BALANCED DIET: The diet consists of 6 main ingredients and these are proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. A balanced mixture of these six components is required for a healthy growth. The requirements of each of these constituents are specified in nutritional textbooks according to the age, sex etc.
How can the mother be sure that the child is receiving a balanced amount of these 6 ingredients?
The child eats a variety of things. To calculate the quantity and the nutritional composition of each food item that the child eats and then compare them with standard nutritional tables is practically impossible on a day to day basis. Fortunately calculations are not needed as what we eat daily balances by itself over a period of time. People indifferent parts of the world have culturally different food habits.
Yet all of them are healthy and don’t become deficient in one of the constituents of nutrition (e.g. Proteins or Vitamins). Why? Because the diet balances itself. Our appetite is so made by nature that we don’t eat one constituent preferentially at the expense of other e.g., if there is too much fat in the food, you will find it heavy and disagreeable. Parents should offer the child a variety of foodstuffs (like vegetables, fruits, cereals, meat, eggs, milk, legumes, dals), not necessarily in one day but over a period of time, say a week. The child’s appetite is good enough to pick a well-balanced diet in the long run.