Nutrition for young children

Food preferences of young children keeps changing from day to day or week to week.

  1. Food needs to be cooked or served in a particular way to be accepted.
  2. Children have erratic appetites due to which they might eat well in one meal but refuse the next.
  3. Preschoolers enjoy well prepared food which is served attractively.
  4. Preferably the meals should not be served too hot or cold.
  5. Children like familiar foods and so always introduce new foods with already well accepted foods.
  6. There should be a balance between hard and soft foods, and strong and mildly flavoured foods.
  7. Meals should be colourful for more variety and interest.
  8. Preschoolers need to be served foods that can are handy finger foods especially in school like cutlets, hard boiled eggs, small sandwiches ,rolls and whole fruits.
  9. For table eating, small pieces of food that can be eaten with fork or spoon should be served.
  10. Children should be encouraged to self feed. Provide them with child friendly table chairs, deep unbreakable bowls and cutlery with blunt edges. Handy daily Tips
  • Meal times are great times for family to connect so just avoid any arguements and maintain pleasant atmosphere.
  • Give less fruit juice or smoothies upto 150 ml a day as it may cause tooth decay.
  • Add some nuts like almonds,raisins,bananas or strawberries to their breakfast porridge or cereal.
  • Give them good protein in diet like milk, eggs, chicken, fish, soya beans and beans.
  • Ensure that you send fruits or vegetables-papaya, melons in tiffins to eat at morning break time.
  • Give a portion of fruits and vegetables in school lunch .You can give a salad filled or cottage cheese sandwich, give carrot, cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes or grapes.
  • On their way back from school children are particularly very hungry. You could provide fresh fruit or vegetable snack like mango, papaya and carrot sticks.
  • Encourage children to have water instead of juices, fruits like musk melon, watermelon, papaya to relieve constipation if any.
  • Avoid using extra salt, fat or sugar.
  • Avoid junk food or overfeeding to avoid obesity.
  • While shopping out carry your child’s healthy tiffin from home. Feed them bananas, melons, carrot or cucumber sticks.
  • Always keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed and ready in refrigerator for an instant kiddie snack.
  • While shopping, encourage them to pick and choose a vegetable or fruit they want to try.
  • Have fun together when children help you to prepare food or drinks and supervise them.

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