Foods for the Growing Child​

Foods for the Growing Child​

Kids grow rapidly between the ages of two and 12 and need to be fed correctly.

Foods containing protein, calcium, iron and vitamins are essential to their growth and development during these growing years. Children can be stunted without them and, in extreme cases, it can affect the growth of their mental and motor skills. In the main food classes, these nutrients are present: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods.


Strawberries and blueberries are high in antioxidants, phytochemicals and vitamin C. They guard against damage to healthy cells, improving the immune system.

How to prepare it: For ice cream, milk, pancakes and cereal, use berries as toppings. To make blueberry pancakes, add blueberries to the pancake batter.


Eggs are high in protein and vitamins and are one of the richest sources of choline, an essential nutrient that supports the growth of the brain.

How to do it: Boil, roast, scramble, or make those omelettes. Add them to soups, porridge, gravy, noodles and rice, or make custard-like desserts.

Cow’s milk

It is a good source of calcium, which is essential for building bones and muscles, and phosphorous. If your child is not two years old yet, serve full-fat milk, not low-fat or skimmed types. She would need the extra energy to expand unless she is overweight.

How to prepare it: Serve milk with cereal or cookies for a quick and easy meal, or blend it with fruit to make smoothies.

Peanut butter

Rich in monounsaturated fats, peanut butter provides nutrition and protein for children. Some brands, however, contain added salt, sugar, palm oil and partially hydrogenated fats that reduce the consistency of nutrition.

How to make it: spread it on cookies, or eat it directly out of a glass. You can drizzle it over waffles or ice cream as well.

Wholegrain foods

Fibre retains digestive health in these foods and avoids constipation.

How to prepare it: Give wholegrain cereals and biscuits to your child as snacks. To help her get used to the taste, combine the whole grains (brown rice or wholegrain bread) with the processed grains (white rice or white bread).


It is an excellent source of iron and protein. Iron stimulates brain growth and function and promotes the immune system.

How to cook it: Select meat cuts that are tender and cut into small pieces or minced. To make meatballs or patties, mix minced beef, chicken or fish with mashed tofu, eggs, breadcrumbs or mashed potatoes.


Filled with protein, fish helps develop muscles and bones that are strong. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines also contain large concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote the growth of the eyes, brain and nerves.

How to cook it: coat fish, crushed cornflakes or wholegrain breadcrumbs in a batter of rice crispies. To make sushi, fishballs or fish cakes, blend the fish with rice, tofu or potatoes.


Loaded with protein, calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus, cheese is perfect for healthy bone development.

How to cook it: The milder taste of mozzarella and American or European cheeses, such as edam or emmental, may be preferred by children. Serve them in strings, cubes or slices. On bread or pizza, you can also toast cheese (it tones down the smell), or grate and sprinkle over pasta, fried rice or noodles.


It is filled with nutrients that optimize the growth of the eye and protect against damage to cells. It also offers plenty of fiber that increases digestion and avoids constipation.

How to make it: Cut the broccoli into thin, blanched florets. Serve with dips (salad dressing, sauce with cheese, ketchup with tomatoes or sesame sauce) or sprinkle with grated cheese. The vegetables can also be used as a pizza topping or a filling for omelettes.

Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables

These involve carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and papayas that are rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids that are processed into active vitamin A in the body. For healthy skin and vision, growth and body tissue repair, vitamin A is important.

How to cook it: Cut the vegetables into sticks and steam them with dips such as salsa, cheese sauce or hummus before serving. Turn fruits into ice popsicles by cutting and freezing them into cubes.

Greek Yogurt

A full-fat Greek yogurt (which has more protein than other yogurts) can help keep brain cells in good shape for sending and receiving data. Fat is vital for brain health. How to Serve: Pack Greek yogurt with some nice mix-ins at lunch: cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber, and blueberries with a dose of polyphenols called nutrients. Another choice is dark chocolate chips. They’ve even got polyphenols. It is thought that these nutrients keep the mind sharp.


Spinach and kale, full of folate and vitamins, are associated with lower risk of developing dementia later in life. Kale is a super food, full of antioxidants and other items that support the development of new brain cells.

How to Serve It: Greens are a hard sell for some girls. So you might want to try some new ideas instead of serving a salad,

  • For snack time, whip spinach or kale into smoothies.
  • For omelets or lasagna, add spinach.
  • Make kale chips. Cut kale from stems/ribs, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt, and bake
  • Soybean

Consider having soybean products in the child’s diet. Soy flour, soy chunks, tofu, and soy milk are a few examples of soybean products. Soybeans are rich in protein, which is known to be similar to animal protein (9). Soy products such as tofu and soy milk are rich in calcium as well. This provides an ideal source of protein for vegans. Regular soy consumption can contribute to improving bone health


Legumes are high in protein and low in fat content, like lentils, black beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans Most legumes contain a decent amount of calcium and dietary fiber, important for a developing child. For a protein, nutrient rich diet, you should try adding legumes to your kids’ meals.

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