For a child growing up, nothing is more important than what is on their plate. Eating a balanced diet is essential for the purpose of healthy living and thus begs the question, what is a good diet for a kid? Consuming a variety of foods in a balanced diet is the key to healthy living. Each food in a kids plate must have a unique mix of nutrients—both macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and essential minerals).
A Good Diet for a Kid
A kid’s diet is fairly simple, fill half of their plate with colorful vegetables and fruits and the other half should contain whole grains and healthy protein. The plate ratio is 50% Vegetables, 25% Grains and 25% Proteins
The more the vegetables on the plate and of different variety the better. Most vegetables have a positive impact on blood sugar and are highly nutritious. They are known for their alkaline feature and high fiber content. Vegetables like leafy greens, cauliflower, and broccoli are rich in micronutrients.
Fruits are also important in a kids’ diet, in fact, fruits should be consumed as snacks. Fruits are rich in vitamins like Vitamin C and contain minerals like magnesium and are also full of fiber. Seasonal fruits are best eaten whole rather than blended as juice and give them to your child during their season, i.e., Avocado post summer, oranges during winter, water melon during summer, seasonal berries etc.
- Whole Grains
Whole grains are a rich source of the macronutrients carbohydrates and protein. It is necessary that you go for non processed whole grains. Whole grains like whole wheat bread (avoid wheat if allergic to gluten), brown or basmati rice cooked in plenty of water and water drained out, and quinoa have a gentle effect on blood sugar (glycemic index) and insulin compared to processed and refined grains.
Proteins are bodybuilding foods essential for a growing child. Select from the wide range of available protein both from plants and animal sources i.e., beans, peas, nuts, seeds, as well as fish, eggs, meat and poultry. However, it is necessary to avoid processed meat like sausages, bacon, and deep oil fried meat, or fast food burgers.
- Soaked Nuts & Beans
Nuts, just like other plant foods, are rich in nutrients, including healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and moderate protein quantity. In addition, they are an incredible source of dietary fiber and the B complex vitamins and trace elements like iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and antioxidant minerals like copper and selenium. Nuts like almond, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pumpkins seeds, and sun flower seeds to be soaked overnight and given next day. Feeding raw nuts and seeds to kids are not beneficial, it is recommended to soak or sprout to release anti-nutrients and access locked nutrition’s and easily digest.
For a healthy digestive system, probiotics are essential in maintaining gut microbiota. Gut microbiota is responsible for maintaining the immune system. A good source of probiotics are sauerkraut, milk kefir, coconut kefir, kimchi and yogurt, please try to give homemade only. Dairy probiotic foods are rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous. Furthermore, it is rich in vitamins A, D and B-complex (B1, B12, and B7), carbohydrates and protein. These are essential nutrients for growth and development.
As you plan your diet please ensure to make these changes;
- Limit the intake of sugar, processed and junk food, these are the main causes of digestive disorders followed with cold, cough, fever and low immunity .
- Also, avoid processed foods, carbonated drinks and packed foods, snacks or drinks. They may contain preservatives, hidden sugar, toxic metals and unknown chemicals.
Lastly, Please remember:
- Giving enough water helps them to keep hydrated.
- Give moderate amount of milk, just as a supplement but not as main food, post eating breakfast is fine.
- Avoid over feeding, or pressurize to eat more.
- To avoid kids watching TV/mobile while eating.
- Don’t pressurize kids to eat food or drink milk while they are sick and recovering.
- Encourage kids social gathering like potlucks, cooking classes etc..
- Involve kids while cooking and mix fun. Kids can learn our culture, math skills, science, and improve creativity while they explore cooking.
- Incorporating physical activity on daily basis and daily minimum 30 minutes to 1 hour of direct sunlight exposure on skin to gain vitamin D3, this helps in healthy metabolism, building immunity, support healthy bone and teeth development, and much more.
Photographs: Happy Feet School Kids
Article References: Dr.Mark Hyman Blog, Functional Medicine., Cleveland Clinic, Luke Coutinho and Fox News.
Homepage of Happy Feet for Kids School, Preschool in Sanjay Nagar.