As a new parent, you probably realize that this is a crucial time for your baby to achieve major milestones. Therefore, it is time you ensure they receive a balanced diet that completes their nutritional requirements. However, feeding them a healthy diet can be quite the battle.
You know it is essential to give your child a balanced diet, but you may be wondering how. Then you have landed up in the right place, as this article will tell you the answers to some of the most frequent questions asked (FAQs) by parents on balanced diet for babies and toddlers.
Nutrients are the materials that the body needs in order to function and develop. Humans need seven types of nutrients in their body – Carbohydrates, Proteins, Minerals, Vitamins, Water, Fats and Fiber. These nutrients help develop, maintain and repair body cells and tissues. Deficiency of any one of these nutrients can lead to diseases.
A baby requires a balanced diet in his or her growing years. A balanced diet comprises of all the necessary nutrients including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and minerals in adequate ratios. A baby who is getting a balanced diet of high nutritional value is said to have a good nutritional status.
As a baby completes six months of age, his/her nutritional requirement increases. Initially you should introduce a few items to the baby’s diet and gradually introduce more items of different texture and consistency from various food groups to your baby. So, by the time your baby completes his or her first year, he or she will be able to eat more complex foods like whole grains and pulses.
A balanced diet for a kid who is 2 years old is completely different because by now they may have turned into a fussy eater. This could lead to insufficient food intake, which in turn might lead to your child becoming vulnerable to diseases. Therefore, ensure that you give your child a balanced meal plan, which contains food from different groups in quantities that complete their body’s nutritional requirements.
Childhood, especially until the age of 5, is a period of rapid growth. During this period, your child experiences physical and cognitive development. Therefore, a balanced diet of high nutritional value is of utmost importance.
As kids grow, their digestive system also improves and they start accepting the food that is provided to them. Between the age of 2 to 5 years, children should adapt to the family food pattern. A balanced diet, thus, is significant for a child’s growth and should comprise of various food groups. Also, it is important to take note of the quantity as well as the frequency of food your child has eaten.
While planning a meal for your kid, mothers try to include a balanced diet that looks attractive and is appetizing. The meal should also be easy to prepare and easy to digest.
A balanced diet for kids could be a combination of various food groups, like – food rich in carbohydrates; like cereals and their products that provide energy to the body, starch-rich roots and tubers, sugars, food rich in fats like nuts and oils. You can also provide proteins, which are bodybuilding foods as these are essential for the baby’s body tissue building and maintenance. A baby’s body also requires adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals for the body to function properly. So, try to include all fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet.
While as a mother it is good that you plan a balanced diet full of nutrients for your baby but at the same time you should also keep in mind your baby’s likes and dislikes. Try to include a variety of colors, textures and flavors in the food to increase the acceptability level by your child.
Though the main meals are important for your baby but including snacks is also a good idea. Good snacking habits fulfill the nutrient gap if any. For snacks, you can include pureed fruits and vegetables or smoothies and shakes. As your baby grows into a toddler, introduce healthy finger foods to him as your child could eat them unsupervised.
What portions you should serve to your baby depends on his age, gender, and activity. Besides considering the quality of food, you should also consider the quantity you are serving to your baby. Your baby has a small stomach so he or she cannot consume big portions. Try giving only small portions at a time. You should give your baby small, frequent meals that can fulfill his/her nutritional requirements.
When you use various combinations of foods that include different food groups then you will be able to provide a lot of more nutritional benefit as compared to a single food item.
Your baby needs a balanced diet to stay healthy. Therefore, it is vital to understand what it should consist of. So, next time, you are confused about what to feed your little one, know that it is not an uphill battle anymore!