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Nutrition in Preschool Age

Preschoolers are children between the age of one and six years. From being totally dependent as infants, the preschool children can walk, talk, run and play. This is the age when food habits will be formed. The preschool years are therefore important in a child's life because it forms the foundation for nutritional and health practises.

During preschool years, growth proceeds at a slower rate than during infancy. The preschooler is very active, alert and is busy exploring the environment. He gains control over his body and movements. The child can eat by himself. He has control on his wrist and therefore he can hold a cup and also eat by himself. During the second and third years, preschoolers need less food. The amount of food eaten will vary from one child to another.
Mothers need not be unduly worried about these changes. You should worry only if the child is repeatedly falling ill, is lethargic and apathetic and has not gained weight for a prolonged period.

The child must be taught good food habits because, the eating habits he forms at this time will stay with him for life.  
During the pre-school years, food often takes a secondary place because the child is interested in many other recreational activities.
During the preschool years, the child must take about 2-3 glasses of milk per day and 4 eggs per week. Vegetables and fruits should be included in diet to meet the vitamins and minerals requirement.

Infections play an important role in precipitating nutritional deficiencies. It takes some time for the child's body to build up it's defence systems. So, the child in the early pre-school years is more susceptible to infection than during later years.
Suppose a child does not get enough food and he is exposed to infection once again before the child has had time to recover, the second illness will make the child underweight and he may eventually become malnourished. A malnourished child is more susceptible to infections in future.
Immunisation against common infectious diseases is very relevant in this context since prevention is better than cure.

Tomato Egg Rice     

Ingredients:
Rice – 50 gm           Onion- 80 gm
Egg – 1                   Turmeric powder- 1/8 tsp
Tomato – 50 gm       Cashew nuts – 2
Oil – 1 tbsp              Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tsp.
Salt – to taste


Procedure:

1. Boil rice
2. Mince onion and tomato
3. Beat the egg. Add the minced tomato, salt and turmeric powder.
4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry cashew nuts until golden brown. Strain and keep aside for garnishing.
5. Add the minced onion into the same oil and fry, until golden brown. Remove half of this and keep
    aside for garnishing.
6. To the other half(in the pan) add the beaten egg mixture and scramble. The egg should be cooked
     well.
7. Add the cooked rice and mix well with a fork.
8. Garnish with fried onion, cashew nuts and chopped coriander leaves, serve hot.



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