If your child only eats vegetarian meal, their intake of nutrients like Vitamin B12, Zinc and other Minerals might be inadequate. It is vital for you to make sure that your child is consuming all the essential nutrients. This is where the role of a balanced diet comes into play. If you want your child to get the most nutrients in the best way, it is time to plan their diet. Here are a few things you can do to ensure a balanced diet for kids:
Include food items from all food groups: This implies that you need to ensure the diet your child is having has all the important nutrients from all food groups, such as, cereals, millets, pulses, milk products, vegetable, fruits, oils, fats and nuts.
Add protein for growth: There is no reason why a vegetarian diet cannot constitute of enough protein as compared to a non-vegetarian diet. Protein sources for vegetarian kids can easily come from adding milk, paneer, soya, dals and pulses in your daily food.
Include energy-giving foods: At this age, your child needs a lot of energy for healthy growth. You can give them dairy products, fruits and vegetables. You can also try to add peanut butter or almond butter in their diet to increase the energy level in their bodies. Give your child iron-rich food: Legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grain cereals, dried fruits, etc are iron-rich food items, which help in prevention of anaemia in your child. For a better absorption of iron, add either lemon juice to your child’s dal or give him a glass of lemonade for breakfast.
Add Zinc to your child’s diet: To fulfil the requirement of zinc in your child’s diet, you can give me nuts in powdered form, whole grains or legumes.
Include Vitamin B12 to ensure healthy growth of your child: You should try giving your child food that is rich in Vitamin B12, such as dairy products like - idli, dosa, dhokla, appams, etc.
Provide food rich in Vitamin D and Calcium: It is essential to give your child food which is rich in these nutrients because they make the bones stronger and prevent any bone diseases. Green leafy vegetables can meet the nutrient requirement of your child. Along with this, your child can get ample of Vitamin D if they stay in the sun, for at least 5 minutes.
Add suitable fats to your child’s diet: You can provide your child suitable fats from the non-meat sources as well. These are, almonds, walnuts, butter, ghee, milk, soya and cooking oil.
Healthy kids are happy kids. Remember with a little bit of pre-planning, balanced vegetarian meals can boost your child’s overall growth and development.