In the era of burgers and pizza, it becomes really difficult for parents to feed their child a healthy meal. But childhood is the time when they go through most of the development in terms of body and hence it becomes not only imperative, but also compulsory to include healthy food in their diet. For this, SheThePeople.TV had a twitter chat with Nandita Iyer, the author of The Everyday Healthy Vegetarian on healthy eating habits for kids.

Switching To Organic Is Good When It Comes To Cooking For Children

According to Nandita, “It is generally good to source organic produce and groceries as far as possible for the entire family. Foods like milk which are flushed with a lot of chemicals/ hormones/antibiotics +main source of protein-calcium for kids, I would highly recommend that you get organic.” Organic food, undoubtedly, is good for all of us but especially kids. Organic food eliminates the possibility of them getting exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals like the synthetic hormones given to alter reproductive cycles or speed up growth.

Including Oodles Of Protein In Their Diet

According to Nandita, “Make sure you include protein in every meal – milk/yogurt with cereal or eggs in breakfast. Dal, beans or paneer in lunch/dinner cheese or peanuts or chana can be given as snack food. Milk+ dairy products like yogurt, paneer, cheese, beans and lentils such as dal, chana, lobia, rajma tofu, nuts, seeds, eggs (if you eat it) all these are excellent sources of protein.” It is extremely essential to add adequate amount of protein in your child’s diet in order to ensure optimal growth and development. Proteins are the building blocks of body and help in the overall development.

Nutritional Deficiency And Obesity In Children

India has the second highest number of obese children in the world, according to a study published in the The New England Journal Of Medicine. Lifestyle has changed in a way that it leaves more bad and nothing or less good. Nandita suggests the following ways so that kids lead a healthy lifestyle:

  • eating more homemade balanced foods
  • reduced snacking on processed foods
  • eating fruits and such healthier snacks
  • reinforcing that processed foods must be eaten once in a while like a treat and not on an everyday basis

Introducing Kids To Healthy Food At An Early Stage

Nandita says, “Kids love to imitate their parents. So, first step is to be good role models. We as parents must eat more whole foods, vegetables, fruits, choose water over other beverages. Kids watch us and learn. Introducing a variety of foods soon after weaning (at six months) makes them develop a taste for various foods at an early age, which they are less likelier to refuse or stick to just one kind of food at a later stage. Allowing your kids to eat their one favourite food, while introducing healthy foods in small quantities is an interesting way. Others sitting on the table eating other kinds of foods may make the child curious to add it to his/her plate too.”

Is Cheese Really Unhealthy?

Nandita says, “Cheese is not at all unhealthy. It’s an easy and delicious way to give your child protein + calcium. Just make sure you add it along with some veggies too, so the kinds end up getting better nutrition.”

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