Your child requires adequate nutrition for healthy growth and development. Remember that although your child needs nutritionally rich foods, his/her tummy size is small. So, you should not treat your child like an adult and expect him/her to eat as much as you do. Since you cannot increase the quantity of food, try to increase the quality of food that you provide to your child by making the food nutrient dense.
You can try and include these in your child’s tiffin to make it nutrient-dense and healthy:
Cereals & Millets
Include 2 cups of cereals and millets for 1-3 years old children/ day and 4 cups of cereals and millets for 4-6 years old children/day. They are good sources of protein, calcium, iron, and B-complex vitamins. Grated carrots, chopped onions, capsicum, beetroot etc. can be added to upma, chapati, dosa, or idli. This makes the lunch more colourful and nutritionally rich.
Include at least one cup of pulses/day. Make your child’s food nutrient-dense by sneaking some sprouts into sandwiches, a bowl of oats, cutlets, or in regular breakfast items like vegetable-upma, dosa idli or parantha.
Include at least 2 cups of vegetables for 1-3 years old children/ day and 3 cups of vegetables for 4-6 years old children/day.
- They are rich sources of vitamins and minerals.
- Include green leafy vegetables in scrambled eggs, sandwiches, khichri, vegetable pulao, or other snacks.
- Add grated carrots, finely chopped potatoes, beans or peas in ragi or rice roti, upma, soups, stir fries, etc.
Include at least 1 bowl of fruits.
- You can cut fruits into small pieces or give them in the form of 100% juice (use the edible portion of the whole fruit to prepare the juice without the addition of water, sugar etc).
- Other options are fruit milkshake, fruit salad or fruit custard.
Milk and Milk Products
Include at least 500 mL of milk and milk products whenever possible.
- Milk provides your child with good-quality proteins and fat. You can make the milk more nutrient-dense by tossing a handful of fruits or nuts. - Fruit milkshake is a healthy addition to your child’s tiffin.
- Cheese can be grated over rice, cutlets, chapati, or dosa.
- Add paneer cubes or grated paneer in vegetable gravies or rice items.
Eggs, Meat, Chicken or Fish
You may include one portion (50 g) of egg, meat, chicken, or fish instead of one portion (30 g) of pulses if you are a non-vegetarian.
- Add a variety of veggies to scrambled eggs.
- Toss some shredded chicken or mutton into cutlets, or fried rice.
Limit the intake of
- French fries and other fried foods.
- Fruit-flavored drinks.
- Foods high in salt, e.g. chips.
Ensure you read the product labels before offering it to your child