For parents, serving nutritious food has always been a preoccupation.Times have changed, and due to rapid urbanisation and easy access to foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS), also known as junk foods, there is now a twin problem of over nutrition and under nutrition in India.
Unhealthy diets lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. Obese children will become obese adults.
It is time to focus on children between the ages of 2 to 14 and inculcate appropriate eating habits that can help them achieve optimal, physical and cognitive development, a healthy weight and more.
Nutrition is very vital during this stage and plays a vital role in sustaining the overall growth and development of a child. A balanced diet is a combination of four basic food groups consisting of cereals, pulses, millets etc, vegetables and fruits, milk and animal foods, and fats and oils.
Junk foods are not balanced meals and contain a high amount of sugar, saturated fatty acids, trans-fatty acids, preservatives and additives.
Aggressive marketing and peer pressure make such foods most popular among children and adolescents.
To reduce the consumption of junk food among school going children, Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has passed a law regarding a ban on junk foods and carbonated drinks within a radius of 500 yards around schools.
There should also be a healthy school canteen policy. Children should be encouraged to have traditional and homemade food and not just consume empty calories.
The new initiative taken by FSSAI will hopefully help reduce the incidence of obesity among school goers. The policy would educate the parents and children to be more aware of their health and help make healthy choices.
The first step is to understand what the basic requirement of a child is.
Half of the daily diet for children should be from carbohydrates. And the options can be..
- Stuffed veg paratha with desi ghee
- Rava idly with sagu and curd
- Bread with vegetable stuffing
- Cornflakes with fruits, milk and nuts.
This is our building block for providing nutrients for muscles, organs, skin, nails and hair. We must ensure that this is provided in sufficient quantity. Here are some options..
- Whole pulses
- Chicken curry
Here are some simple recipes which can help maintain nutritional balance in diet.
- Puffed rice: 25gms
- Sprouts: 20gm
- Carrot chopped: 1tsp
- Onion chopped: 1 tsp
- Tomato chopped: 1 tsp
- Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
In a deep bowl, combine all the above ingredients and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve immediately.
Paneer veggi Frankie
- Phulka: 2
- Paneer crumbled: 1tbsp
- Mixed vegetable chopped: 3tbsp
- Tomato sauce: 1/2 tsp
- Oil- 1/2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves to garnish
- Mix the paneer with vegetables and saute in a pan with a teaspoon of oil
- Spread the mixture on the phulkas and tomato sauce and coriander leaves and roll and serve with salad.
— Article courtesy, chief nutritionist, Diabetacare