We all know that a balanced diet is good for children and adults alike. A nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals is important because it helps promote healthy growth and development. Other nutrients like protein that helps build healthy muscle and tissue; fat for energy; calcium that supports bone and teeth structure; fiber that keeps the body’s digestive system smooth are also key and essential in a child’s daily diet.
Here are the five types of food that are proven to be great for a child’s growth and development:
Fruits with Peel
Even though organic produce costs a bit more, it is well worth investing in for the health of you and your child. Eating organic fruits means you do not have to avoid the peel of grapes, apples, nectarines and so on when you feed your child these fruits. The peel of fruits contain a significant amount of nutrients and fiber that you do not want to miss out on. Non-organic fruits are most likely contaminated by systemic pesticides or waxing. Just remember to wash fruits because bacteria will still be present, even fruits where you do not eat the peel (e.g. bananas) because your child will handle the fruit skin, spreading the bacterial to the fruit and his/her mouth.
Brown rice is much superior to white rice in terms of its nutritional ingredients. It contains three times more fiber, two times more Vitamin E, B6 and magnesium. Being the ‘unrefined’ version of white rice, it is easier to digest and puts a lighter burden on our stomachs. Brown rice is rich in protein, thiamine, calcium, fiber and
potassium. It also has a low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes and risk of diabetes.
Bread is made out of flour that originates from grain kernels, usually from wheat. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain kernel, unlike refined grains used to make white bread, where the fiber-dense bran and nutrient-rich germ is processed out, leaving only the starchy endosperm. Refined grains used to make white bread is not as rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. The rich content of fiber in whole-grain breads helps us feel full longer, and helps prevent overeating.
Maybe you have heard of the rule that the more colourful a fruit or vegetable is, the healthier it is. Chemicals called phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their vibrant hues of green, orange, red and purple that are responsible for fighting diseases. Sweet potatoes in particular, are very rich in beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Vitamin A in the vegetable makes your children’s eyes strong, vitamin C in it helps keep their immune system healthy, potassium improves the health of their hearts and muscles. Again, choose the organic type of sweet potatoes because it guarantees that no chemical fertilizers, pesticides were used on it and that it was not genetically modified.
Instead of smearing peanut butters loaded with artificial sugars and partially hydrogenated fat on your children’s toasts, why not reap the essential fats that natural nuts offer? Look for packs of nuts like pistachios,
peanuts, cashews or almonds. Packed with protein, cashews satisfy hunger and provide energy. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Almonds have been connected to a higher intellectual level and the overall health of the nervous system. Even though a lot of children have nut allergies, it is important to introduce them to the food gradually and in small quantities to make sure if they indeed have the allergy.
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