Planning the right nutrition for growing children.
Is your child getting the right amount of nutrients? Should we skip oil and butter completely? Should we try to buy kale to make a nutrient-dense smoothie? Take a step back and try a simple approach to food and nutrition: healthy, wholesome and local.
Nobody consumes nutrients. We consume food and different foods offer different amounts and types of nutrition. Take the time to understand which foods offer proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Food isn't just fuel to keep us alive or make children bigger and taller, but it affects our mental and spiritual well-being as well. The most obvious example is to notice how a cup of coffee can energize us. Likewise, every little particle our body consumes, it affects our overall well-being.
But we don’t need to be overwhelmed by the choices nor nitpick. Instead, keep it simple.
Eat local and seasonal.
Try a rainbow diet: plenty of vegetables and fruits, and a balance of different types of food on your child's plate.
Remember that children prefer simple flavours and textures.
Be mindful of portion sizes. It's more important that the little ones try everything versus eat lots of one thing.
Set a specific snack and mealtime. Regular mealtimes help the child's digestive system know when it is time to eat a meal.
Why eat local?
Human beings adapt to their surroundings and in order to function best, we must provide the body with the right food that the body's genetic make-up will understand.
An unknown food from a different region has many drawbacks. Not only is this food foreign to your body but foods that travel from far away have been picked when unripe, hence have been ripened artificially or ripen in a box, or have additives to keep them fresh.
As a thumb rule, if grandma doesn't recognize it, it's probably not the best food for us. Kale is not the only superfood available, consuming our local greens, vegetables and fruits will meet our nutritional needs.
Another way to approach food is that we should be able to name all the ingredients in a particular food and this will help you identify undesirable ingredients instantly.
We need only to look closely at the simple practices of generations past.Healthy food does not have to be boring food. With our rich heritage of herbs and spices, every meal can be made interesting. Hand ground spices, mixed grains and grandma’s favourite antidote of haldi doodh - turmeric latte in the west are some of the best kept practices of our culture.
One’s we must introduce to our little ones and encourage them to try.