Most parents have a tough time dealing with the challenges involved with kids and their eating habits. Managing a proper eating schedule and ensuring that kids are eating a balanced diet often ends up being a complex task for parents.
While we understand the gravity of the situation, it’s highly imperative for kids to have healthy eating habits developed in them from a younger age. The eating habits developed as a child tend to have a great impact on their health throughout puberty and adulthood.
Encouraging kids to eat food containing vital nutrients helps in their mental and physical development.
Why Balanced Diet Matters Right from Childhood?
A healthy and balanced diet ensures that kids are getting all the necessary minerals, vitamins, minerals and nutrients as needed for overall growth and development. Growing kids need various nutrients that play a vital role in building up the body’s immunity. Some of these nutrients include:
Calcium and Vitamin D: They are extremely important for the proper growth and development of bones in kids. Moreover, vitamin D even helps in building a strong immune system.
Iron: The healthy amount of iron in kids helps in cognitive development in the kids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These help in normal brain function.
Protein: Protein aids in building cells, breaking down food into energy, fighting infection, and carrying oxygen in the body.
Vitamin A: It aids in growth, supports the eyes in adjusting to blurry and bright lights, keeps skin healthy, and works to thwart infection.
Fiber: It supports bowel regularity in kids while also reducing the chances of diseases like cancer and heart conditions in the later course of life.
These are many other nutrients required to keep the child’s body healthy and free from diseases. And it’s very essential that their diet is nutrient-dense so that their growth happens in the right way.
Making kids eat fast food or junk foods alter the microbiome for life. Even if the habits are changed in adulthood, the damage stands undone. While junk foods claim to be loaded with energy, the fact remains that they contain excess sugar, salt, saturated and Trans fat. They are low in nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
This was proved in a study conducted on mice by the UC Riverside researchers. The study concluded that there was a substantial decrease in the total number and range of gut bacteria in the grown-up mice which were fed an unhealthy diet as adolescents.
According to physiologist Theodore Garland, UCR evolutionary, “We studied mice, but the effect we observed is like kids having a Western diet, high in fat and sugar and their gut microbiome still being affected up to 6 years after puberty.” He further added, “You aren’t only what you eat, but what you ate as a child!”
This study makes it pretty clear that controlling the eating habits is very important right from childhood so that health stays unaffected during adulthood; especially because of eating habits.