Has your child started to learn to fast? Introducing children to fasting early on may be important so children understand the obligations of fasting. However, do not forget that children are still in a period of growth and development. Thus, it is very important to fulfill the nutritional needs of children when fasting. Do not force them to fast as it can increase the risk of experiencing nutritional deficiencies.

The nutritional needs of the child during an important fast are fulfilled

Here are some of the nutritional needs of children when fasting must be met to support their growth and development.

1. Protein

Protein is one of the main nutrients that must be met during child growth. Protein is a builder substance and plays a role in every formation and reparation of body tissues. Children can get protein from two sources, namely animal and vegetable sources. However, animal protein has a better quality than vegetable protein because of its more complete and numerous essential amino acids.

Examples of animal protein sources are fish, meat, chicken, eggs, milk, and dairy products. The source of vegetable protein is tofu, tempeh, soybeans, peanuts, and other nuts. According to Nutritional Numbers 2013, protein needs of children aged 4-6 years is 35 grams/day, while children aged 7-9 years require a protein intake of 49 grams/day. This requirement is roughly equivalent to 2 servings of animal protein source food and 2 servings of vegetable protein source.

2. Calcium

Children experience rapid bone growth until it stops in adolescence. Thus, calcium is needed to support bone growth in childhood. Not only for bone growth, calcium is also required to maintain a normal heartbeat, blood clotting, muscle, and nerve function.

Some examples of food sources of calcium are milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, broccoli, and others. Children aged 4-9 years require calcium as much as 1000 mg/day, this is roughly equivalent to 3 glasses of milk per day.

3. Iron

Iron is also one of the important nutrients for children. Iron deficiency can cause anemia. The need for iron in childhood increases as the child’s blood volume increases along with their growth. Iron is required for red blood cells to transport oxygen to the cells in the body. In addition, iron is also needed for brain development and function.

Meat, fish, and chicken are the best sources of iron. Vegetables, like spinach, can also provide iron. Breads, cereals, and pasta contain fortified iron. Children aged 4-6 years require iron as much as 9 mg/day, while children aged 7-9 years require iron as much as 10 mg/day.

4. Vitamins A, C, and E

These are vitamins that have antioxidant properties, which can help the body in preventing cell damage from free radicals, thus boost the immune system and keep the body safe from infection.

Vitamin A also plays an important role in the development of vision and bone and supports the growth of body cells and tissues in children. Vitamin C plays a role in helping the body to form and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues, strengthen blood vessels, help wound healing, and help the body absorb iron. Vitamin E plays a role in DNA reparation and metabolic processes in the body.

Many diverse vegetables and fruits can help the child to meet his vitamin needs. For example, mangoes, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, broccoli, and others. Children are advised to consume vegetables and fruits as much as 5 servings per day.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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