We know about nutrition and we ensure it as well. We take utmost care of our kids and provide them all the amenities. But what about those children who belong to marginalised sections who have to go to bed hungry at times, who have never had more than a quarter of chapati in their meals, whose parents are dependent on daily wages which cannot fulfil daily needs - who would take care of them?
Along with love, acceptance, appreciation, encouragement, and guidance; good living conditions including healthy meals are also essential for the cognitive development of children. A diet comprising all necessary components facilitates their all-round development. A balanced intake of proteins, carbohydrates, fats etc., is mandatory for their bodies to stay healthy and minds to function well. All parents ensure this for their kids and so must we for every child who does not get a fair chance.
But it is shocking to know that India, which is developing otherwise, is a home to millions of children who are underweight. Their parents often cannot afford a healthy living. In such scenarios, should we do something to empower the children? Yes, without a second thought.
Akshaya Patra, one of the top NGOs in India, has come forward to address this issue by feeding the children. We should also educate people about the importance of a healthy diet and ways to ensure it. So what are the necessary components that define child nutrition?
Calories and Proteins
According to dietary norms stated by Central Mid-Day Meal Scheme, 450 Calories and 700 Calories as well as 12 grams and 20 grams of proteins are required for Primary and Upper Primary groups respectively. The quality of meals protects children from a sluggish metabolism, low energy levels, low immunity, underweight etc. Mid-Day Meal benefits more than 1.6 million children every day!
Fats and Carbohydrates
Fats are a source of energy for the body. Besides keeping children high on energy for a long time, they also strengthen their immune system, help in absorption of vitamins, production of hormones and insulation of body. Carbohydrates also act as energy suppliers. They help in regulation of blood glucose, the breakdown of fatty acids and act as a dietary fiber. Potatoes, beans, milk, grains are rich in carbohydrates. Both these components are an essential part of child’s nutrition because they help in their vital growth and keep them energetic. Akshaya Patra ensures that the meals provided by them have the required quantity of fats and carbohydrates so as to ensure proper nutrition, energy supply, and growth of the children.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are the micronutrients that are required by our body to carry out several metabolic functions. Vitamin A helps maintain soft tissues, mucous membranes, healthy skin and good eyesight. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes healthy gums and teeth. It helps in the absorption of iron and promotes wound healing. There are many other vitamins like Vitamin E, K, B6, B12 that are important for the body. Like vitamins, minerals also help the body to grow, develop, and stay healthy. Minerals are used for several functions- from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are also used in the production of hormones and maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Akshaya Patra ensures that their meals are of good quality, hygienic, and include all these components. It has a mission of serving healthy meals to 5 million kids by 2020. You can make a donation in honour of someone to help children get the best diets for their growth. Let’s donate today!