Meal-times can get boring for school age children at home. This is evidenced by behavioural patterns that are more inclined towards consuming junk and packaged foods. Children during their growth stage also tend to develop juvenile diabetes, skin diseases, obesity or gastritis due to a frequent change in their dietary preferences, if their food-habits are not regulated properly, in terms of the nutritional consumption per meal.
The solution is not to coerce school age children into eating at home, but instead adding variety to their platter. Rapidly growing bodies undergo physical and mental changes, but they may also acquire a taste for different foods. Here is how you can make them crave delicious, home-cooked food without compromising their nutritional benefits:
- Replace the boring roti with macaronis and cottage cheese.
- Enhance the mundane food items by adding shredded chicken and peas.
- Fry mushrooms lightly in butter and serve with sprinkled pepper on top. School age kids would love it.
- Sandwiches have a lot of scope for experimentation. Add nutrela shreds, chopped tomatoes or minced spinach leaves to them and see your children take bites full of surprise.
As school age children grow rapidly and have a tendency to gain weight and height, the focus should broadly be put on these points.
- Incorporate a variety of nutrition in every meal.
- Have nutritional supplements, as food does not always fulfil all the body’s requirements.
- Do not forget that glass of milk per day. School age children need calcium more than an adult.
- Have at least one fruit a day.
- Consume more fluids – specifically water - during the summer to avoid dehydration.
School children have a tendency of having chips, ice-creams and aerated drinks, which has adverse effects on their health. Coach your children on the side-effects of these and give them better substitutes such as buttermilk, coconut water or jaljeeras. These are also great options for school age children who are conscious of putting on extra weight. Every school age child needs about 1600 to 2400 calories per day, which is also dependant on their age, height and physical activity.
School age children often face hunger pangs in the late evening or at night. The best way to keep their diets on check is to introduce and orient them towards health-foods. Here is a handy checklist on health food-substitutes that your child would love to munch on:
- Nutri bars or muesli bars.
- Custards with fresh fruits and cherries.
- Home-made soup.
- Baby corns fried in butter and garlic paste..
The focus should be more on convenience food, rather than a full-meal target each time the child is hungry. School age children prefer easy-to-have, popular and tasty foods due to their involvement in an active lifestyle.
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