Parents, Here Are Age-Wise Nutritional Requirements For Children At Their Growing Age
Growing children have different nutritional requirements at every age. Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal gives guidelines in terms of food to help children grow in a healthy way, both physically and mentally.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important for pre-teen children
- Iron and calcium rich foods are important for children of growing age
- Parents should ensure children have sufficient outdoor playtime every day
- Fats are important for pre-teen children
Ages 2 to 12 are primarily the foundation years of a child's mental and physical growth. What they are taught and fed at this age stays with them for their entire life. Several changes take place during a child's growing age. Different nutrients are required with every step ahead in the chronological age. Best assimilation of nutrients and optimum development occur when good food is combined with good amount of physical activity or playtime in children. It is thus important to feed them with healthy and nutritious food so that they grow to their full potential.
Following are age-wise nutritional requirements of children, as shared by nutritionist Nmami Agarwal on Instagram:
For ages 6 months to 2 years
1. Iron: Iron-rich foods help in development of brain and memory in children. Potato, eggs, soya bean and spinach are some examples of iron-rich foods for children.
2. Zinc: Babies are vulnerable and more prone to catching infections. Zinc is a mineral which facilitates proper functioning of white blood cells in children. White blood cells perform the role of helping the body fight infections. Cheese, lentils, cereals, whole milk and yogurt are examples of foods rich in zinc.
3. Calcium: Calcium is an important mineral for strengthening of bones and development of teeth. Oranges, milk, cheese and yogurt are all good food sources of calcium.
4. Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K: Carrots, sweet potato, broccoli (Vitamin A); leafy greens, beans, vegetables and banana (Vitamin B); tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, lemon and grapefruit (Vitamin C); Cow milk and egg yolk (Vitamin D) - all these foods can provide children with vitamins that are necessary for their growth and development.
5. Omega 3: Omega 3 helps babies have a healthy vision. It improves cognitive skills and brain health as well.
For ages 3 years to 8 years
According to Nmami, early childhood is the fastest growing age for children. Foods that children consume at this age helps them in proper development and overall well-being. Parents can introduce children to protein, fibre and carb-rich foods at this age.
1. Proteins (dairy, beans, nuts, fish, poultry) helps in building cells and aids proper breakdown of food in children. It provides them with energy they need at this age.
2. Fibre (whole grains, cereals, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and kidney beans) are extremely important for developing bowel regularity at this growing age.
3. Carbs (sweet potato, whole grains) provide children with the energy that they need at this age.
For ages 8 to 11
Nutrition that children take at this pre-teen age prepared them for their teenage years. Various kinds of changes occur in boys and girls during this time.
Fats become important for children at this growing age. Apart from providing children with a great source of energy, fats also help in storing of energy in children. Fats are important for assimilation of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) in the body. Ghee, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and olive oil among others are good sources of fat for children.
Micronutrients like Vitamin B12, potassium and zinc are important for children in their pre-teen years. Children should be fed lots of fresh fruits and vegetables at this age.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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