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Eat Right: Healthy foods for building children’s muscles, recommended by a doctor

Parents should make sure children avoid eating junk food and refined sugar, the paediatrician advised



It is very important to focus on children’s muscle building in their growing-up years. This helps in their development and improves overall strength and endurance. Children with increasing muscle strength gain coordination. Through large and small muscle movements, their gross and fine motor skills also improve.

Food plays a crucial role when it comes to healthy ways of muscle building in children. Dr Shiva Khurana, a child specialist at Max Hospital, Saket, says, “Eating the right foods is extremely important for muscle building. Proteins and carbohydrates are essential when it comes to healthy muscles.”

Dr Khurana, whose son Nihit studies at Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld, Greater Kailash, advised adding the following foods to a child’s diet:


Protein-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products, poultry, seafood, eggs, and soya products. These foods can help gain weight and muscle mass. Use full-fat milk instead of low-fat milk since children need fat.

Consumption of dairy products is good enough If a child doesn’t like to drink milk. Dairy products slow the process of muscle breakdown. You can add cheese to scrambled eggs, for instance.

Also Read: Eat Right: 3 reasons why you should give your kid wholesome meals

Children can be given pulses in the form of khichdi or any other dish that they like.


Whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits should be an integral part of the child’s diet. In fact, milk and yogurt also provide carbohydrates. Along with these, children can eat peanuts, almonds, and cashews — these can be used in fruit shakes or whole grain breads, depending on the child’s taste palate.

Parents should make sure children avoid eating junk food and refined sugar. The latter can be replaced with jaggery and dates, which are very healthy.

Weight gain should not be mistaken for muscle mass. Weight gain can be caused by fat, which is why children need to avoid unhealthy foods. It is always recommended to give homemade food to children. Healthy potato chips or healthy desserts can be made at home to satiate the child’s cravings.

While the intake of healthy foods is essential, Dr Khurana suggests complementing it with the following:  

Good night’s sleep

Eight hours of good night’s sleep is sufficient for children. It stimulates growth hormone production, which has a major role to play in muscle growth as well as development. Energy consumption decreases during sleep and muscle mass increases.

Physical exercise

Physical activity causes wear and tear of muscles and the body reacts by repairing them at the earliest, yielding stronger and bigger muscles. Children can do aerobic exercises like running, biking, and swimming. They can try fun exercises like bear crawl, crab walking, and jumping. Another exercise that children enjoy is where two kids, with their toes facing each other and knees bent, pass a ball to one another. This is a very good exercise for building lower limb and upper limb muscles. Children can also try drawing alphabets with their legs which can help develop lower limbs.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

Poetic गुफ्तगू – With हुमेरा खान @poetsofDelhi