food item is often welcomed with skepticism and caution. It can be a difficult task to get children to eat nutritional foods if they taste different or appear unappetizing. A good way to tackle this is to combine healthy food with your child’s favourite food items. A different appearance can be intriguing, while pairing the food item with something that they like might help in getting them to try something new.
Here are a few ideas that you can use to introduce some healthy food into your kid’s daily diet.
Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. Children who eat more vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases at a later stage. Most vegetables are usually low in fat and calories. They are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C. As they are high in fibre, vegetables help in maintaining proper bowel function.
Most kids enjoy eating noodles. An excellent way to include vegetables in their diet is adding plentiful vegetables in the noodles. Vegetables such as capsicum, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, etc. are also an integral part of Chinese food. Making noodles at home gives you the opportunity to add these vegetables and make a healthier version of noodles at home. As these vegetables also add colour to the dish, it appears attractive and appetizing.
Beans and pulses can seem unappetizing to kids. As a source of protein, they are a must in their diets. Pulses are very nutritious. They provide fibre, protein, carbohydrate, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorous. They are naturally low in fat, are practically free of saturated fat, and because they are plant foods, they are cholesterol-free, too.
An excellent way to introduce beans is to do it through a fun food like tacos. Hard shell tacos can include rajma (kidney beans) as a filling along with a salsa which is made of fresh vegetables. Topped with sour cream or cheese, tacos are a crunchy, healthy and nutritious dish which will certainly appeal to kids.
The vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants found in fruits have many health benefits. They promote good health and protect against disease, both now and in the future. It ensures the child's healthy growth and development. Fruits also strengthen a child's immune system and help fight illnesses.
While getting kids to eat fruits can be difficult, there are many easier ways to introduce fruits in their diets. Whether it is a colorful bowl of fruit salad or a smoothie, fruits can be fun and exciting. Plan fruit-based breakfasts like granola bowls to add all types of fruits along with other healthy food items to your children’s diet.
Introduce Whole Grains
A diet rich in whole grains can be beneficial for kids and adults alike. Nutrients in whole grains include protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). They improve bowel health by maintaining regular bowel movements and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.
Replace your everyday bread and atta with multigrain options to bring in whole grains your kids’ diet. Opt for whole wheat versions of pastas and noodles. A lot of traditional Indian meals such as the khichdi and upma can be made out of whole grains.
While you work towards planning balanced meals for your kids, remember to pick up unpolished and unadulterated ingredients with their nutritional content intact. Pick from Tata Sampann’s range of pulses, dals, and pre-mixes and be assured of superior quality and hygiene.
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