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AYUSH Dietary Recommendations for children

Ayurveda emphasizes on nutrition of children for maintenance of health. It has classified children on the basis of diet into 3 categories viz. Ksheerapa (from birth to 1 year) who predominantly breastfeed, Ksheerannada (from age 1-2 year)- who take both breast milk and food and the Annada (above 2 years of age)- who take food similar to an adult. Ayurveda recommends for exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age and advises for complementary feeding, thereafter (after 6 months) in the form of Annaprashan/Phalaprashana samskara (first time food/fruit eating ceremony in children). Early initiation of breast feeding, exclusive breastfeeding, avoiding of the bottle feeding, hygiene and appropriate complementary feeding are important factors for the maintenance of the nutritional wellbeing of children. 

0-6 Months Children

  • Exclusive Breast feeding up to the age of 6 months
  • Mother should follow the dietary recommendation as described already, for optimum milk production.
  • In any unavoidable circumstances or in the absence of Mother's Milk, goat milk or cow milk may be given in appropriate quantity, without dilution and with proper hygiene.
  • Practice of Abhyanga with sesame/ coconut/ olive oil and Suryadarshan (exposure to Sun).

6 months- 2 years:

  • Rapidly growing baby needs extra energy and calorific food and only breast milk can't suffice this need. Failure to which may lead to definite nutritional problems. Therefore Breast milk should be continued as a main food along with complementary food in the beginning.
  • Minimum three complementary foods along with Breast-feeding and five complimentary food in non-breastfeeding children should be given.
  • Phalaprashan and Annaprashan ceremony should be done after completion of 6 months.
  • After 6 months, easy to digest and nutrition rich (Brimhana) complementary foods comprising of fruits, liquid, semisolid, and solid food should be given in sequential order by considering digestion (Agnibala), demand, tolerance of the baby and teeth eruption.
  • Include variety of food articles (diversified) in diet for complimentary feeding to improve micronutrients status.
  • Various regional foods can be used as complementary food such as Ragi-halwa, Nachni halwa, Rajgira halwa /Laddu, Idli, Dosa, Ambali, Hurihittu, Payasam, Dhan ki Kheer, Mixed Millet and Drumstick Leaves Dosa, Mung (green gram) kheer, Khichadi etc

2 -10 years:

  • After two years of age, baby should be given the well-cooked food prepared at home.
  • Food should include different vegetables, milk, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lentils, beans and berries etc.
  • Minimum 4 meals (2 main and 2 snacks on demand) should be given.

11 -16 years:

  • Minimum 3 meals (Breakfast, Lunch and dinner) shall be given per day with a gap of at least two & half hours in each meal.
  • Daily serving should include whole wheat bread/starches, fruits, vegetables, fats like ghee, protein from lentils or egg/fish/ meat, milk and dry fruits.

Specific Advice

  • Follow regular schedule for meals and snacks.
  • If possible, mix 1/2-1 tsp Ghee (ghrita) in daily diet.
  • Maintain proper hygiene at the culinary place.
  • Inculcate the habit of eating mindfully in children (Avoid watching T.V. and Mobile while eating).
  • Avoid/minimize use of processed/ packed/ junk/ fried food/ cold food items.
  • Avoid use of carbonated drinks and switch to home prepared healthy, nutritious and fresh beverages from fruits and vegetables.

Source : Ministry of AYUSH

Last Modified : 5/18/2022



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