The rates of childhood obesity are astonishing. At the very least, it serves to show that most children consume more food than they need. But is what they are eating good for their bodies? Probably not. A lot of what they eat daily, for example, fast foods and overprocessed foods, are high in calories but low in nutrients.
Consequently, most young children are deficient in some essential nutrients. But you can change this. Find out which nutrients are critical for your kid’s healthy growth and which foods you can invest in this summer to keep your kid healthy and energized.
Is your child taking too much juice and too little milk? Their bodies could be low on calcium. Calcium is essential for the development of bone mass, which is built mainly during one’s childhood and adolescence years. Its deficiency can stifle growth and raise the risk of one getting osteoporosis later in life. This mainly occurs in young women.
Parents should encourage their children to consume more calcium-rich foods when they are young, as children don’t get enough in their latter years. Calcium-rich foods contain vitamin D, which is essential in bone strengthening and preventing diseases such as diabetes. The best sources of calcium are yogurt, waffles, milk, soy milk, cheese, and fortifies food like cereals.
Opting for low-fat products like yogurt and milk is smart because they contain low concentrations of saturated fat. However, going entirely fat-free on foods like salad dressing could cause you more harm than good as they contain oils that are not only healthy for the heart but are also rich in vitamin E.
Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant in the body, and it also protects your body cells from damage. Therefore, fat-free and low-fat foods will also contain low vitamin E. Take full-fat salad dressing if you can control your portion size, or you can go for a reduced-fat salad dressing made with maize, canola, or olive oils.
Alternatively, you can make your salad dressing using these oils. You can sprinkle toasted almond slivers or sunflower seeds on your cooked vegetables and salad dressing. The best sources of Vitamin E are peanut butter, tomato sauce, avocado, wheat germ, plant oils, spinach, sunflower seeds, and nuts.
Fiber is not digested by the body, but it's a crucial part of your kids' meal as it fills them up and keeps them regular. In addition, there are several benefits to taking a fiber-rich diet, including protection from various chronic diseases later in their lives. It is recommended that kids take 19-25 grams of fiber in a day.
This is almost as much as an adult needs. You can aim to have at least one high-fiber food with every meal. These include high fiber cereals, popcorn, nuts, ground flaxseed, oatmeal, lentils, beans, wholegrain bread and pasta, green peas, sweet potatoes, chicken peas, and fruits.
Some fruits contain more fiber than others. Oranges, apples. Pears, blackberries, and raspberries are some of the best.
Low iron levels are frequent in overweight children, and with obesity on the rise, more children are becoming iron deficient. Iron assists the red blood cells in transporting oxygen throughout the body and is essential for brain development. Therefore, long-term iron deficiency could lead to behavioral and learning problems.
In addition, having low iron levels has been proven to increase the absorption of lead into one's bloodstream, increasing the risk of lead poisoning. It is also important to note that the body does not absorb plant-based iron as animal-based iron. Therefore, to improve iron absorption, combine fortified cereal with fresh strawberries or mango as vitamin C enhances iron absorption.
Some of the most significant sources of iron include lentils, raisins, some herbal supplements, chicken peas, shrimp, beans, beef, soy nuts, tomato paste, whole wheat bread, and fortifies cereals. As much as you want your kids to enjoy their meals, you don't want them to end up in a dietary disaster. So be keen on the foods you make for them and ensure most of their food contains the essential nutrients. Some foods like lentils will have more than one nutrient.