One of the biggest challenges facing parents today is to provide a healthy meal for their children.
A nutritional meal however essential loses out largely to its more alluring and delicious counterparts- the fast foods that are advertised right in your face. From cute kids to superstars, these products are endorsed by all, making your kid all the more susceptible to making it a part of their daily diets.
More often than not it’s a tug of war between mothers and children to provide an interim solution that will make both the parties happy. A difficult task indeed! This becomes even more difficult in case where both the parents are working as there is a guilt factor about not spending much time with your kid that makes you give into all whims and fancies of your child.
According to UNICEF the early childhood years, right from the birth through 8 yrs. of age are your formative years in terms of intelligence, personality and social behaviour. Needless to say that proper nutrition is extremely crucial for overall development of the child. In this age of cut throat competition you must ensure that the child has a healthy lifestyle culminating with a nutrient rich diet that can boost the overall progress of the child. Now a days it’s not very uncommon to come across obesity in children as young as 5 -6 yrs. old. While in some cases genetic factors may be the cause but most cases are those where junk, processed and fast food are the culprits.
It may not be that easy to convince a child to eat healthy when he is surrounded by his friends eating junk food at school, playhouse, activity centre etc. However there are ways to mix and match stuff which is a combination of the right nutrients and smart dressing to look appealing. The following is a list of foods and food products that should be given minimally as a snack option for a child.
- Sodas/Colas and beverages
Sodas and Colas contain a very high level of processed sugar which can harm your teeth and bones in the long run. Very often children indulge in this cold drinks / beverages to quench their thirst instead of water.
Although claimed as a safe to eat and yummy product, noodles provide no nutritional value. The added preservatives and the flavouring agent only makes it tasty to eat but does more harm than good.
Many a times chocolates are projected as energy boosters, however this should not be a part of the daily diets of your child. Consumption in large quantities can lead to a risk of obesity as well as infecting the teeth. Manufactured chocolates often have added sugar, fats and powdered milk which can harm.
Although this may not be totally unavoidable, substituting it often for proper meals can lead to health complications. This type of fast foods should be avoided as far as possible.
Daily food items that can be made a more interesting snack option for kids.
- Aloo Poha with Cheese and walnuts.
Aloo Poha is a very common Indian breakfast dish which can be sometimes boring for the kids. This can be made more alluring by adding cheese and walnuts to it. Walnuts and Cheese provide the extra protein and vitamins that is useful for the growth and development of the brain.
You can always keep a variety of fruits at your home as fruits are an excellent form of healthy snacks. As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, similarly fruits can go a long way in giving essential minerals and vitamins to the body.
Homemade soups without any preservatives are a good measure for the hunger pans. You can garnish the soup with a whole lot of healthy ingredients and add a bit of butter to the piping hot liquid.
- Brown bread Sandwhich
One of the most loved items among children is the sandwhich. Its easy to make and lot of experiments can be done with the ingredients. Using a brown bread base instead of a white one will just give you an edge.
Eggs are a rich source of protein and there are various variants that can be cooked from it. The good part it that it almost takes no time to whip up an egg dish.
- Vegetable Roll/Paratha
Kids often do not like to eat their veggies. One of the most doable options is rolling the cooked veggies in a roll a la Frankie style and serving it with mild chutney or sauce. This way the child has his daily intake of veggies.
It’s of utmost importance to balance your kids diet by making sure what you store in your home and fridge which is accessible to the kids. When you start stacking up on healthy options whenever the child is hungry you inculcate the habit of healthy eating in him. You can always give in to a little bit of fast food once in a while to strike the perfect balance.