Don't forgot your micronutrients! Hidden hunger, 'tired' kids aren't rare phenomena anymore

Childhood is a tender age for the body to set its patterns and working mechanism, including dietary habits.


The obvious understanding behind that would be an active or an extended day. But, tiredness in children can be a sign of ‘hidden hunger’. India is home to one third of the world’s malnourished children, both in underweight and overweight categories. But, one thing which is common to both these categories is the lack of micro-nutrients, which if overlooked, can impact the holistic development of a child.

The basic principle of the nutritional needs of children and adults may be the same, but childhood is a tender age for the body to set its patterns and working mechanism. Hence, it is important for parents to deeply understand the role of each nutrient in building the ecosystem of the body. The balance between the macro- and micro-nutrient requirements for a child’s optimal growth and development should be well maintained.

 Dont forgot your micronutrients! Hidden hunger, tired kids arent rare phenomena anymore

A fast diet and a fast life can only take you so far where your nutritional needs go. Image: Getty

We may feel that 3-4 meals a day is providing a balanced nutritive diet for a child. However, often, a full plate may lack the overall nutritive needs of a child if it does not contain adequate amounts of foods from different food groups, in varied colors that is easily digestible and bioavailable. Lack of micro-nutrients in the diet can go unnoticed, but its long-standing deficiency can impact active and optimal growth.

This requirement and balance however can be attained, if all components of the food groups are included in the diet. There are a few nutrients that should be considered while preparing an everyday diet plan. Proteins are essential, but vitamin A, B complex, C, E, B12, Iron, and Iodine are a must for complete growth.

This end-to-end balance of nutritional food intake can help a child become strong, active, and smart. Such a wholesome diet in multiple forms has several benefits including increasing energy, boosting mental capabilities, improving memory, and helping maintain a healthy weight. Nutritious supplements and well-planned healthy snacks go a long way in bridging the nutritional gaps that may arise in children and help prevent the pitfalls of fatigue and illnesses.

Additionally, natural ingredients that are rich in the above-mentioned nutrients can be included in the everyday food intake routine at various junctures in a day. Along with macro- and micro-nutrients, the below ingredients support the overall physical and cognitive development of your child:

• Ginger helps in stimulating digestion and bile secretions to ensure the smooth functioning of your child’s digestive system. It also facilitates pancreatic enzymes that are important for digesting different foods and making them available for absorption.
• Tulasi has antimicrobial and antioxidants properties, which help in enhancing their immune functions and responses to common infection.
• Almonds are nutrient-dense nuts that help in boosting your child’s memory. Almonds help in improving memory by increasing serotonin metabolism.
• Mandukaparni is an intellect rejuvenator that helps in increasing your child’s memory and boosting cognitive brain functioning.

Considering the fussy eating habits of children today, their diet ends up including convenient and takeout food items that may not suffice the different nutritional needs of a growing body. It is crucial to inculcate healthy eating habits in children and provide them a sumptuous meal with a fine balance of macro- and micro-nutrients that helps frame their overall well-being.

The author is an MD in Ayurveda and works in R&D wing at The Himalaya Drug Company.


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