Health of a child mainly depends on the kind of food taken. Normal growth of child requires nutritious and energy giving food. Children have smaller appetites as compared to adults and hence they need 5 to 6 meals in a day. It is very necessary that these 5 to 6 meals are balanced and healthy meals so that the need of the body is fulfilled. Foods rich in protein are very essential for children. Proteins are required for growth and normal functioning of the body. It also helps in building muscles. Children in growing stages should have enough proteins in their foods. Eggs, mild, pulses, meat etc are good sources of protein.Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. Including fruits and vegetables in food intake of children can fulfill their requirement of vitamins and minerals. Children should eat as many fruits as they can. The habit of taking fruits and vegetables as snacks also helps children in avoiding junk food. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage etc and fruits like banana are rich source of iron. Iron intake in food is essential to increase blood in the body. It forms part of hemoglobin. It helps in strengthening the immune system of body of child.Children need more calories as compared to adults, since they are physically more active. Calories should be taken from different foods. Fried, fatty items and sweets should be limited in food intake of children. Whole grains and enriched cereals in diet of children provide good calories. For fulfilling need of calcium in the body of growing child, calcium rich food should be included in daily diet of children. Milk and dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt etc. should be included in daily diet of children. Other sources of calcium are egg, fish, green leafy vegetable and ragi. Inclusion of these items in diet of children fulfills the calcium requirement of their body. Calcium is essential for making bones and teeth stronger. Wheat, rice, maize and bread provide carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy and helps in storage and transport of energy. It improves immune system of the body. In different stages of development of body of child, carbohydrates provide the required energy. It should constitute major portion of healthy food for children.Healthy food for children must contain balanced amount of fats. However, the source of fat must be selected in such a way that the child should not become habitual of junk food.The way, foods are served to children, is also very important factor in making it healthier. Right from beginning, the child should be encouraged for having healthier food and avoid junk food. Instead of feeding forcibly or bribing kids for eating food, healthy food should be presented in such a way that it looks interesting and attractive to kids. Instead of marking foods as good or bad, the endeavor should be to make children habitual of healthy and nutritious food only. Kids love to eat beautifully decorated food having a number of colors and parents should try to sit with the kids and take food along with them to encourage good eating habits.
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