Nutrition during childhood is very important as it plays a vital role not only in growth and development but also helps in building a strong immune system from early life.
During the early 6 months only breast milk is sufficient to fulfill the requirement of a child but as the child grows the nutrient requirement also increases and it is important to balance the diet by incorporating weaning food.
If in this early stage one incorporates different food items from all the food groups, the child tends to develop a taste of the same and which in turn helps in developing a healthy eating habit for a lifetime. Kids observe their parents, siblings, friends, and other family members and try to copy them not only in terms of behavior but also in terms of eating habits.
Therefore it is very important to make a healthy environment for the kids so that they develop healthy eating habits.
In today’s busy world people choose easy to use frozen or processed food items for snack options. We need to understand that instead of processed food items different nuts can be used as a healthy snack option as it is not only full of nutrients but also gives good energy.
The following nuts should be included-
- Almonds- It is rich in calcium which helps in bone strengthening as well as it is packed with Vitamin E which is good for skin and hair. It also helps in brain development.
- Cashews– It is rich in MUFA, it is a good source of selenium, copper as well as zinc which helps in boosting the immune system. It is also rich in magnesium which helps in bone health.
- Walnuts- It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, it is a good source of magnesium, it is rich in vitamin B1 and B6 which improves memory as well as it is good for maintaining blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels.
- Pistachios – It is packed with essential vitamins like A, C, E, and Group of B vitamins as well.
- Pecan- It is good for digestion as it aids bowel movement as well as it is rich in Vitamin B3.
- Figs- It is rich in calcium and phosphorus which helps in bone health. It is also rich in fiber which eases bowel movement.
- Raisins- It has a sweet flavor that kids usually cherish, it has a naturally sweet flavor that does not cause cavities. It contains a laxative which is good for digestion.
- Apricot – It is rich in fiber, potassium, copper, iron, vitamin as well as niacin. It is good for the eyes as well as it is full of Vitamin A.
- Dates- It is rich in iron as well as it is rich in minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium as well as phosphorus. It is a good choice to prevent anemia in children.
- Prunes- It is rich in antioxidants as well as it is a good source of vitamin C which helps in building a strong immune system.
Nuts and dry fruits are a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals as well as fiber which is a healthy substitute of other snacks like chips, fried food, etc. Nuts and dry fruits should be introduced at an early stage so that if any nut related allergy is present, it will be diagnosed at an early stage. It is also rich in fiber which helps in better digestion as compared to other refined products made up of maida, suji, sugar-based things, etc.
It can be included in different forms- raw, dry roasted, unsalted, for children it can be used in powdered form as well.It is rich in good fat which helps in growth as well as development.