While adults are busy worrying about eating and living healthy, the children are not left out of this important development. When it comes to eating healthy, it is not how much you eat but how well.

There are some important nutrients that children need to consume to grow properly. Their brains, bones, teeth, body cells, skin, eyes etc all need healthy food to develop well.

1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy. They help a child’s body to use fat and protein for building and repairing tissue. While sugars are a form of carbohydrate, kids should be eating more of the starches and fibres and less of the sugar.

Sources: Rice, Pasta, Cereals, Oats, Bread, Yam, Potatoes.

2. Protein

A child is growing and needs as much protein as s/he can get to build cells, break down food into energy.

Sources: Fish, Milk, Eggs, Beans, Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Cheese.

3. Fats

Fats are another great source of energy and are great for your children, especially healthy fats. They help your child’s body to properly use some of the other nutrients it needs.

Sources: Butters (including margarine, peanut butter, chocolate spread, Nosak Famili Oils, Fish, Nuts, Whole-milk dairy products like cheese.

4. Calcium

Children need to develop healthy bones and teeth and calcium is essential to this development. It is also essential for nerve, muscle and heart function, as well as blood clotting.

Sources: Fish, Milk, Cheese, Green leafy vegetables, Yoghurt, Ice cream, Soya Beans, Egg Yolks.

5. Fibre

Fibre helps make your child full and keeps things moving in the digestive tract. A diet that includes good sources of fibre may help prevent constipation. It can also play a role in reducing the chances of heart disease and cancer later in life.

Sources: Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Whole Grain Cereals.

6. Iron

Iron is necessary for a child to build healthy blood that carries oxygen to cells all over the body.

Sources: Poultry, Beans, Red Meats, Liver, Whole Grains.

7. Vitamin A

Vitamin A aids growth, improves eye health, skin health and helps to prevent infection.

Sources: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Cabbage, Egg yolks, Ugwu (pumpkin) leaves.

8. Vitamin B

There’s more than one B vitamin, including B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, biotin, and pantothenic acid. The B vitamins are important in metabolic activity — this means that they help make energy and set it free when your body needs it. This group of vitamins is also involved in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body.

Sources: Seafood, Eggs, Beans and Peas, Poultry and meats.

9. Vitamin C

Vitamin C holds the body’s cells together, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, helps the body heal wounds, and is important for building strong bones and teeth. It is also great for fighting a cold.

Sources: Citrus fruits (such as oranges), Tomatoes, Potatoes, Melons, Efo (Spinach), Mangoes

10. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body take in calcium from the foods eaten. Together, Calcium and Vitamin D build bones and keep them strong. Vitamin D also plays a part in heart health and fighting infection.

Sources: The Sun (early morning especially), Mushrooms, Egg yolks, Tuna, Shrimps.