BENGALURU: We all know the importance of nutrition in our lives but it is essential more so for school going children (6-12 years). Slowed growth rate is seen among this age group and the body changes occurs gradually. That’s why this period is known as latent period of growth. Children of this age group should eat a variety of foods from each food group to ensure optimal intake of all nutrients.
Planning healthy snacks
Children should have a proper tiffin or a snack which should meet 1/3 of their daily requirements of all the nutrients. The food has to be healthy and attractive too. Instead of junk items like chips, burger, sugary buns, they should be offered more of healthier options like:
1Veg stuffed paratha with masala chaas along with a fruit.
2Veg or paneer stuffed sandwich with some trail mixtures.
3 Roti wrap with vegetables and boiled egg and banana.
4 Oats rava chilla with vegetables with a mixed fruit bowl.
Role of parents
Parents are the first role models for their children. Healthy dietary habits of parents reflects in the child. Proper meal pattern and provisions of healthy snacks and meals at home can have a positive impact on children and it establish correct eating practices. Children should be encouraged to sit and eat with the family.
Keep in mind
Include a variety of foods in order to have adequate nutrient intake.
Eat a proper breakfast including a protein item that strengthens memory and attention span.
Children should be discouraged from consuming large amounts of sweets, soft drinks, sugar-coated cereals, chips or candy and processed food items.
Children should be given a wide variety of healthy options to make individual food choices as per their preferences and also be encouraged in food preparation.
Children should also be encouraged to follow proper hygiene and sanitation measures.
The author is a senior executive nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospital, Bangalore, Bellandur.