Your child needs different nutrients for growth and development. While each one is important, there are three major nutrients for growth that you need to know right now - proteins, carbohydrates and fat.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. When broken down, they become simple sugars. You can get carbohydrates from rice, bread, cereals, beans and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Fruits and milk are good sources of natural sugars.
Fats also provide energy. In addition, the body needs them to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Examples of fat sources are red meat, butter, shortening and margarine. Many snacks, creamers and whipped cream also contain fats.
Protein is the basic building blocks of the body. It is probably the most important nutrient when it comes to the body’s development. Proteins are needed for repairing cells and for making new ones. Good sources of protein are fish, meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs. You can also get them from plant sources like legumes, beans and soy.
All these major nutrients are needed by the body. However, a child should only receive what’s enough to support his growth rate and development. Otherwise, giving too much can cause health problems.
Think about it. In the past years, the number of overweight children has been increasing. One reason for this is feeding them with fast food that is loaded with fat, carbohydrates and calories. Many children also drink highly-sugared juices and sodas that can make them overweight. There are also recent studies showing that giving high amounts of protein during early childhood can cause an increase in body fat, faster weight gain and obesity.
Since we don’t want our kids to become obese, good eating habits must be started early. Feed them with nutritious food containing the recommended daily amount of nutrients for growth; protein, carbohydrates and fat. In addition, children should be encouraged to increase their physical activity and decrease sedentary lifestyle.
1. WedMD Medical Reference. Carbohydrates & Foods Containing Carbs. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/carbohydrate-foods-topic-overview. [Accessed 30 June 2015]
2. US National Library of Medicine. Carbohydrates. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002469.htm. [Accessed 30 June 2015]
3. US National Library of Medicine. Protein in diet. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002467.htm. [Accessed 30 June 2015]
4. WedMD Medical Reference. Types of fat – topic overview. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/types-of-fats-topic-overview. [Accessed 30 June 2015]
5. Kliegman, et al (ed.). 2008. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier
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