Nutrition and an active lifestyle are key to build healthy bodies, we know! But how do you feed picky eaters and yourself learn to keep your child healthy with the right foods and exercise? Moreover, their attitude towards food and fitness is built in early years that can form a basis of their foundation to adult life. We take no chances when it comes to our children so, when you need to know more about food and the nuances of how nutrition and fitness can help improve health and fight diseases; rely only on qualified professionals from the fitness and nutrition field. And for starters, here’s an expert-led plan chalked out especially for growing up kids by renowned nutritionists and fitness professionals at Fitness First.
The benefits of physical activity for children go beyond a healthy growth and development. An active child will have an improved self – esteem and a better social interaction with friends. Even simple activities like swimming, field games and dancing; that you can do with your kids will improve their resistance, flexibility & strength. Children need to be motivated to enjoy their physical activities. And for that, kids must follow a game or sports format to keep themselves engaged. Variety in exercise and physical activities will ensure development of strength, promote strong bones, muscles, good posture and in general helps in developing a heathy lifestyle and body that will be better at fighting diseases in future.
With fitness comes nutrition and it is proven that children who eat nutritious food, do better in school. But coming up with healthy and interesting recipes that children will actually eat can be a challenge for many parents. A healthy meal should combine nutrient-rich foods from several food groups to supply protein, fat and carbohydrates needed to sustain energy and concentration for several active hours. Nutrition affects your kids’ brain and concentration; so, providing them with foods from each of the five food groups (Milk & dairy products, vegetables, fruits, grains and meat) will help them sustain throughout their busy and demanding days.
Essential fats like Omega-3 fatty acids are really important for the development and proper maintenance of the brain. If you let your child have 3 portions of oily fish and a daily portion of seeds then, they should get a good level to help their brains develop and boost IQ. Omega 3 can be absorbed from a range of sources that include Mackerel, Flaxseeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds Sardines, Chia seeds, Walnuts, Anchovies, Omega 3 rich eggs, Tuna steak, Salmon. Dish out nutrition packed and lip smacking recipes out of these to ensure health without fuss.
Bones are the framework for your child’s growing body. Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, maximizes bone growth and shores up the skeleton during childhood and beyond. A small but significant amount of calcium in the bloodstream is needed for a normal heartbeat, blood clotting, and muscle function. The body withdraws the calcium it
needs from bones to maintain blood levels, which is partly why children need adequate calcium every day. Many kids don’t get enough for their nutritional needs. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, lean meat and beans provide the right amount of calcium to balance your kids’ meal.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients including antioxidant vitamins A and C, folate, fibre, and potassium. They are also low in calories. Berries, apples, pears, and bananas are a great to eat on the go and can be grabbed for quick and filling nutritious meal. It is a good idea to pack baby carrots and celery sticks along with a salad dip for children to snack on in between extra-curricular classes.
Iron helps in keeping dangerous diseases like Anaemia at bay. Many grains and cereals have added iron (check food labels to ensure). Include many other sources in your kids’ diet like red meat, egg yolks, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, molasses, and raisins; for enough iron content to keep them strong and going. It is also advisable to encourage kids to drink citrus juice or eat other foods high in Vitamin C to increase the body’s absorption of iron. Although green vegetables contain lots of iron, the iron from many vegetables comes in a form that is difficult for our body to absorb, but Vitamin C can help.
Let your child consume sufficient vitamin D which can be obtained through eating fish, alfalfa, or mushrooms, or even by spending enough time in the sun. Vitamin D promotes bone and muscle growth in children, and a deficiency has been shown to stunt growth and cause weight gain in teenage girls. Devise meal plans to include lots of protein from meat, eggs, tofu and legumes. Proteins provide an essential building block that every child’s body needs in order to grow. At least one (but preferably two) of your child’s meals each day should include a high quality protein. Up their zinc intake with oysters, chocolate, peanuts, eggs, peas, asparagus and supplements as a zinc deficiency can cause stunted growth in children.
Take a look at these quick and easy recipes from Fitness First’s nutrition experts:
1. Breakfast Egg Muffin:
* 3 whole eggs omega 3 rich
* Mixed vegetables of your choice (onions, capsicums, mushrooms, parsley, mint)
* 1 table spoon of whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon of baking soda
* Salt and pepper to taste
Method of preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the other ingredient and mix accordingly.
3. Ladle the egg mixture into prepared muffin cups to about 3/4-full
4. Bake for 15-30 minutes
2. Fish Fingers
* 500 g of white fish fillet or salmon fillet
* 2 tablespoon of flour
* 1 table spoon of corn starch
* 1 teaspoon of cumin
* ½ cup of bread crumbs
* 1 table spoon vegetable oil
* Salt and pepper to taste
Method of Preparation:
1. Cut the fish fillet into rectangle slices.
2. Mix the flour, corn starch, salt and cumin with water until sticky mixture is formed add the fish to the mixture marinate in about 1 hour, so that the fish strips absorbs the mixture well.
3. Remove the fish from the mixture and roll them in the bread crumbs.
4. Meanwhile brush the baking pan with some oil, transfer the fish to the baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Taking a while to sit down and ponder whether your child is getting all and sufficient nutrients to fuel their active days in school and beyond is worth the while if you want to raise healthy kids. A balanced meal and fitness routine also strengthens immunity which means less sick days in your child’s life.
Raise a happy, healthy and active child with the right foods and fitness for your children.