‘You become what you eat’. We all have heard this phrase, and it is true. For a healthy lifestyle we must eat right for good physical, emotional and mental health. Imbibing good eating habits from the start is important but, with today’s busy lifestyle, it becomes difficult to adopt and maintain our healthy food habits.
In recent years the increased obsession with body weight has led teenagers and young women with eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia and compulsive eating. It becomes necessary to follow a diet with nutrition.
Breakfasts are the most difficult to consume a proper meal, the children have just enough time to get dressed and gulp just a glass of milk. During lunch a child will be more happy to eat some chips than to finish out the lunchbox.
What should a healthy diet contain?
A healthy diet should contain energy-providing food (Carbohydrates and fats), body-building foods (proteins and minerals), protective foods (vitamins and minerals) and regulatory foods (water). The other way to classify food is
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains and Cereals
- Meat, fat, oil, seeds, nuts and pulses
- Sugar and Honey
These classified foods should have a portion in every meal. Make sure you replace unhealthy food habits but healthy food for eg: Chips with nuts, packaged food with fresh food and never replace juice with water.
Apart from concentrating on what we eat, we should concentrate on how we eat; switch off the screens that are nothing but distraction. Parents and children both must follow this rule.
Tip: Prepare a meal chart that contains the above classified food for all the meals of the day.
How to get your child to eat right?
As parents we must play smart in feeding our children, the right amount of nutrition, even if the quantity is less; it’s the quality that matters, and the cherry on the cake would be if the child asks for more quantity; isn’t that every parent’s dream? Let’s take a guide with these pointers.
- Make a schedule: Schedules work like magic, having a schedule would make you less worried as to what needs to be cooked and helps in balancing the children’s diet. You can always make a schedule for one week or even better for a month.
- Never force the child: While introducing a new food, remember it should be something that you enjoy. If the children don’t see you enjoy your food they will resist. There are a variety of vegetables. Let your child explore them slowly.
- Never bribe your child: This causes issues where your child would want the bribe without having his/her meal. Bribing can be a reason to throw a tantrum.
- Meal with friends: Arrange a breakfast/lunch party for your children’s friends. Peer pressure here works well when it comes to eating. If a friend likes okra and is enjoying it your child might also try it.
- Interesting mornings: Mornings are tough for both preparation and consumption of food. Find out quick recipes filled with nutritions, which are easy to prepare and consume.
- It’s all in the gravy: All the nutritions should be in the gravy you prepare, even if your child picks the vegetables from it, the stew has its benefits. Serve the gravy with rice or roti and let your child select what to eat.
- One meal for all: Many mother’s work hard and prepare two different meals, one for the children and one for the adults. It is always better to prepare one meal, this way your child will pick what they would like to eat. Serve the food with the entire family. This is a much lesser work.
- Introduce confectioneries: Not all confectioneries are unhealthy, find healthy recipes and bring some joy to your children. Now it should remain a secret that they are healthy.
A parent always feels guilty when it comes to the nutrition of the child they are providing. You are doing the best you could, from tasty meals to yummy snacks, there is no reason to feel guilty, some food habits will develop at a later age.
Bonus: Healthy Breakfast Recipe
This recipe is quick to prepare and quick to eat
- 1 cup oats (dry roasted)
- 1 ¼ cup peanuts, coarsely pounded
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 cup fresh grated coconut
- ½ cup flaxseeds ( ground as coarse power)
- ½ cup dark chocolate blended coarsely
- ½ tsp vanilla extract/ essence
- ¼ cup milk
- Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl
- Refrigerate the mixture for 15 mins
- Shape the mixture into small bite-sized pieces. Place them in the freezer to make them firm.
- Dust with grated coconut.