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Health on Plate! The Importance Of Nutrition In Early Childhood Development

The ages from birth to age 8 yrs is considered early childhood, and up to the age of 5 is a fascinating time of tremendous growth and development at a fast pace. During the first few months, parents notice profound changes in their babies almost daily. It is at this time that the body and brain develop the fastest. By age 8, almost 95% of the brain has already developed and laid the foundations for future learning. On the other hand, the body will continue to grow till the late teens.

Nature and Nurture are the two main influencing factors in every child’s growth and development. Nature refers to the genes the child is born with, whereas Nurture is the experiences and nutrition the child receives. Nature-wise there is nothing much we can do once the child is born. However, nurture-wise, there is a lot that we can do. Besides giving your child an array of experiences, childhood nutrition is also paramount.

The nutrition received in childhood, a time of growth and development will directly affect the child as they grow up. As challenging as it might be for adults to maintain a healthy diet, it is even more difficult for children. However, since early childhood is the formative years for habits to be used in their entire lifetime, as parents, we must persist and stay on track to develop healthy eating habits in our children.

A balanced, nutritious diet is important for preschoolers (children aged 3 – 5 years old) because it provides the nutrients needed to help them to grow and develop properly . Eating a healthy diet can also help to prevent chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease . Additionally, developing healthy dietary patterns at a young age can set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating.”

  • Sarah Achleithner, writer at Nutrium
  • 7 Key Facts of Nutrition in the Development of Mind, Body and Spirit

    Let’s explore the importance of childhood nutrition in developing 3 key areas of a child- their body, mind and spirit.

    For you: Enrol your child in India’s leading preschool network.

    1. Body: As building blocks to grow big and strong
    2. Children are naturally active, as they should be, and are constantly on the go, exploring and trying out new things. They need a diet rich in nutrients that provides them with the necessary fuel to carry on their very active lifestyle while also protecting them and keeping them healthy. Further, the importance of nutrition for preschoolers can be evident in the physical health of their body development.

      Nutrition in early childhood is essential. The benefits of good nutrition in a well-balanced diet are that it prevents malnutrition, helps build the child’s immunity, reduces the chances of the child being underweight or obese and even minimises the chances of chronic health issues when they get older.

      The nutrition in childhood for optimal development of your child’s body should be rich in-

    3. Calcium and Vitamin D
    4. The benefits of nutrition high in calcium and Vitamin D will directly and positively impact the development of bones and teeth in children. Milk, cheese, yoghurt, and dairy foods are the obvious choice. Still, certain green vegetables, legumes and fruits, and fish with edible soft bones contain natural and easily absorbable calcium. Therefore, to understand the importance of nutrition for preschoolers it is essential to know the benefits of Calcium and Vitamin D.

    5. Proteins
    6. The importance of proteins in childhood nutrition cannot be stressed enough. These are the building blocks for muscle repair and development. Eggs, seafood and fish, lean meats, cheese, beans and nuts are a few popular foods rich in proteins. Moreover, proteins are the vital components to understand the importance of childhood nutrition.

    7. Carbohydrates
    8. Nutrition in early childhood needs to have a good portion of carbohydrates, as these are energy-giving foods for children. Due to their high activity levels, children need a lot of carbs in their diet. Foods like whole grain bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta, rice, and even certain fruits and vegetables like sweet potato, corn, pumpkin, bananas and apples are a source of good and healthy carbohydrates. Therefore, the importance of childhood nutrition can be practised healthy carbohydrates in kids.

      Did you know the role of nutrition in child development is crucial for their ability to fight illnesses?

    9. Essential Fats
    10. This is a necessary element of childhood nutrition as they help absorb certain vitamins necessary for skin health and provide insulation and protection to vital organs apart from other functions. Nuts, seeds, and certain fish are good sources of essential fats.

      For you: Enrol your child in India’s leading preschool network.

    11. Mind- Food for Thought
    12. Nutrition in early childhood fuels food for cognitive abilities in kids. A child’s brain develops at a very rapid pace, collecting and storing immense amounts of information very quickly. The child’s attention span, learning and memory are all affected by the foods they consume. Therefore children need a nutrient-dense diet to help them concentrate, understand and assimilate as much as possible in the environment they are exposed to.

      Certain foods need to be a part of childhood nutrition that helps the brain stay alert. Foods are rich in Vitamins D and E, Omega 3, and Folate, all help to keep the brain sharp and healthy. Green Leafy vegetables, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and yoghurt keep the brain sharp and enhance its development.

    13. Spirit- Good food for the Body and Soul
    14. Eating food should make us happy. It must appeal to all our senses, especially sight and smell. Food that is colourful with varied textures and tastes can be fun to eat, so liven up your plate with salads, vegetables, elements from different food groups, and ‘eat the rainbow!’.

      Healthy foods don’t have to be boring. Pair a leafy vegetable preparation with roasted papad or put it on a canape cup to make it look interesting. You can make “soft taco shells” out of small-sized ‘chapatis’ and fill them with cooked vegetables for an interesting and healthy presentation. Colourful idlis/dosas made with grated or pureed fruit will liven up any plate and bring a smile to your little one’s face.

      Limit sugary drinks, fizzy drinks and packed juices. Eat the actual fruits and choose to drink water instead, or a simple homemade drink like ‘Nimbu Pani, ‘Aam Panha’, or ‘Kokum Sharbat’ would be an even better alternative to the ready-made drinks. 

      Make ‘healthy eating’ a way of life right from the beginning; as we grow up, it will come naturally to us and be easier to follow. Following a balanced diet and keeping the meal simple is key, along with some good habits that can make the meal experience fun.

      Did you know nutrition for kids helps maintain their chemical balance in the brain and body?

    6 Healthy Habits to Encourage Children to Eat a Nutritious Meal

    Along with good childhood nutrition, a few habits can be introduced early.

    1. Eating together as a family encourages healthy practices of early childhood nutrition.

    2. Please switch off the TV, mobiles and tablets and keep them away from the dining area. It can be distracting while imparting the importance of early childhood nutrition.

    3. Please talk about the food, where it is from, how it is prepared, maybe some interesting facts about it, or maybe even play a game, like naming all the different things you can make with a single ingredient, e.g. a potato.

    4. Serve smaller portions and encourage your child to serve themselves some more if required. This will make them feel less overwhelmed when they see a full plate and will reduce the wastage of food.

    5. Enjoy meal times and avoid rushing through them. Even though it is frustrating when a child eats slowly, it will help them understand their bodies and realise when their tummies are full.

    6. Excessive snacking between meals should be avoided. Keep snacks simple and portions small so as not to spoil the child’s appetite while providing early childhood nutrition for kids.


    The role of nutrition in child development improves the overall strength of mind, body and spirit significantly.As parents and professionals at Eurokids, we are aware of the benefits of nutrition and the value of good childhood nutrition, which is why at our centres, we try to teach good food habits from the beginning. The children follow a preset menu designed by our in-house nutritionists, and they learn to feed themselves by hand and with cutlery, even hold a tumbler and drink by themselves. The children are even encouraged to try out different foods. Ultimately, it is our aim to help children comfortably reach their developmental milestones and make things easier for parents at home.

    Which of these tips are you going to try to provide the best nutrition for preschoolers?


    For informative and accurate articles on all things related to your new born-toddler’s development, growth, health and nutrition, follow EuroKids Blogs and do check out our nationally recognized preschools – EuroKids for the first step in your kid’s educational journey!

    About Us

    EuroKids is recognized as India’s most respected early childhood education brand, with over 21 years of experience, and has a presence in 350+ cities & 3 countries. The journey began in 2001 with 2 preschools and since then the group has consistently raised the bar for preschool education through its innovative and mindful curriculum – EUNOIA, which helps children grow holistically in a home-like environment.

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