10 Essential Nutrients Your Child Needs & Their Food Sources

Proper nourishment is crucial to children’s rapid growth and development. However, being mothers in a fast paced generation, we get so busy and find it convenient preparing foods with quick prep time, often with the same nutritional value, repeatedly. As a guide, find a list of essential nutrients your child requires and their major food sources.

1. Calcium

This is necessary for building healthy bones and teeth, as well as maintaining old ones. Sources include milk, cheese, yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, soybeans, tofu and pudding.

2. Carbohydrates

They provide energy for brain and all physical activity. It also caters for children’s rapid growth. Common sources include rice, yam, bread, ripe plantain and cassava.

3. Fats

These are essential for your child’s cognitive development, provides the child with a healthy immune system, hair, skin, nails and decreases inflammation. Major sources include fishes like tuna, sardines, mackerel and salmon, soybeans oil and walnuts.

4. Iron

It helps to produce energy and transports oxygen in the blood. It also aids having a strong immune system as well as physical growth. Include lots of fish, liver, chicken, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, unripe plantain, oatmeal, seeds and nuts in your child’s diet. Other sources include cheese, chicken, mushrooms, eggs, and beef.

5. Protein

This is a body building nutrient which also maintains and repairs the body tissue. Growing children should be encouraged to eat not less than 2 to 3 servings daily. Sources include eggs, cheese, fish, meat, beans and chicken.

READ ALSO: Yummy & Nutritious Recipes for Babies Between 6 – 10 Months

6. Vitamin A

This is essential for maintaining a healthy eyesight and skin. Carrots, mango, pawpaw, green leafy vegetables, cod liver oil, milk and eggs are good sources.

7. Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12

These help in cell formation, cognitive development and strengthening the immune system, among other things. Include fruits and vegetables such as avocado and mango, as well as beans, peas, okra, cashew nuts and brown rice in your child’s diet.

READ ALSO: Healthy Mum, Healthy Baby! 10 Nutrients Expectant Mums Really Need & Their Food Sources

8. Vitamin C

It helps protect the body from infections by strengthening the immune system. Kiwi, citrus fruits, water melon, pawpaw, potatoes are very good sources.

9. Vitamin D

This is also known as the sunshine vitamin. It promotes the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the body. It is produced naturally by your body when the skin is exposed to the sun. Foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish, mushrooms, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.

10. Zinc

It is essential for healing wounds, as well as growing and repairing tissues. It also helps reduce the chances of having pneumonia and other infectious diseases, while improving growth rates in children. Shellfish, red meats, oysters are good sources.

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