We call our five year old “the rule man” of our family. He just loves to make some fun rules for himself and makes sure he follows them diligently. One such rule is checking his weight every Wednesdays and checking his height on every first day of the month. A slight increase in his weight makes him feel very excited. If there is a decrease then he knows he has to throw lesser tantrums during meals. He wants to become “long”( read it as tall) like his father and hence sets targets like he should be able to touch the door bell next month or reach the kitchen cabinet without standing on toes and so on. And as a mother, I am his point of person responsible for making sure that his results are not disappointing. After all, Mummas are supposed to have super powers that can make anything possible (according to my children!).
First five years of a child are very crucial in terms of physical and mental growth and development. 90% of brain development takes place in the first five years. Hence it is very important to give them the right nutrition and environment to help them grow well. This is also the period when their immunity is under development. So working on boosting their immunity is also equally important.
I am not much of an internet or book parent. I generally go by my mother’s guidance, self -instinct and pediatrician’s advice. Children are full of action and energy. I do not believe in giving artificial supplements to cover a deficiency that they could have. Instead taking care of these requirements at an early age helps in laying a good health foundation for our children.
Listed below are the 4 nutrient rich foods that help to increase height and boost an over- all growth and development in children. I introduced these in my children’s diet from the day they started eating solids at relevant stages in different forms:
Banana – This is one fruit which is a meal in its own for a toddler. It keeps them full for longer and keeps them energetic. Rich in potassium, full of fiber and nutrients and excellent for brain development, this was one of the first solids that I introduced my children as babies. Honey sprinkled banana is my son’s favorite. Banana pancakes, Banana muffin and Banana milkshake are some of the forms in which I incorporate this food.
Eggs – I introduced my babies boiled egg yolk as one of their first few solid foods, slowly transitioning them to the whites and then to subsequent forms once I was sure that they are not allergic. Eggs are an excellent source of Iron, protein, fat and Vitamin D, A, E and B12. They are at the core of their diet and are a must for their physical development. Boiled egg, omelette, scrambled eggs, egg parathas and egg fried rice are some of the ways I incorporated them as they grew.
Milk & Milk products – A slice of cheese or few cubes of paneer make a healthy mid- day snack for toddlers. Apart from this, a glass of skimmed milk with Bournvita Little Champ helps children boost their immunity and in brain development. Milk alone cannot accomplish much. But an ad on like Bournvita is a great source of DHA, Calcium, Iron, Protein, Iodine and Vitamin B12. The chocolate flavor has its own perks. I also give them butter and ghee in good quantities in alterations every day.
Nuts or Dry Fruits – Rich in minerals, amino acids and vitamins, Nuts have always been an essential part of my children’s diet ever since they could eat chew-able solids. It makes them smart and their bones strong while enhancing their stamina. I used to add 1-2 soaked almonds or walnuts or cashews along with milk, chapatti and sugar in mixer and grind it to paste and feed them as babies. Salted Nuts are an excellent snack for children. A few pistachios, figs and almonds can make healthy accompaniments to breakfast in their snack or lunch boxes every day.
Apart from these many other foods like leafy vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains should be integrated in children’s diet every day. Age has no upper bar to this. But the lower bar is an essential factor. Children also develop their taste preferences in the first five years. Hence it is important to introduce them to all varieties of tastes and healthy food and keep the junk at bay. After all they need to eat to eat well to grow “Long” (read it as tall)!!