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Meal Plan For 3 Year Old Indian Children

One thing all parents will always be worried about, whether the child is a newborn, a toddler, a teenager or even a grown person, is whether or not the child is eating properly. Even as parents, we still get calls from our mothers asking us if we have eaten or not, if we eat fruits or not, if we consume too much junk food etc. It is natural for parents to worry about their kids' health and well-being. Thus, it is essential to understand the age-wise nutritional needs of kids, what to eat, what to avoid and, as per the seasons and availability of food ingredients in a particular country, what is best to consume. This article will discuss in detail the diet chart for 3 year old Indian child and everything you need to know about it. Let us start with understanding the nutritional need of a three year old. 

Nutritional Needs Of A 3 Year Old

A three year old toddler needs 1000 to 1400 calories daily to grow well. At this age, half the plate of your child, which means 50% of what they consume throughout the day, should be fruits and vegetables. Add a variety of food to your child's daily meal, apart from fruits and vegetables. Add a portion of poultry and meat if your family is a non-vegetarian. Add milk, cereals, pulses, millets and a portion of dessert to their daily diet. If your child is deficient in any particular nutrient, Vitamin or mineral, talk to the paediatrician about adding that extra supplement or additional food items that can help cover the deficiency.  

Feeding Essentials For A 3 Year Old Child

  • • Your child might still get used to many new food textures and preparations at three. Especially messy and watery foods, food that must be eaten with a spoon or fork, are new for them. Thus, they might be making a mess while eating. Continuing to use Waterproof Cloth Bibs for a year can be a wise to avoid stains and food all over their clothes. 
  • • Spoons and forks with short and thick handles make it easier for babies to hold and take them to their mouths without spilling the food. 
  • • Many bowls and plates in the market have a suction bottom that can stick to your child's high chair or a regular table top. This helps keep the feeding bowl and plate stable until they learn to eat correctly.  

What To Include In Diet Chart For 3 Year Old Indian Child

The quantities might differ, but a balanced meal for a child looks more or less like a balanced meal plan for a grown-up. Include the following in the diet chart for 3 year old Indian child:

  • • Milk – Milk is rich in Calcium and Vitamin D; thus, 1 – 2 servings of milk daily is a must for your baby. However, if your child is lactose intolerant, talk to the doctor and figure out non-dairy alternatives to provide the nutrition for them. 
  • • Green Vegetables – All seasonal and fresh vegetables available in the market should make it to the plate of your family meals. 
  • Fruits – Like vegetables, all seasonal fruits should become a part of the diet chart for 3 year old Indian child. 
  • • Pulses & Grains – Barley, oats, wheat, rice and all available grains should be part of your and your child's daily diet. Daal and pulses are an integral part of an Indian kitchen. Ensure you make a protein-rich pulse-based meal once a day at least. You can sometimes give them pasta, noodles, dosa, or chapatis made from these healthy and unrefined grains. Avoid packaged food that claims to be made of grains as much as possible. 

What To Exclude From Diet Chart For 3 Year Old Indian Child

Not all food items are healthy if consumed more than in moderation. Here are a few things that should be avoided to make it to the diet chart for 3 year old Indian child (1)

  • • Sugary juices & drinks.
  • • Packaged food items such as biscuits, chips, namkeen etc.
  • • Unpasteurised cheeses or milk
  • • Raw eggs or meat
  •  • Saturated fats are not suitable for your baby; thus, avoid giving them food items that are prepared or deep fried in saturated fats. 

Some Tips For Parents

  • • Accept your child's food preferences, and do not force them to eat something they dislike. Instead, try different preparations of the same ingredients or an alternative with the same nutritional benefits. This will help your child develop a good relationship with food for life. 
  • • Instead of forcing your child to eat, encourage them. Eat along with them to motivate them and ensure that they praise them every time they eat nutritional food, eat without spilling and use a fork or spoon properly. 
  • • Please do not force them to finish the food on the plate. Instead, please encourage them to have small servings and repeat as many times as needed to avoid food wastage. 
  • • Do not allow distractions such as screens or books during meal time. Let them enjoy the food and bonding time with the family instead. 

A balanced meal is as essential for a child as a grown-up. Having a balanced and nutritious meal is any day better than fighting lifestyle diseases as a grown-up. Happy Parenting! 

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