Importance of a Nutrient dense diet for your toddler

Why your child needs nutrient dense food?

Early childhood, which includes the preschool stage (2–5 years), is the phase of physical, emotional, and mental development and forms the foundation for the child’s future well-being. Adequate and wholesome nutrition plays a vital role during this stage. The kinds of food your pre-schooler eats, and drinks are important for his or her health.

Young children are growing rapidly and typically engage in relatively moderate to high levels of physical activity. Therefore, they have energy requirements that are high in comparison to their small size and stomach capacity. Eating nutrient dense regular meals and small snacks during the day is the key to healthy eating and ensures the child gets the much needed nourishment to support their growth & development during this phase.

Healthy Baby Salad - Ceregrow

The role of Proteins, Vitamins and Carbohydrates in your child’s diet

A nutrient-dense diet that provides for proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins & minerals can be vital to keeping your child in the pink of health. Here is why they are important:

Function of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are major sources of energy for you child. Carbohydrates may be either complex or simple. While complex carbohydrates are found in cereals, millets, pulses and root vegetables; simple carbohydrates are present in honey, fruits and sugar. Diet rich in complex carbohydrates are healthy and provide the fibre important for healthy digestion. Simple carbohydrates commonly present in jams, ice creams and sugar sweetened beverages provide “empty calories” (only energy and low on other nutrients) and are less nutritious.

Healthy Juice for kids - Ceregrow

Functions of Protein
Proteins are essential for growing children. It is needed for the formation of body cells, skin, cartilage and muscles. Proteins perform a large number of functions in the body including their secondary function of providing energy.

Functions of Fats
Oils and fats such as butter, ghee and vanaspati constitute dietary visible fats. Fats are a concentrated source of energy providing 9 kcal/g. Fats serve as a vehicle for fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K and carotenes and promote their absorption. They are also sources of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. Fats also acts like cushion for certain vital organs in the body. The layer of fat beneath the skin helps to conserve body heat and regulate body temperature. The flavour, palatability and satiety value of foods is increased by fats.

Functions of Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins & Minerals are needed to help support the growth & development of your child’s bones, teeth, muscles and other body functions. They also help in maintaining the structure of skin, bones and build cognitive functions. These must be present in the diet to help the child achieve their milestones for this stage.

Nutri Dense Food

Tips to make foods Nutrient Dense:

  • Serve whole-grain breads and multi grain cereals rather than refined grain products.
  • Grated carrots, chopped onions, capsicum, beetroot etc. can be added to upma, chapati, dosa, or idli. This makes the lunch more colorful and nutritionally rich
  • Make your child’s food nutrient-dense by sneaking some sprouts into sandwiches, a bowl of oats, cutlets, or in regular breakfast items like vegetable-upma, dosa, idli or paratha
  • Include green leafy vegetables/seasonal vegetables in scrambled eggs, sandwiches, khichri, vegetable pulao, or other snacks.
  • Add grated carrots, finely chopped potatoes, beans or peas in ragi or rice roti, upma, soups, stir fries, etc.
  • Toss some shredded chicken or mutton into cutlets, or fried rice.

Healthy snacks for kids - ceregrow

  • You can make the milk more nutrient-dense by tossing a handful of fruits or nuts. Fruit milkshake is a healthy addition to your child’s tiffin.
  • Cheese can be grated over cutlets, chapati, or dosa.
  • Add paneer cubes or grated paneer in vegetable gravies or rice items.
  • If your child sometimes gets hungrier than normal between mealtimes, offer him/her healthy snacks like fruits, smoothies/ idli, besan/moong dal chilla/ vegetable sandwich/peanut butter with whole wheat bread slice/ kebabs etc.
  • If your child often rejects new dishes, do not give up. Keep trying with new foods, forms or shapes they like.
  • Inclusion of fortified foods as part of the child’s diet will also enable you to provide a nutrient dense foods. As these foods are fortified with vitamins & minerals that are adapted as per the requirements of the child.