Carbohydrates: A must-eat fuel for growing children
Children are generally more active than adults. Constantly moving, talking and learning. Carbohydrate provides the necessary fuel that keeps these activities going. It is the body’s main source of energy and necessary part of a healthy diet.
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients -- along with protein and fat – that the body requires to grow.
Other benefits of carbohydrates for children
Apart from providing energy, carbs are essential for a host of other functions.
- Acting as a fuel for the normal functioning of your child’s brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs and cellsli>
- When a child meets his/her body’s carb requirements, it allows the protein, another important nutrient, to build strong muscles and repair wounds. If there is a deficiency the carb levels are insufficient, protein steps in to provide energy to cells, thus ignoring its own role, and making a child weak and prone to infections.
- Fiber is a form of carbohydrate helps relieve constipation in children by allowing the smooth passage of stools.
Lack of carbohydrates can cause weakness, fatigue, lethargy, weak immune system and a constant feeling of tiredness in the child.
Meeting the daily carbohydrate requirement
Owing to the increase in cases of childhood obesity, as an anxious mom may ask ‘do kids need carb?’ She may even want a low carb diet for her child. We understand your concerns, but as long as your child is healthy, it is not wise to opt for a low carb diet for kids given their immeasurable benefits.
Complex carbohydrates have more sugar molecules than simple carbohydrates. Hence, they take longer to breakdown and provide lasting energy in the body.
Here are a few ways to ensure your child gets enough healthy carbs:
- A wheat or bajra parathas stuffed with carrot and beets can be a great breakfast option for a child.
- All cereals are excellent sources of carbohydrates and can be made in a variety of dishes. Rice-dal khichdi is an option carbs for babies are concerned.
- Starch veggies like potatoes and corn also contain high levels of carbohydrates, and can be given to the child as cutlets.
- While planning carbohydrate food for kids, don’t forget the option of milkshakes. Milk is a good source of carbs i.e. lactose and when you flavor it with fruit in a blender, it can serve as a wonderful evening snack for your child
Top carbohydrate-rich foods
You may have figured out by now that almost all foods items contain some amount of carbs. However, the cereals containing wheat, rice, oat, barley, dals, starchy veggies like potatoes and yam, whole fruits like apples, strawberries, and bananas are excellent sources of carb.
So, the next time you’re tempted to look up recipes for low carb snacks for school, remember the key lies not in reducing the number of carbs but focusing on the kind of carbs you provide.