Proper nutrition is essential for preschoolers

December 24, 2019

Children in their preschool-age (3-5 years) are growing in spurts, they are active and often picky eaters. Not only this, at this stage, children are learning and adopting new things. These children need to be encouraged to eat and snack healthy as they often imitate the eating behaviors of the adults. The fact that ‘the morning saves the day’, therefore nutrition for preschoolers is an all-time high!

Why is nutrition so important for your preschooler?

The core principle of having nutritious food is similar to all age groups. A balanced diet taken in a timely fashion is conducive to a healthier lifestyle. Similarly, a preschooler’s diet needs to comprise of all the five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein.

Surface the energy of preschoolers with diet:

There is a lot of inconsistency in the trend followed by a preschooler when it comes to their diet. They are active and moody, so one day they might eat in surprisingly large amounts while other days a little. This is normal as long as you plan to give them healthier selections; the right nutrition will reach them.

Improve overall growth cycle:

The benefits of a nutritious diet are endless and so there cannot be a second thought about it. Your child needs to grow healthy and have a developed brain. Nutrition increases a child’s level of activity and improves body growth with better muscles, bones, and teeth. Also, a nutritious diet includes all the vital elements to prevent the occurrence of diseases like type2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and a higher rate of blood pressure.

Better academic performance:

Research has proved: what your child eats today will greatly affect their learning ability in the future. From preschool days, you need to monitor your kid’s diet. Give them food with higher iron content for cognitive brain development. Properly nourished children are less likely to fall sick or miss classes and hence are more attentive in class and study hard.

What’s on your menu?

Grains:

Grains are available as both refined and whole; of which whole grains are healthier than refined ones. The whole grains include the grain kernel where the maximum nutrients are present. Whole grains may be oatmeal, brown rice and flour made out of whole wheat. Refined grains are milled, refined and processed which might increase its shelf life or texture but valuable nutrients are lost in this process. Hence, preschoolers should be encouraged to have whole grains and occasional spread of refined tortillas, white rice or bread.

Vegetables:

Vegetables can be had raw, mashed, cooked, dehydrated or juiced. Vegetables subcategorized as leafy greens, colored and beans and also as organic, non-organic or GMO. The portion size for having vegetables depends on the way it is cooked and the type.

Fruits:

Fruit can be had canned, juiced or pureed depending on the sugar content it bears. Based on dietary plans fruits should be had. Fruits are also subcategorized as organic, non-organic or GMO.

Protein and dairy:

Proteins in the diet include beans, eggs, nuts, meat, and poultry. The right amount of proteins should be on the plate based on the day’s activity and the child’s actual bodily requirements. While poultry and eggs fall under lean protein milk and milk products belong to dairy groups.

Is it a Meal Time?

Preschoolers are messy so meals should be had at proper and fixed times. Encourage your child to follow table manners, lessen the distractions like gluing to TV. Show your child that mealtime is for savoring the food.

Specific Needs:

The lifestyle set for preschoolers will be with them for the rest of their lives. Having said that, food from all the groups like vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy should be had in the right amount. Among all, calcium intake is important for developing healthy and strong bones as well as teeth. Out of this, half a cup of leafy greens supplies 300mg of calcium with an absorption rate of 40% per serving. Thus, leafy green like spinach, kale, and broccoli must be a part of everyday haves. Fibers are essential for heart health and prevent constipation and improve digestions. Make your child eat fibers in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Drink Up!:

Water makes up half of the body weight of your child and is essential to keep body parts functioning. There is no specific quantity of water to be had by preschoolers but it depends on their gender, age and levels of activity. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of water. Let your child drink more water when they are ill or it’s very hot outside.

How to improve the health of your preschooler?

Set an example:

Preschoolers tend to imitate the way you eat and what you eat. So adults need to make sure that they follow the right guidelines to allow their kids to follow them.

Start early:

Choices of food develop from an early age so it is important to teach the right things and give them the right food from an early age. To do that, show the different variety of healthy foods and abstain from having unhealthy packed food at any cost.

Know your child’s requirement:

Get your preschoolers clinically tested and find what they need the most. Focus on the diet accordingly.

Make them eat:

Do not force them but make them realize when they feel full and not eat further, preventing overeating.

Don’t reward:

Teach your child the importance of having food and that it is more than feeling your stomach. Food, when rewarded, becomes associated with their emotions.

Focus on overall nourishment through diet:

Do not focus on specific food groups rather on overall nourishment. In this way, you will make food options more interesting for your child to have.

Set limits on snacks :

Set a certain day or time to have a snack and let them spread their pretzels or chips on the plate and not have directly from the bag.On the whole, healthy and mindful eating gives several benefits to children. This involves stabling the energy constraints, improving minds, maintaining a healthier lifestyle and strengthening mental health.Sticking to healthier habits will also help them prevent further occurrence of chronic diseases in adulthood.So fret not if your children are jumping on the bed at 6 am straight! It is their nutrition speaking.

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