Back To School – Children Nutrition

By Dr. NagwaIskanderElkhouli, Specialist Pediatrician at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai

Back To School – Children Nutrition

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: As the school start is drawing nearer it is important to think about the nutrition of our children to support their immunity decrease the chances of acquiring infections. 

Here are some pointers parents should think about when planning their children’s diets to ensure balance.

1. Choose Protein – Protein are a great source of energy. Choose seafood (if your child is not allergic), lean meats and poultry, eggs or soy based products.

2.  Fruit Vitamins & Natural Sugars – Stay away from processed sugar and junk foods. Although kids may love it, it is detrimental to their health in the short and long run. Encourage your children to eat fruits, make sure to incorporate this in their daily diets, whether for breakfast or lunch or simply a snack. Stay away from fruit juices as they are very high in calories and can lead to tendency to gain weight.

3. Vegetables – Also a super source of vitamins, vegetables are a MUST in your children’s diets. Although not favored by children, parents should aim to provide a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy and others, each week. If served from cans, parents need to ensure they are low in sodium. 

4. Whole Grains – Make sure to incorporate whole grains in your child’s diet including, brown or wild rice, popcorn, quinoa, and whole wheat bread. This is a high source of fiber and improves digestion. Stay away from refined sugars such as while bread and pasta.

5. Dairy -  Encourage your children to consume dairy that is low in fat or fortified soy beverages. Yogurt is also good for the gut flora and milk an excellent source for calcium.

6.       Water – Do not estimate the importance of keeping hydrated especially in with the Dubai summer heat. Children should drink between 2 to 8 cups of water a day depending on the age. This will prevent Dehydration and Fatigue.