Importance of healthy eating in early childhood

There have been enough studies in USA and Europe that confirm, nutritious diet will make your child healthier and a better learner. Close home massive work of consistently providing mid day meals  to millions of under-privileged children done by Akshay Patra has definitely established a direct link between child’s food , learning ability and academic performance in long run.

The relationship between nutrition, health and learning is strong. Nutrition is one of the three major factors that impact child’s development; genes and environment are the other two factors.

It seems bizarre to think that what your child consumes at, say, 4 months will affect their learning ability years later. Research has proven this true. Throughout their early childhood, it’s important to monitor your child’s nutrient intake for the sake of their later performance. For instance, breast feeding appears to lead to higher IQ, while iron deficiency correlates with reduced cognition and achievement at school age.

Before birth and for the first eight years after birth, children’s bodies develop at a rapid pace. For example, new teeth and bones require calcium, which can be provided by milk, yogurt and cheese. Children’s brain cells develop thousands of connections and a protective sheath myelin grows around developing nerves hence children need more iron.  In India, 50% preschool children suffer from nutritional anemia & iron deficiency.

The right food helps children be in good mood, increase mental functioning, help maintain the appropriate body weight and prevent specific illnesses. To remain active while playing, to be attentive in class, children need to have proper nutrition.

If children develop healthy eating habits from the start, it will set them up for a healthier adulthood.

Diets have changed drastically in last 10 years than it changes in last few 100 years.

The foods we are eating today are over processed, grease soaked, sugar filled, chemical-laden as compared to food eaten by our ancestors. Processing such as Pasteurization, Homogenization, high heat & mechanical processing reduces nutrients.  For Ex. Bread has 16 chemicals to keep it FRESH!! Traditional sit-down, relaxed family dinners has gone already!!

Understanding importance of food eaten by young children, we at Pumpkin Patch, plan our meals ensuring they eat a balanced diet which contains different types of foods in such quantities and proportions so that the need for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients is adequately.  We ensure that they eat in an environment with their peers, enjoying their meal time and in the process developing right eating habits.

No wonder often parents ask us about our recipes and how we make them eat so well. Yes in addition to Indian simple recipes, we always add spoonful of love to what we cook like all mothersJ . It is simple to make your child eat required food & in right quantities, if you follow simple tips.

  • Understand nutrition requirement of your child
  • Do intelligent shopping , planning , preparing & cooking meals
  • Try to prepare & eat the own cooked food; involve kids while shopping and menu planning.  Plan simple menus ,  serve them to look appetizing
  • Limit the salt & sugar , Avoid all junk and instant food
  • Keep healthy snacks like carrot , cucumber, fruit slices, hummus , cheese ready
  • Game of reading the packet / bottle from backside for food labels is good for kids
  • Do not use chocolates , ice creams as rewards
  • Develop habit of eating slowly & have a plenty of time to enjoy your meals. Do not continue to feed mashed food to your child , because you want them to eat fast
  • Choose  water over juice concentrates!!
  • Make mealtimes as family event! Where no gadgets like phone / tv / computers are allowed. It is time reserved for laughing, listening and eating
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