Good Nurtition During Childhood
“Childhood, that is, between the age of 2 to 12 years is the phase of continuous rapid growth and development although at a much slower rate than infancy. From nutrition point of view, it is one of the most important stages as eating patterns established early in life persist into adulthood.”, says Ishi Khosla, who is a Clinical Nutritionist & Founder of www.theweightmonitor.com & Whole Foods India and also, the Founder President of Celiac Society of India. A.Kameshwari from One World News caught an opportunity to ask her few questions related to nutrition during childhood and below is the excerpt:
Well planned healthy diets given to children helps them in meeting most of their nutritional requirement. However, certain key factors should be kept in mind while preparing a healthy food chart for children:
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• Be a role model for your children when it comes to food intake, help them in choosing healthier food options and inculcate good eating habits in them.
• Understand different food groups- cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fish, chicken, red meat, fats and oils and miscellaneous foods like sugar, nuts and their role in a balanced diet. Put your knowledge into action to help your child grow into a healthier body.
How can meal time be a fun time? How healthy is meal competition?
• Be adventurous in preparing healthy and attractive lunch boxes for children. Prefer using whole grains, whole pulses with ample of fruits and vegetables compared to de-husked food and fat or high calorie dishes.
• Make meals attractive for children by adding fruits and vegetables with colors, shapes through different dishes like sandwiches of different shapes.
• Cooking with kids is another effective means of informing children about healthier food alternatives.
• Involving kids in menu planning and meal competitions helps them put their knowledge into practice.
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Offering alternate food options and how does it affects child’s mentality?
Early lifestyle choices can help nip degenerative diseases in the bud. In fact addressing all those factors that form eating patterns are needed to successfully handle complex lifestyles and helps children make healthy food choices.
• Stocking kitchen shelves with healthy snacks is the right way to offer good nutrition in limited calories.
• Establishing good eating and exercising habits right from the childhood helps children to attain their full growth potential.
• Help children snack smart by planning healthy and nutritious snacks. Encourage children to munch on natural foods like fruits, vegetables, salads rather than colas, high calorie foods /dishes, junk food etc. Provide children with healthy and nutritious snacks.
• Help children become “Smart Shoppers” by informing them about reading labels and importance of nutritional labeling.
Are there any food items which should not be fed to children on daily basis?
High calorie, low nutrient foods such as commercially prepared fried snacks, sugar laden sweets, confectionary and sugar sweetened beverages as they are the storehouses of sugar and fat without providing any nutrition.
How can a parent know if their child is allergic to some food?
Maintain a food and symptom diary which will help you in tracking food allergies or intolerances, if any.
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Is it advisable to feed overnight food or micro-waved food to children?
No, it is better if the food is fresh. Even re-heating of food can also lead to a loss of nutrients.
So, the next time your child stretches out to snacking make sure it is healthy and nutritious.
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