If you have preschooler who is a picky eater, you surely are having a tough time worrying about his diet. You must be strategizing on a daily basis to help him eat a balanced diet, often using power struggle. This can be a frustrating time but there are ways you can smartly handle it. We spoke to Suman Agarwal, Founder of SelfCare India, author and celebrity nutritionist who has recently written a book titled ‘SUPERKIDS, Healthy eating for kids and teens’.
HARMFUL SNACKS YOU SHOULD NOT LET YOUR KIDS EAT
The popcorn bag contains a chemical called diacetyl, a synthetic butter flavouring that is harmful for lungs. The second problem is PFOA, another chemical that lines the bag which can cause thyroid, high cholesterol and bladder cancer.
Fried snacks like bhujiya, farsan are unhealthy for your kids because they are high in fat and salt.
Beverages like tea, coffee, red bull can affect sleep, height growth and concentration levels.
Foods with high Fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners are present in imported chocolates and candies, which can spike the blood sugar levels which is associated with obesity and insulin resistance.
HEALTHY JUNK FOOD ALTERNATIVE
Replace chips with murmura bhel
: Instead of chips, give them murmura as it has fiber, more iron, are non-fried and has less calories
Replace cold drinks with nimbu pani or fresh lime soda
: Nimbu pani with sugar and fresh lime soda are healthier options. Cold drinks can stunt height growth due to colour, caffeine and preservatives. Nimbu pani has two teaspoons of sugar whereas cold drinks have up to six teaspoons of sugar.
Replace burger with cheese sandwich
: Cheese is rich in calcium, and also the total amount of bread consumption is less. In burger, the bread is thicker and bigger and patty is fried which has more calories.
Replace aloo frankie with paneer or chicken frankie
: This will balance the protein that is required for satiety and muscle strength.
TIPS TO PREVENT DINING TABLE FROM TURNING INTO A BATTLEZONE
Children don’t like to listen to “NO”, hence parents need to have chat with them regarding side-effects of junk food. Don’t order foods like microwave popcorn, pizza, instant noodles and fried foods at home, strike them off your grocery list. Mothers can get creative and make an healthy alternative for junk food as kids won’t like plain food every day.
Here are some examples:
Use cucumber as base instead of fried puris for making sev puri
: Use paneer on the pizza rather than melting cheese, which adds more calories and is difficult to digest
: Add tofu or bean sprout to your hakka noodles.
: Instead give them vegetable aloo paneer sandwich
HEALTHY AND UNHEALTHY FATS FOR KIDS
Children require fat for good absorption of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E,K. Fat from milk , curd and eggs are important. This fat contains cholesterol that helps in brain development. Vegetable Oils available in market such as sunflower, peanut, canola and rice bran have essential fatty acids that are important for hormonal function and absorption of vitamins. One can use oil to cook vegetables or as a tadka on dal.
Avoid trans-fats, saturated fat from ice-cream, cookies, cheese, cakes, nutella, chips and fried food as they lead to weight gain.