The ‘growing up’ days of children is the most crucial phase for any parent. Whatever they eat or drink has a direct effect on their health for the coming years. Also, owing to their age, growth rate and activities undertaken, their appetite keeps changing drastically, either resulting in under-eating or over-eating! And once they start going to school, they get a gamut of opportunities to relish on different delicacies. Moreover, children are more energetic than adults, so it is an arduous task for parents to devise a diet chart that will meet their nutritional needs.
But before you chart a diet plan, it is important for a parent to become a role model for your child by practicing healthy eating habits. Make water the only drink for your child followed by nutrient filled foods, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Choose fruits of different colour, shape, texture thus inclining your child towards healthy eating. Introduce starchy foods, whole grains, protein rich foods, low-fat dairy products because these mediums of healthy eating improve cognitive function which positively impacts learning process. Apart from these, dry fruits and nuts are also equally important for the overall growth and development of kids. So, let’s shed some light on important nutrients that are necessary for your child on a daily basis and are found in dry fruits and nuts.
Proteins play a pivotal role in the growth of a child. Proteins give strength, build cells and support muscles, organs, hormones, energy levels, etc. Moreover, protein is a boon to fight infections, fatigue and poor concentration. Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews, dried figs and raisins are some of the dry fruits and nuts that are rich in protein. Most importantly, the intake quantity of protein completely depends upon gender, age and weight. However, experts have noted that children who fall in the age group of 4 to 13 years need about 3-5 ounces or 20-35 grams of protein a day.
Just like protein, iron too plays a key role to boost physical and mental growth of kids. It not only helps in cognitive development but also augments immunity. Iron holds oxygen in the haemoglobin and gives utmost strength to deliver that oxygen to various parts of the body. However, deficiency of iron can lead to anaemia which can become a big hurdle in the child’s growing up days. But regular consumption of iron, i.e. about 10 milligrams for kids in the age group of 4 to 8 years and 8 milligrams for kids in the age group of 9 to 13 years can help waive off iron deficiency. So, it is imperative to include iron-rich dry fruits and nuts such as pistachios, raisins, cashew nuts, almonds, apricots, figs, dates and prunes to your diet!
Bones are like a foundation for your child’s growing up days. Low bone density can make your child’s bones weak and brittle. But regular intake of calcium keeps bone strong and intact and also helps in muscle contraction. Apart from this, calcium also aids in the smooth functioning of nerves and heart. Nuts like walnuts and almonds are rich in calcium but among them almonds are the best source. To enjoy utmost benefits of calcium, then handful of almonds can do wonders. Moreover, you can also replace peanut butter with almond butter or add almonds in trail-mix snacks. Children who fall in the age group of 9 to 18 years, should consume 1300 mg of calcium daily.
Fibre is extremely important for a regular bowel movement and smooth functioning of the digestive tract. Fibre-rich food products curtail constipation and help in minimizing obesity, cancer and heart disease for the near future. Figs, dates, raisins, apricots are some of the rich sources of fibre. It is stated that kids in the age group of 4 to 8 years should at least consume 25 grams fibre a day, girls in the age group of 9 to 13 years should consume at least 26 grams of fibre a day and boys in the age group of 9 to 13 years should consume 31 grams per day.
There are various vitamins which are equally important for the development of the body. Vitamin A helps in maintaining healthy eyes, Vitamin B’s are important for maintaining metabolism, Vitamin C helps in healing the wounds, Vitamin D helps in strengthening of bones, Vitamin E protects your cells and tissues and Vitamin K helps in clotting of the blood. Moreover, dry fruits and nuts are not only rich in vitamins but they also act as antioxidants. Almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios are some of the nuts that are rich in Vitamins. Children who fall in the age group of 4 to 8 years should at least consume 1.2 micrograms of Vitamin B’s daily and children from 9 to 13 years should consume at least 1.8 micrograms daily. Furthermore, at least 600 IU Vitamin D should be consumed daily by kids older than one year and 16.4 IU of Vitamin E should be consumed daily by children who fall in the age group of 9 to 13 years.
Whilst following this healthy regime, try to avoid junk food and fast food like pizza, burgers, chips, pastries, chocolates, etc. Also, avoid soft drinks, sodas, flavored water, etc., owing to their high sugar content which can lead to childhood obesity and diabetes. Instead, try homemade healthy alternatives for snacks and desserts like date and nut slices, dry fruits laddoos, date and fig bread, the nutcracker, dry fruit pancakes, etc. If you running out of ideas for breakfast or lunch box then explore some of these snacks and lunchbox recipes. Besides, you can also start your child’s day on an energetic note with peanut butter on waffles, toast or add chopped dry fruits and nuts to a bowl of yogurt.
And while you are trying all these recipes, it’s imperative to have the best quality of dry fruits and nuts that are premium and free from chemicals. Thus, explore Ambrosia Nuts and relish the best dry fruits and nuts in town!