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A balanced diet for children is required to supply the nutrients and energy needed for the growing child. The requirement of all nutrients is increased, but the pattern of increase varies for different nutrients in relation to their role in growth of specific tissues. A child of one year of age can eat most of the dishes that are prepared for the rest of the family, but they require less spicy food. Fussy eating starts at this time so make sure the
food is interesting and attractive.


Kids need five to six meals a day because of their smaller appetites. Healthy and balanced diet for kids such as whole wheat bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables should make up the major part of the diet of the children. Foods such as meat, fish, Soya products, milk, pulses and cereals provide the proteins necessary for this age group.

Basic guidelines for nutrient requirement in balanced diet for children / kids of different age groups

Calories requirement
The calorie requirements are increased due to the high cellular activity in children above 5 years of age. Children under 5 year of age, should not be given skimmed milk to restrict on fat and cholesterol, as they need the extra calories, but grilled and baked foods are always preferable to fried and fatty ones. Whole grains or enriched cereals increase the calories. Concentrated sweets and foods that are very high in fat should be avoided.

Protein requirement
Protein has a very important role in the diet of the preschool child because there is considerable increase in muscular development during these years. The requirements for essential amino acids are higher for children than adults. So protein should be selected from complete protein foods such as milk, egg and meat.

Vitamin and mineral requirement
Vitamins and minerals must be supplemented adequately. Calcium and iron requirements are relatively greater during early childhood. Deficiency of calcium can affect the bones of growing children. Foods rich in calcium such as milk and milk products, ragi, green leafy vegetable and fish should be included in the diet of children.

Tips to develop healthy food habits in your children Diet:

  • Provide your child with regular five meals a day.
  • Do not feed a child forcibly as this makes child obstinate.
  • Add color to their food by introducing raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Discourage the between meals nibbling habits.
  • Allow the child to have more outdoor games, to increase one’s appetite.
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