As a parent, one of the most important things you do is to help your children learn healthy eating habits. Children need a balanced diet with food from all 4 food groups—vegetables & fruits, grain products, milk & alternatives, and meat & alternatives.
Children need 3 meals a day and 1 to 3 snacks (morning, post lunch and possibly before dinner). Healthy snacks are just as important as the food you serve at meals.
School-aged children grow significantly, but at a slower rate, whilst being very physically active in general. As a result, their nutritional needs are high and critical. Additionally, body size, gender, genetic background, and shape are all important determinants of nutrient requirements. Recent research on the effects of deficiencies in zinc, iodine, iron and folate on the cognitive development of school-aged children showed that nutrition has an impact on children’s ability to think. For example, deficiencies in iron and zinc have been associated with impairment of neuropsychological function, retardation of growth and development, reduced immunity and increased vulnerability to infectious diseases. The essential nutrients for optimal health are Energy, Proteins, Essential Fatty Acids, Calcium, & Iron.
Carbohydrates and fats provide energy for growth and physical activity for everybody. During periods of rapid growth, appetites increase and children tend to eat constantly. When growth slows, appetites diminish and children eat less at meal times which make them too lazy. The brain needs the proper supplements and energy to function properly and hence the supply of glucose is relevant and critical.
Protein builds, maintains and repairs body tissue. It is especially important for growth. It’s important that parents encourage children to eat two to three servings of protein daily. Good sources of protein for children include meat, fish, poultry, milk and other dairy products.
Essential Fatty Acids
Deficiency of unsaturated fatty acids may have a negative impact performance of your child in studies. In a randomised controlled trial, some 120 days of treatment with fatty acid supplements among 102 dyslexic school-aged children significantly improved reading age on standardised tests of single word reading. Dyslexia and Dyspraxia are associated with difficulties that they facing with spelling, handwriting and written expression.
Calcium is important to build strong bones and teeth. Bone density decreases when calcium needs are not met during childhood ages. Osteoporosis, a bone disease if a person has a low bone density or calcium affects a significant proportion of adults. These problems begin in childhood if diets are not providing adequate calcium-rich foods which children are badly needed. Dairy products like milk, curd etc. and from some dark green, leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium.
Children need iron because of rapidly expanding blood volume during growth. Meats, fish, poultry, and enriched bread and cereals are the best sources of dietary iron.
In one large survey of kids under age 12, mom and dad ranked highest as their children’s nutrition role models — the persons the kids most wanted to be like, reports Tanner-Blasier. Nearly 70% of children reported they were likely to talk with mom or dad about nutrition and their body size.
That survey — conducted by the American Dietetic Association Foundation — also picked up on the families’ activity levels. Kids were more likely to eat a meal or watch TV with a parent, rather than playing outside.
“If mom and dad spent most of their time sitting around watching TV, leading an inactive lifestyle, kids did the same,” says Tanner-Blasier, who is also a pediatric dietitian at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
We encourage healthy food habits at Sri Nachammal Vidyavani Senior Secondary School. The school cafeteria serves lunch, snacks, and other refreshments. Keeping in view to the nutritive and variety we were serving the foods which are produced in organic farms.