A balanced diet can deliver enough amounts of essential nutrients your daughter needs to grow. What your little one eats now can make a huge difference to health in the future.
We have made a list of 6 important nutrients your child needs and where can she get it from. However, keep in mind that you must always check with a health professional before starting any dietary supplements.
During childhood, your child needs at least 8 mg of iron daily. As she grows, her muscle mass would increase, and blood volume will expand thereby increasing the body’s need for iron. The nutritional requirement then would jump to 14-18 mg daily.
Powerhouse: Iron is an important nutrient because it helps the blood to transport oxygen to all the parts of the body. It also keeps the brain function strong and boosts immunity. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, headaches, pale skin, frequent colds and anaemia.
Sources: Whole grains, green leafy veggies, nuts, dry fruits, meat, etc.
Indispensable vitamins A & D
Vitamins are essential minerals required in small quantities to sustain life. Girls aged 9-13 years need at least 600 mcg of vitamin A whereas teens require 700 mcg of this nutrient daily. In the case of vitamin D, 15 mcg daily for girls aged between 9-19 years.
Powerhouse: Vitamin A promotes healthy vision, maintains healthy teeth, skeletal tissues and immune function. On the other hand, vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium in the body and maintenance of strong bones. For vitamin D intake, encourage your daughter to play outdoors as sunlight is the best source of this nutrient.
Sources: Orange and dark green veggies, dairy products, citrus fruits, apple, fish, meat, etc.
Also known as vitamin B9, folate is an indispensable nutrient required in 300-400 mcg amount daily for girls aged between 9-19 years.
Powerhouse: Folate is crucial for females because it prevents birth abnormalities during pregnancy. It is also needed to make blood cells and convert carbohydrates into energy. Folate deficiency is linked to birth defects therefore it is encouraged to take this vitamin consciously.
Sources: Legumes, eggs, green leafy veggies, nuts, seeds, papaya, etc.
Protein is the building blocks of the body that play several critical roles in the body. The nutritional guidelines for intake of protein for girls aged between 11-18 years are 1.15 grams.
Powerhouse: Most of the constituents in our body are made of protein. Right from hair, nails, hormones, enzymes and other body chemicals. It plays many roles, important ones include growth and maintenance of tissues, better immunity and balancing pH and fluid balance in the body.
Sources: Paneer, milk and milk products, egg, meat, soya beans, grains, etc.
Good ol’ fats
Nutritional guidelines suggest that 15-25 gm of fat is required daily. This meets the requirements of the essential fatty acids (another important nutrient that the body needs) and the total energy needs.
Powerhouse: Fats aren’t bad! Like other nutrients, fats also play significant roles. They store energy, protect our vital organs, keep the body warm, and help in the function of proteins.
Sources: Almonds, walnuts, ghee, fish, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
Make sure that your child gets a balance of all these nutrients. Keep a check on their consumption of processed foods, sweets and sugary beverages. If she gets habituated to such foods, it may lead to the development of serious health conditions in the future. So, always choose the best foods for your child.
Look out for these symptoms in your child: overweight, fatigue, pale skin, falling ill often, white spots on face, delayed growth or any out of the blue signs. Consult a pediatrician as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms. You can also take advice from clinical dietitians who can assist you by providing a diet plan for your child. Download the MFine app to instantly connect with the best child specialists near you.
Also, let us know in the comments below what healthy foods you give to your child.