A lot of information online surrounding diet and nutrition will often have the term superfoods mentioned on it. Popularised by social media influencers and health and fitness gurus, the concept of superfoods was earlier restricted to adult nutrition. But it has now found its way into the discourse surrounding children's nutrition as well. From the perspective of medical science and nutrition, however, superfoods are a bit of a myth. Food that we traditionally know to be healthy such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, eggs etc are all we need to follow a healthy diet - this is applicable to both adults and children. The only distinguishing factor between adults and children is that children have smaller frames; hence, they need more help via better nutrition to maintain good organ health and fight off infections.
Also read: 13 Best Healthy Snacks Recipes | Easy Snacks Recipes | Healthy Snacks
Foods That Work Best For Kids' Snack Time:
Fruits As Snacks:
In general, kids digest food faster and their energy consumption is high thanks to their non-sedentary lifestyles. This means that children are constantly in need of replenishing their energy reserves through food and snacking in between meals is an essential part of their diet. Snack time is often the downfall of children's diets as parents are unable to present healthier alternatives. Fruits form the best alternatives to unhealthy sugary snacks. Fruits such as apples, bananas, pears and berries are rich sources of fibre that help to keep children feeling full for longer periods of time. Fibre is also essential to keep the digestive tract moving, keeping constipation worries at bay and it helps to prevent pre-diabetes in children.
Vitamin B Foods:
In addition to swapping sugary and unhealthy snacks with fruits, there are certain other foods that must be compulsorily included in kids' diets. Of chief importance here is Vitamin B. Out of the thirteen vitamins that are essential for the human body, eight vitamins constitute a group called the vitamin B complex, and these are the most significant for children. For example, Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps build healthy nerves and muscles in kids; Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps boost the production of red blood cells in a child's body, so on and so forth. Green leafy vegetables, potatoes, nuts, poultry are just a few examples of foods that are rich in B vitamins.
We cannot overlook the importance of eggs which are the most complete form of protein. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods and their biological value (BV) is considered to be a benchmark when it comes to judging the protein value of all other foods. Hence, egg whites and yolks-rich in vitamin D-should be a non-negotiable part of kids' diets. Eggs will not only help to boost a child's satiety levels and reduce hunger throughout the day but also contribute to their growth and development.
With a growing number of cases of lactose intolerance among children, milk is fast becoming a less preferred source of calcium. But since calcium is crucial for children's bodies, lactose-free alternatives such as nut milks, oats milk and yogurt (which is naturally low in lactose content) are excellent substitutes for whole milk. Nuts such as almonds are also rich in calcium; in fact, just 28 grams of almonds (about 23 nuts) deliver 6% of the daily value needed.
In addition to these foods, fish oil also makes for an excellent addition to kids' diets, as it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain health in children. Tip for parents - fish oil can be mixed with juices or any other liquid (except water) in order to make it more palatable for children. It doesn't dilute the nutritional value and helps supplement kids' diets in a significant way.
Overall, nutritional principles for adults and children are not very diverging. If kids can be weaned off their dependence on malty and sweet drinks, junk packaged food and refined carbohydrates, it stands to benefit their physical health and cognitive development immensely, and eventually, a good diet will help them to grow into healthier adults.
Author's Bio: Rohit Shelatkar is a fitness and nutrition expert and VP at Vitabiotics.
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