We personally got to know about specific nutrition requirements in kids, just recently. My daughter’s school would diligently send their lunch menu, especially curated for the kid’s well-being, every month. We observed that they took into account, foods that were nutritious for growing kids, which was indeed a very noble gesture from their side.
Nutrition (i.e. minerals, carbohydrates , protein, vitamins, fat, etc.) is the same for all, but children need more of certain nutrients for their overall growth. As we all know, calcium is the main nutrient that our kids require for the development of strong and healthy bones and teeth, but did you know that each child has a different nutrition requirement depending on their size, age and gender?
Growth parameters are evaluated from birth so that we know the general progress of the child. These include the length, weight and head circumference. Since their birth, we had charts for both our kids and marked them in order to understand their growth pattern. Though both our kids were fed the same food and had the same genes, I noticed that my second one grew at a slower pace than my first child.
But, as my children were considered healthy, by our paediatricians, we did not worry much about the height. According to FTF, child health includes physical, mental, intellectual, social and emotional well-being. It is not ascertained merely with the absence of disease or illnesses. So, if a child is physically active, mentally stable, and emotionally well, he/she is considered healthy. These children also have the opportunity to reach their full development potential if their surroundings allow them to.
Though it is difficult to calculate how much a child needs, per day, per serving, we tried incorporating additional nutrition for our little one in order to try boosting his growth. We gave him an extra serving of dairy products (which he loves), eggs, chicken, fruits and leafy vegetables. Also, yoghurt is something that we try to include with almost every meal.
Give them an adequate amount of water every single day.
Make sure they have a variety of raw fruits and vegetables with every meal.
Include nutrient dense food for breakfast.
Teach them to consume fats and sugar in moderation.
Maintain a balance with staple food.
Control their accumulating calories by regular exercises.
We may sometimes not even realise when kids have a nutritional deficiency or if they are growing according to their age. National Family Health Survey (2015-2016) estimated that 38% of children are stunted and 35% are underweight. These abnormal growth patterns can result in negative effects on their health like lethargy, early puberty, eating disorders, anaemia, irregular periods, frequent illnesses, etc. Therefore, planning nutrition according to growth parameters in kids, in India, is very important to bring up a healthy future generation. This should be our #FirstStepToGrowRight.
I remember a time when I visited my second one’s (son) paediatrician; I was told that it is important to keep a track of children’s growth. Planning nutrition according to growth parameters in kids, in India, can be tricky at first but once we understand it, mapping their growth becomes a life saver. Eating healthy is of course important, but sometimes nutritional gaps can be identified only when we keep an eye open for them.
I balance my son’s meals with a glass of PediaSure daily, so, no nutrition is missed out. Even then, I have now begun mapping her growth, too. PediaSure’s Grow Right tracker came in handy for this. After entering the data, I can download the report and show it to his paediatrician on the next visit. Isn’t that easy? Now, I can ensure I am doing everything required for his well-being.
How do you plan meals for your kids? Let me know your tips!
The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not reflect the views of any brand. Any omissions or errors at the author’s end does not assume any liability or responsibility on any party mentioned in the blog.