Encouraging Healthy eating habits (For parents)

Practicing good nutrition is one of the best ways to stay healthy. And good nutrition should start at a young age. Doing so can prevent chronic diseases. It boosts your immunity, supports your muscles, and can ultimately help you live longer. Here are some parenting tips to get your kids engaged and enjoy healthy food options.

Balanced diet for 4-6 years old

Dr. Alpa mentions, “A balanced diet is very important for every child. A 4-6-year-old child requires all essential 6 nutrients that are required for the physical and mental growth of children. These nutrients are Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water. Consumption of water enables adequate nutrition and development of the child. The child should be given a series of meals in between snacks and the composition should be in such a way that all these nutrients are included. A 4-6-year-old child will need about 100 calories/kg/day and protein 1 gm/kg/day. It has to be balanced throughout the day.”

Ways to encourage children to eat healthily

Whatever a child sees, he/she adopts. TV and phones are the big culprits in learning bad habits and eating junk food.

  • Parents should eat together with their children. The child should see people eating healthily. They should not be exposed to junk food. 
  • You need to give multiple healthy options. 
  • You can give a colorful meal. 
  • The refrigerator should contain fruits, raw eatables and not junk. 
  • You need to explain to them what is good for them. 
  • You need to keep the TV and phone off while having food. 

The portion size of 4-6-year-old

Dr. Alpa adds, “Portion size is not important. Things that are important are calorie content. Each child differs when it comes to quantity.”

Children’s diet during fever

  • Children with viral fever are generally dehydrated as the fluid intake goes down dramatically. We should be very much careful about water intake.
  • One should avoid acidic food (junk food, carbonated drinks)
  • Vitamin C-rich foods should be given more. Currently, Amla is easily available.
  • A high protein diet (Moong dal khichdi with ghee) is very much suggested.
  • Freshly made home food is highly preferred. 

Diet for malnourished children

Dr. Alpa shares, “There can be multiple reasons for Malnourishment. It can be because of poor quality food, lesser fluid intake, or vitamin deficiency. The child needs to take high-calorie or calorie-rich foods, and the protein quotient is very important. The child needs to drink 1000-1200 ml of water. Good chewing and mindful eating without a screen are very significant for good health.” 


1. Normal height and weight of a 5-year-old child

Depends on genetic factors. It may range between 100-108 cm in height and 16-18 Kg in weight.

2. Foods for bloating

Curd, and buttermilk. The child needs to chew the food properly. Meals should include a high-fiber diet and should avoid the junk, fried, or spicy food items.

3. Sleeping hours for a 5-year-old child

Sleep is very important for a growing child since many hormones are released during sleep. 8-10 hours is the minimum sleep required for a 5-year-old.

(Edited by Renu Gupta)


Contributed By: Dr. Alpa Shah, Paediatric Nutrition, 
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About the Author

Renu Gupta

With a background in Pharmacy which is the clinical health science that links medical science with chemistry, I had the desire to mix creativity to these fields. Medicircle provides me an avenue to apply my training in science and interest in creativity together.

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