Understanding Your Child's Unique Nutrition Needs
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It was early Saturday morning; I woke my son up for the skating class. He got up super quick to get ready for his class and we reached the venue by 07:00 am. He did pretty well for 20 to 30 minutes and then suddenly he wanted to take a break. It had barely been few minutes after the break when he simply refused to skate anymore. This became the story of every weekend. To be honest it left me puzzled. I couldn’t understand what the issue was. All kinds of scary scenarios started playing out in my head. What if he was unwell? Or if he was making excuses? Or if he disliked skating?.
I checked his body weight - it was all perfect as per his age. Then I decided to consult his pediatrician. She told me there was nothing to worry about as he was an active child full of energy. Her words gave me a sense of relief, but the problem persisted. She went on to ask me whether he eats properly, and I thought, what is the meaning of eating properly?
I give him a good mix of diets consisting of fruits, protein, carbs to the best of my knowledge, so, I proudly said “yes, he does!”. She then prescribed some blood tests for him, and I was shocked by the results. He was deficient in Vitamin D and Iron. All my pride melted away. Iron deficiency was causing insufficient oxygen to reach the parts of his body and that in turn was making my kid feel tired.
I am sorry, son, I feel guilty for thinking that you were being lazy and making excuses. I am sorry that instead of understanding your problem, I was pushing you to get up and practice. I am really sorry for blaming you.
But I had few questions in my mind - is his weight correct? He is a playful child - how is he nutrient deficient? I started reading more about child nutrition to get my answers.
Being constantly active helps toddlers develop muscles, bones, and coordination. It is in their nature to be active though body weight plays a little role in it too. If children find it difficult to consume 1,000 to 1,400 calories that they need for daily activities their weight will start reducing but they still can be active.
But nutrition is the right combination of various building blocks of our body. Weight is merely an addition of calories, but nutrition is so much more than that. A child’s growing body needs different nutrients like Choline that are known to support brain development. As parents we are more worried about our child’s weight but the right food containing the entire range of essential nutrients is equally important for the right foundation.
With all that information, I met his doctor again and she said, “yes, a growing child’s needs are different from those of adults so their food should also be different”.
Fostering good eating habits and providing healthy, nutrient-dense food choices is one of the most important tasks for parents raising young children. Quality nutrition is crucial for toddlers because it contributes to their physical and mental development and helps in preventing and overcoming illness.
Now here’s the big challenge! Your child’s nutritional needs are more complex, but their taste buds aren’t well developed so they mostly refuse to eat healthy food. A study reveals that a child needs to eat food 6 to 15 times to really get acceptance of that food. So, mums, keep trying broccoli or avocado till they like it - do not give up!
But we cannot wait till they start liking healthy food, can we? Even health drinks could be a good start. For fussy eaters, health drinks with Protein and various nutrients and vitamins are a good place to start. Go out and check the various options available but be very sure of which brand you pick! After trying various brands, my kiddo finally settled for Junior Horlicks and so far, it has helped us with the transition!