Importance of childhood nutrition

Growth rate in children may not be as much as when they were infants but it is still much more than in adults. Nutrition therefore is of utmost importance to support growth and development during childhood years. Good nutrition is the foundation for child to survive and thrive. A well-nourished child is not only healthy but will be able to learn better and will be able to contribute to the community also in a positive manner.

Child nutrition involves inculcating healthy food eating habits so that they grow and develop as per the given milestones. Good nutrition also means prevention of obesity and reducing the risk of certain diseases. Healthy eating habits learnt as a child are carried into adulthood.

Childhood obesity is a problem that is mounting day by day. Obesity in children can lead to several chronic lifestyle diseases through adult life such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and some carcinomas. Learning to eat healthy will make sure that children do not become overweight/obese in the future when they become adults.

Children need healthy nutritious food which provides them with energy, protein and other nutrients. Every child is born with a potential to grow in a certain way because of his/her genes, but unless good nutrition supports the growth and development the child will not be able to realize the potential with which they are born.

Nutrients that are important for children

All the nutrients that are important for adults are equally important for children. But as they are still growing some nutrients become extremely important for children. The nutrients which are crucial during childhood are protein, carbohydrates, good fats, calcium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin A, C and D.

Growth and nutrition are very closely inter-linked. Protein is the nutrient whose main function in the body is growth and development. A child from let us say three years old to teenage requires about 1.2 grams protein per kg body weight per day on an average.

Protein requirement differs based on the physiological status of the person. The requirement is different when the child is growing, it is different when a woman is pregnant or lactating, if a person is physically active like an athlete it varies and so on. For a child whose growth rate is more than for adults the right amount of protein in the diet plays a very important role.

There is a lot of emphasis laid on protein but the other two macronutrients, carbohydrates and fats are also important. If sufficient carbohydrates and fats are not there in the diet protein will be used for energy. It is better to save protein in the diet for more important functions rather burn for energy.

Variety and moderation

Getting nutrients from a variety of nutrient dense foods should be the objective for meal planning for children. Children should be offered a variety so that they have a wide range foods to choose from otherwise their diet will become very restrictive. Foods for kids should have calories but they should be nutrient dense at the same time. The nutrients in a meal should be obtained from a variety of foods and any food should be consumed in moderation.

Based on clinical and epidemiologic data on soya intake in Asian populations and basic dietetic principles, because of the nutrient profile of soya and its ability to reduce the risk of certain diseases, soya and soya products can be regularly incorporated into children’s diet.

How can VegPro help in child nutrition?

VegPro products are texurised soya protein products made from defatted soya flour. They are rich source of protein, 52 %. Generally, animal proteins are of good quality but most plant proteins are not of good quality. They do not contain all the essential amino acids needed for our body and for growth and development. Soya protein though a plant protein is an exception as it provides all the essential amino acids in required amounts. Therefore, soya protein can be called a complete protein.

VegPro products are also good sources of micronutrients calcium and iron. Along with protein children get the micronutrients and fiber too. A wide range of recipes which are interesting for children can be made by incorporating VegPro products such as burger to pasta to biryani.

VegPro products because of their nutritive value can be one of the foods that support growth and development in children if incorporated into their diet regularly!

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