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Nutrient Deficiency Among Children: Tips To Overcome This Problem With Ease

A well-balanced diet aids in a child's development of muscle mass, strong bones, ideal height, and weight, clear vision, improved brain function and memory, increased stamina, and sustained energy.

It is important to consider the biological age, height, and weight of a child while arranging his or her food. Read on.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : October 3, 2022 2:31 PM IST

Malnutrition is a problem in India. India just dropped to position 101 out of 116 nations in the global hunger index. Based on the government of India's official statistics, provided by the Ministry for the Development of Women and Children, over 33 lakh children here are undernourished. More than half of these 33-lakh children are classified as seriously malnourished. One of India's biggest problems is the nutrient insufficiency of children, and several government initiatives are being developed to solve the problem. But we must also be aware of the problem on an individual level and take steps to address it.

Any human being's journey towards proper nourishment begins early in life. Pregnant women must therefore consume a healthy diet, consisting of the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and micronutrients such as calcium and vitamins. To build a healthy diet plan for themselves and the unborn child, expectant mothers must incorporate dairy products, seeds, nuts, leafy green vegetables, eggs, lean meat, dry fruits, etc.

A healthy diet is a must for both mother and child

For women, a healthy diet aids in a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy diet also aids in lactation. After childbirth, lactating mothers must continue eating nutritiously even after giving birth because this influences the milk quality and the health of the new-born child. Similarly, a growing child needs a balanced diet to support their physical and mental development. Like adults, children require all the essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, etc. However, the ratio varies depending on the age group. A balanced diet will satisfy the nutritional demands of children of various age groups.

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Nutrient requirements for your child

Foods from all five food groups fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and protein should be included in a child's diet. Eggs, lean meat, and seafood should be included in the diets of non-vegetarians. Include a lot of fiber in your child's diet to meet their nutritional needs. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best options. Children must grow up with strong teeth and bones. For this, calcium is necessary. Some of the advised foods are milk, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts & seeds.

  • Protein: You can utilize either animal or plant-based protein (beans, lentils, legumes, milk, milk products, eggs, chicken, etc.)
  • Iron: To make up for the iron lost during menstruation, preteen females need a lot more iron than preteen boys. Consuming dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, liver, organ meat, etc, can provide you with a great source of iron.

As children get older, their nutritional needs alter. It is important to consider the biological age, height, and weight of a child while arranging his or her food. A well-balanced diet aids in a child's development of muscle mass, strong bones, ideal height, and weight, clear vision, improved brain function and memory, increased stamina, and sustained energy. The future of a country can be built by a healthy child.

Quality is as important as quantity

Food that is healthy combines quality and quantity in an ideal way. This also affects the food's nutritional value. Therefore, it is crucial to raise food quality and nutrient density. This is crucial for all types of food, including food that is supplied to kids at home, at schools as part of programmes like midday meals, and at government ration shops.

Junk food challenge

Nowadays, parents' primary worry is junk food. Keeping kids away from junk food is a challenge for parents. Food that is readily available on every corner of the street that is advertised on television, that is delivered to neighbours' doorsteps via food delivery apps, and that is both very enticing to the eye and the palate but is very unhealthy. Today, one of the biggest issues is child obesity, and junk food is a significant contributor.

Given that there is always the temptation of junk food and less healthy options, it can be challenging to keep your child interested in making healthy food choices. However, it is a struggle worth fighting because it ensures your child's good health for the long term and into adulthood.

Encourage healthy eating habits in children

It is very important to get your child to follow a healthy diet. Here are a few tips for you.

  • Be a good role model to your children. Children imitate grownups, so if you eat healthy food, they will follow your example.
  • Home-cooked food: Take-outs are tasty. They are also easy. But they are not healthy, so you should try to cook as much healthy food at home, where you control the ingredients.
  • Involvement of the kids: Take the kids grocery shopping with you. Teach the kids to read labels on the boxes and bottles. Let them help you in preparing meals.
  • Healthy snacking: Have healthy alternatives to processed food and sugary or salty snacks. Keep plenty of fresh juice or fruit and other homemade snacks available.
  • Don't bribe: Don't bribe your children with food. Nor use it as a method to reward the child.
  • Portion sizes: Keep the portion sizes limited and listen to the child when they say they are full. Don't insist on them eating every single morsel and cleaning the plate.
  • Educate yourself about healthy and unhealthy fats.
  • Picky eaters: Encourage your fussy child to try a wider variety of foods.
  • Keep sugar and refined carbohydrates to a minimum.

Children are our future. A healthy child helps create a healthy society. Therefore, it is our moral obligation to maintain their health. The government is trying through a number of programmes, including Poshan Mah and Eat Right India. Numerous members of our society, including NGOs and corporations, are also trying to realize the goal of an India free from malnutrition. They can't do it alone - we also have to take personal responsibility for ourselves and our families. Although the road is challenging and the journey is fraught with obstacles, TOGETHER WE CAN!

(This article is authored by Suman Krishnaraj, Nutritionist, Herbalife Nutrition, India)

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