By Priya Kathpal

Roshini, a mother to two children, a boy and a girl, spared no effort in ensuring that she provided her children with a nutritious and well-balanced diet. However, she was distressed by the fact that while her eight-year-old son used to relish the food she prepared, her one-year-old daughter often fell ill. She couldn’t quite understand the reasons that made her daughter fall sick with such alarming frequency.

It was a visit to the family doctor which helped unravel the mystery behind her daughter health concerns. The doctor explained to her that certain foods work best for specific age groups. Most of the time, the food that a primary schooler consumes is not the best choice for an infant, whose digestive system is still developing.

Armed with this knowledge, Roshini began preparing a different diet for her daughter and, in due course, the results started to show.

If you also have children who are separated by a few years, don’t make the mistake that Roshini did. Remember, there is a specific set of food items that children of each age group should consume.

This article looks at 10 food items that infants, preschoolers, primary schoolers and preteens must have to lead a healthy life.

10 foods an infant must have:

Up to the age of six months, the best food for an infant is mother’s milk. Some of the foods discussed below are those that infants have when they are introduced to solids. The list also has a combination of foods that both vegetarians and non-vegetarians can have.


  1. Breastmilk: It is the complete food for infants and their primary source of nutrition till the age of 1 year. Complement breastmilk with good choices of solids to achieve a perfect balance of nutrients. During the 6 months to 1-year period, solid foods are necessary for the infant to help her explore taste and texture. Offer the baby various foods and continue to do so till the baby is comfortable with what he eats. If he shows disinterest, do not try to force feed. Let your baby decide the quantity of food.
  2. Cereals: Rice, broken wheat and semolina are some examples of cereals that are easy to digest sources of much-needed energy. They also make great combinations with other food items.
  3. Sweet potatoes: Are rich in beta-carotene which provides Vitamin A to the body. This is crucial for healthy vision, skin and fighting infections in your infant. Also, preparations made from sweet potatoes have a baby-friendly texture.
  4. Yogurt: Plain yogurt is a great source of calcium, phosphorous and proteins for infants, which are important for strong and healthy bones and teeth. Also, the good bacteria in yogurt helps keep a baby’s gut healthy.
  5. Chicken: Contains iron, one of the most important nutrients that babies are found to be deficient in. It also contains Vitamin B6 that helps release energy. Ideally, boiled chicken shredded into small pieces can be given to infants.
    For those who are vegetarians, chicken can always be substituted with equally nutritious sources like tofu, mushrooms, eggplant, lentils, etc.
  6. Avocados: Mild in taste, buttery in nature and filled with healthy fats, avocados are ideal for the development of the brain. They also help infants to gain weight.
  7. Bananas: Rich in carbohydrate and fibre, bananas are easy to carry and convenient food for every infant. It keeps the baby full for a longer time too.
  8. Nuts and dry fruits: These are concentrated sources of energy, being full of minerals and natural sweeteners. They also contain healthy fats.
  9. Prunes: Babies often suffer from constipation when transitioning to solids. Prunes are a natural remedy for constipation and, as a bonus, provide other nutrients as well.
  10. Eggs: Rich in proteins, fat-soluble vitamins, choline and B12, eggs are important for brain health. They are perfect infant food. However, it is advisable to conduct an allergy test on your baby when you offer her egg for the first time. If there is a history of egg allergy in your family, you can delay introducing eggs.

10 foods a preschooler must have:

At this stage, the food items you give your child should be categorised keeping in mind the nutrients they provide.


  1. Oats: Preschoolers are full of energy and a diet rich in nutrients should complement this. Oats provide the much-needed slow-digesting carbohydrates and fibre. Around 30 g of oats a day is ideal.
  2. Fruits: They are a great source of vitamins, especially the yellow-orange ones that give a good dose of Vitamin C and natural sugars, which are a must to keep the immunity bar up. Two fruits per day should be your preschooler’s target.
  3. Milk and dairy products: Rich in protein, Calcium and Vitamin A, a serving of 400 ml per day in the form of milk/yogurt/cottage cheese or cheese would be enough.
  4. Fish: Salmon and other local varieties are great sources of healthy fats ideal for brain development. Just make sure to pick ones that are low in mercury. A serving of 50 g per day is enough for your preschooler.
  5. Lentils and beans: These are rich in fibre and protein, and consuming around 20 g every day in the form of sprouts would be great for the health the digestive system of your preschooler.
  6. Greens: Green vegetables are full of folate and antioxidants. Try and pack them in sandwiches or wraps to make them more appealing to preschoolers.
  7. Nuts and seeds: They boost the health of the nervous system by providing essential fats and are great to carry as a snack. Around half a handful of nuts is enough for a day.
  8. Water: Most kids do not end up having as much water as their body needs. So, even mild dehydration can cause major problems. Consuming 750 ml per day of various fluids should be the benchmark.
  9. Broccoli: A perfect food for eye health, broccoli can also reduce the cell damage in your preschooler body. Try to include one serving per day in your preschooler’s diet.
  10. Tofu: It is rich in calcium, iron, B vitamins and protein. What more could you ask for in a humble food like tofu? One serving every few days is enough.
This article was first published here
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  • Lavi
    4:07 PM - 9 March, 2018

    Perfect list.

  • Princy Khurana
    4:28 PM - 9 March, 2018

    this is a great list for first time moms who remain confused about what kind of foods to offer.

  • Nandita Gupta
    5:58 PM - 9 March, 2018

    A very well compiled list of foods! I am sure it will come very handy to mothers who struggle on a daily basis.

  • EscapeWriters
    8:58 PM - 9 March, 2018

    This is such a great list. Almost every mothef is concern about what they shoukd give to their kids. Also the nutritional value is important so your post resolve the confusion.

  • Dr. Sonal naidu
    10:50 PM - 9 March, 2018

    Thank you Priya. I was actually missing on a few things and now I can introduce them on a regular basis.

  • Roopika sareen
    10:21 AM - 12 March, 2018

    That’s a great list!

  • Sapna Krishnan
    8:19 PM - 12 March, 2018

    I am guilty of not adding too many greens to her diet. I think I am going to stick your list to my kitchen wall and follow it to the T. 🙂

  • Hema
    11:21 AM - 16 March, 2018

    Perfect list, very informative post. Very handy for all mothers, looking forward to adding more greens to her diet.

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