Is your Child eating healthy?
Providing children with good nutrition is very important for their development. The nutrients found in the food we eat are vital for growth, disease prevention, repair of worn-out tissues and good health.
When your child’s diet does not contain enough nutrients or the right balance of nutrients, he or she becomes malnourished. Malnutrition affects the mental and physical development of children. Some signs of malnutrition in children are:
There are 6 vital nutrients which promote healthy growth and parents must ensure that their children’s diet includes these essential nutrients.
The 6 essential nutrients:
Protein provides the building blocks of the body. Every cell in our bodies, from bone to skin to hair, contains protein. Some good sources of protein are meat, dairy, fish, eggs, and beans.
Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it requires. Rice, cereals, bread, potatoes, and yams are some healthy sources of carbohydrates.
Fats enable our bodies to function properly. Healthy fats include coconut oils, olive oils and avocados.
Vitamins prevent us from getting sick. Common vitamins include vitamin B, C, A, D, E and K. Most of the vitamins we need can be found in vegetables and fruits like oranges, mangoes, tangerines, bananas, carrots, and tomatoes.
Minerals play different roles including building strong bones and teeth, boosting our immunity, and helping our wounds heal faster. Some minerals include sodium, calcium, iron, iodine, and magnesium. All foods contain some form of minerals.
For instance, milk and dairy products are a good source of calcium and magnesium and green leafy vegetables like “Kontomire” (Spinach) are a good source of iron.
About 60% of the body weight is made up of water and this makes water very important. Water helps to regulate our temperature, eliminate toxins, carry nutrients to cells, hydrate the body, and prevent constipation. The amount of water your child drinks per day may vary based on their age and how active they are. Below is a general rule on the amount of water children should drink.
● Toddlers: 2 to 4 cups
● 4-8 years: 5 cups
● 9 -13 years: 7 to 8 cups
● 14 and up: 8 to 11 cups
Some fruits and vegetables like watermelon, pineapples, oranges, and green cabbages contain high amounts of water.
Simple healthy recipes for Children’s food
Here are some healthy recipes parents can easily make for their children:
Porridge is a typical Ghanaian go to breakfast meal for children. Porridge comes in
different varieties like maize, millet, rice and wheat.
Tiger nut (Atadwe) Porridge
Blend the rice to form a coarse flour.
Add water to the tiger nuts and blend to form a puree. Sieve the mixture with a cheesecloth to remove the chaff and extract the milk.
Pour the extracted milk into a heavy bottom pan. Add the rice flour, salt and sugar. Place on a medium-low heat. Using a wooden ladle, stir continuously till thickened and no longer tasting raw.
Serve warm or cold, with or without evaporated milk.
Any topic you like us to add to this series? Suggest it here:
The Parents' Guide is a joint initiative by: