Nutrition & Diet

Kids’ food ideas: How to increase stamina by food

Written by Rasika Thakur Parab
Published: February 8, 2023

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Consulting Medical Nutritionist with an experience of more than 14 years.

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Here’s a low-down on why stamina is essential for children, what its lack can do and how you can easily build it through food.

Believe it or not, your child has as, if not more, hectic a life as you. Each day for them is made of innumerable activities, all of which belong to Quadrant 1 – Important and Urgent – from school to studies to play and socialising. All these things are a part of their growth as individuals and the future of society. It’s little wonder childhood is the most crucial stage that sets the foundation for the entire lifetime. And, of course, your kid will need tremendous energy to do all of these and do them well. 

Kids need stamina for every aspect of their lives

It’s a myth that only athletic children or those interested in sports need good energy. Your child needs to be able to sustain activities in every aspect of their life for an extended period — studies, schooltime, playtime, hanging with other kids, and even spending time with you. So, poor stamina can affect all these and even lead to listlessness and lethargy. 

What causes poor stamina?

There are various causes of poor stamina. It’s natural to feel lethargic once in a while or be tired after a particularly exhausting day. However, if your child displays a lack of energy frequently or chronically, it could mean:

  • Inadequate or unrestful sleep- Encourage kids to form healthy sleeping habits. 
  • Underlying medical condition– Many diseases deplete energy. Consult a doctor to rule it out.
  • Unhealthy weight — Being overweight or underweight leads to tiredness. Help your child maintain a healthy weight.  
  • Stress level — This reason seldom gets the attention it must. With children doing so many things daily, It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Talk to them often to ensure they are doing well emotionally and mentally. 
  • Nutrition — Last but not least, a leading cause of poor stamina is nutritional gaps. A balanced diet is the answer. 

Nutrients essential to building stamina and how each one helps

A balanced diet consists of all the food groups — fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein, and includes a variety of ingredients that cover all of the above. If you want to know how to increase stamina by food, including these nutrients will help you:

Vitamins and minerals

A good amount of fresh vegetables and fruits, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, promotes cardiovascular health and, in turn, stamina. Serve your child at least five servings daily for meals and low-calorie snacks. 


Simple carbs are easily digestible and provide quick and short bursts of energy. Since your kid needs these to kick-start the day, carbohydrates are recommended for breakfast. Similarly, complex carbohydrates digest slowly, providing your child with hours of sustained energy. Whole grains are high in both carbohydrates and energy. Substitute white rice, white bread, and pasta with whole-grain foods, including brown rice, quinoa, lentil pasta, ragi noodles, and rolled oats (which you can use to make pancakes) and avoid processed snack foods.


Your child may develop anaemia if they do not get enough iron, which causes insufficient red blood cells and impairs the sufferer’s ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. Though various factors lead to anaemia in young children, lack of iron in food is a primary cause. Iron deficiency is sometimes mild enough to go unnoticed at first, but as it aggravates, your child may experience extreme exhaustion, weakness, and a lack of stamina. 


Protein is an essential nutrient for overall health and the body’s iron storage, which helps maintain energy levels. It’sIt’s a long-term energy source beneficial for your child’s endurance, muscle repair and development. The stronger their muscles, the more likely they will go faster and harder in physical activity and other aspects of life. 

Power foods to build stamina

You will easily find a variety of stamina booster food in your kitchen cabinets, which provide instant and sustained energy. Include these in your kid’s daily diet and see them being a bundle of energy. 


High in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds provide an instant energy boost and increase endurance and blood flow to working muscles. One cup of this ingredient is rich in proteins, bioactive compounds, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, all beneficial to stamina.

Sweet potatoes 

As sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrates and fibre, their digestion is prolonged, thus providing your child’s body with a steady energy supply. It also contains Vitamin A and manganese, which supports the body’s breakdown of nutrients to produce energy.

Green leafy vegetables

Ensure to include green leafy vegetables in your kids’ food ideas to prevent anaemia, iron deficiency and thus, lack of stamina. Green veggies contain ample iron, fibre, vitamins, and micronutrients. They also help increase red blood cell count and promote proper blood circulation and oxygen supply. Eating spinach and kale, particularly, increases stamina by releasing short-term energy.


Containing high amounts of many essential and underutilised nutrients, such as potassium, fibre, vitamin C, folate, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and calcium, fruits provide an instant energy boost and lower the risk of many diseases. 


Black-eyed peas and black beans are high in iron, protein, fibre, carbohydrates, folic acids, manganese, and magnesium, and since they contain slowly digestible starch, beans provide consistent energy.

Best food combinations that kids will eat

Certain food combinations can improve your child’s stamina. Protein and iron together, for example, is a powerful combination. Include these kids’ food ideas that your child will gladly finish off. 

Fruits and yoghurt 

This is a surefire stamina booster food combination as fruits are low in calories and high in antioxidants and prebiotic fibres that help with digestive health. Yoghurt is a nutrient-dense probiotic high in dairy protein, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin B-12, and fatty acids. Studies suggest combining these can provide probiotics, prebiotics, high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, and many vitamins and minerals. Besides, it is an excellent alternative to high-energy but nutrient-deficient snacks that cause obesity. Make a colourful parfait with berries, mango, and banana to entice your kid.  

Dal and rice

The ever-loved staple is rich in amino acids and enhances the protein quality in one’sone’s diet, which is the building block of health.  

Oats, milk and honey

Besides milk with Bournvita, combining oats, honey, bananas, and apples with milk provides an energy boost and vital vitamins, minerals, potassium and other nutrients. 

Watermelon, orange and feta cheese

Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron. This combination will provide iron, Vitamin C, and protein, which are essential for building stamina. They also taste great, so your kid won’t make a fuss. 

Many other ingredients make for an excellent choice for building stamina and maintaining overall health and a healthy weight. You must also remember that while you figure out how to increase stamina by food, your child’s lifestyle also needs to include physical exercise and adequate sleep. Nothing will stop your li’l champ from excelling at everything they set out to do.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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