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Healthy eating for children

Grandma was right when she said that there was nothing more wholesome than a warm, home-cooked meal for you. Today’s kids however, have other ideas about what a healthy meal should look like. It’s no wonder then that fast food joints are more than happy to serve such young customers whereas doctors and nutritionists are becoming increasingly concerned about how to combat the growing problem of obesity in young children. If you’re a parent, you may have had your fair share of battles at the dining table with your kids especially while serving healthy food like veggies. It’s easier no doubt, to call for a home delivery and enjoy an evening of peace and quiet, but you need to remember that the eating habits you teach your child will stay with them for a lifetime. That’s another reason why nutritionists are urging parents to pay closer attention to what children put on their plates.

Besides containing carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins, a child’s diet should also have ample content of fibre, calcium, iron and other essential vitamins & minerals.

a)    Carbohydrates: Children need a healthy dose of daily carbs to help them star active the whole day. Instead of serving them ‘empty’ refined carbs like pizzas, cookies and pasta, other healthy carbohydrate containing foods like vegetables, lentils, whole grains, oatmeal and brown rice will be more beneficial.

b)    Fats: A lot of fuss is made about whether fats are really good or not for the body, but the truth is that the body needs a daily intake of healthy fats in order to function well. Avoid giving your child foods that contain transfats and introduce them to healthier fats found in nuts, eggs, olive oil, fish, meat and in fruits like avocados. Their skin will glow and they’ll have plenty of energy too.

c)    Protein: Kids love cheese but almost all the varieties of cheese we consume also contain high levels of fat. Give your child a glass of milk or two everyday, low fat cheese and other milk products like yoghurt which contain plenty of gut friendly bacteria. Other food products like beans, tofu and cottage cheese, too contain plenty of protein.

Kids love variety and it’s important that they see you consume the same veggies and meat that are served on their plates at meal times. There are plenty of great recipes for kids that will introduce them to the concept of healthy eating and change the notion that ‘healthy food is never tasty’. Get them to help you in the kitchen before making dinner and teach them about how healthy food helps them grow stronger. More importantly, talk to your children about child obesity and how adopting a healthy lifestyle can help them stay active and fit even after they become adults. By increasing our own awareness about the dangers of child obesity and by making the right efforts, we can all help our children lead healthier lives.