11 Best Foods For Growing Children
‘Children will be children’ and never has this adage been truer than when it comes to eating. Making children eat the right food is a Herculean task for mothers, especially in this age when all junk food brands are wooing them with mouth-watering burgers, colas, chips, candies and what not. There are new names and still newer combinations of tempting foods, the sight of which can sweep even a sane adult off his or her feet. Needless to say, these foods contain only fats, sweetening substances and salts with little or no nutrition. Adults, therefore, have to consciously become role models and very smartly inculcate the habit of eating good food in growing children. Here are some of the best foods for growing children.
Oats or oatmeal is the best meal for children to begin their day with, for the much needed energy and nutrition. A bowl of oats in the morning gives essential fiber, keeps the cholesterol low and saves the heart from many diseases, the benefits of which children will realize once this becomes a habit in them. They can be consumed with milk and fruits or nuts, or added to other foods to make creative and inviting dishes.
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Soy chunks prepared from soy beans contain protein and can be called the ‘body-building’ food for children, as they help in muscle growth. They contain calcium, carbohydrates and iron to fuel the body, build strong teeth and provide oxygen and immunity to the body. Soy chunks make excellent salads and soups.
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A humble meal consisting of lentils and rice or lentils and bread gives all the protein required for growing children. Lentils contain fiber and prevent coronary heart diseases and constipation, thereby preventing digestive problems. They are also rich in iron, which is required for the growing bodies of young children. They are easily available round the year in brown, green or orange color, as whole or split into halves, and most of the lentils are quite affordable too.
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Both the white and yolk of the egg contain amino acids, protein, Vitamin A, D, E, calcium and choline that are required for a healthy brain. The egg white does not contain fat. Eggs can be eaten in any form - raw, boiled, scrambled, as omelets or cooked to combine with other foods.
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Milk is known to be the wholesome food for all ages, especially for growing children. It contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, D and B12. It is said to be the ideal food for white teeth and strong bones.
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The rich green colored spinach leaves contain iron, magnesium, vitamins B6 and E and antioxidants essential for growing children. Spinach can be tossed in olive oil and combined with other vegetables to make salads. It can also be cooked with vegetables and other ingredients to make interesting dishes, or simply consumed in the form of soups.
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Raisins contain calcium and potassium that help in bone building for growing children. They fight anemia and have anti-cancer properties, and also keep the teeth and heart healthy. They can be ideal substitutes for white sugar and other sweeteners.
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Interestingly, walnuts resemble the inside of the brain, and are considered good for the brain development of children as they contain omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain Vitamin B, which is required for the growth of red blood cells, and magnesium to keep the muscles and heart strong. They can be added in desserts, muffins and cakes or simply soaked overnight or eaten raw in the morning for best results.
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Brown rice forms an essential part of a growing child’s diet. It is full of fiber and low in calorie, thus serving the dual purpose of having a healthy body. Brown rice contains antioxidants that increase immunity, reduce cholesterol and therefore reduce the risk of asthma and heart diseases. They are a favorite with teenagers who desire slim and slender figures.
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Yogurt contains the good, friendly bacteria, which is a favorite among all kids. Like milk, it contains calcium and protein for strong teeth and bodies. The probiotics present in yogurt help in easy bowel movement. Yogurt is either consumed plain or mixed with fruits like strawberries (which contain vitamin C) or mangoes for those with a sweet tooth. It can be consumed as a side dish with a meal or can be enjoyed as a snack at any time of the day.
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Broccoli contains vitamins, minerals, calcium, potassium and carotenoids for healthy eyesight. It is good for growing children because it is low in calories and high in energy, and it also repairs cell damage, which are just the things needed by growing bodies. They can be given to children in salads, stuffed inside sandwiches or in baked dishes, in the form of puree or simply as soups.
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It is believed that good eating habits developed during childhood stay with a person for life. So parents must ensure that their kids develop a taste and liking for healthy foods at a young age itself.