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Find the ideal diet for your little one

Managing your child’s diet to provide them complete nutrition as well as taste can be tricky but it is not as difficult as you might imagine.
For the children between the age group of 4 to 8 the calories requirement per day varies from 1,400 to 1,600. This goes up to 1,600 to 2,000 calories for kids between the age group of 9-13. They require a lot of energy keep up with their active lifestyle and growth needs. What’s important is that this energy should be from the right source.
So, how do you determine the ideal diet for your growing kid? Read on:
Kids eating Sandwich
Closely consider the four main food categories first –Fruits, Vegetable, Grains and Dairy. Our bodies derive energy in the form of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and fats from these food categories.
  • Fruits: Teaching your child to love fruits is the best way to give them vital vitamins. Fresh fruits and juices are your best options as they don’t include added sugars from preservatives. They keep your kids active and on the go.
  • Vegetables: Bring in a variety of vegetables into your child’s diet. Even if you’re serving meat, make sure you balance it out with greens. Since children can be fussy eaters, look at different ways of preparing their veggies to keep them interested.
  • Grains: Opt for whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, and even brown or wild rice over white rice.
  • Dairy: Milk is the easiest source of dairy for your children but you can encourage free or low-fat dairy products. Yoghurt and cheese are other dairy products that your kid can have in moderation.
Besides these food categories, you should make healthy protein an essential part of your kid’s diet plan. Opt for seafood, lean meat, poultry and eggs. If your family is vegetarian then beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds are excellent sources of healthy protein.
Protein rich foods
 Another important habit to encourage amongst kids is to drink plenty of water. It keeps them hydrated through the day and flushes out toxins and impurities in the body.
It isn’t easy for children to get their energy from just 3 meals a day so encourage the habit of healthy snacking. Nuts, fruits, crackers, or a delicious spread on whole-wheat bread are excellent make for great snacks.
Foods that are high in fat and sugar just don’t have healthy nutrients but since sweet treats hold a fond spot during childhood, you can always allow your kid to indulge within moderation. This could be a weekly inclusion in their diet.
Kids playing
ÔÇ¿With gaming consoles and TV sets taking over outdoor activities, make sure that your kids get enough physical activity to burn out the excess energy and keep their bodies and minds healthy.
Proof reading done by Ms. Juliot Vinolia, Clinical Dietitian & Consultant Nutritionist at iCare Clinics, Dubai.