Busting Myths About Healthy Food For Kids
Just like there are a host of myths floating about health and nutrition for adults, there are plenty of them about healthy food for kids too. Media, half-baked self-appointed nutritionists and over-enthusiastic health experts from amongst the common people, all contribute to creating these myths, some of them downright dangerous.
Myth 1 – Fill ‘em up with fruits
Expecting a 4-year-old to go munch-munch, chomp-chomp on hard apples and guavas is a bit mu(n)ch, Isn’t it? Kids love all things sweet and if they are saying no to fruits, or at least to some of them, there must be a reason for it. Don’t force your children to eat fruit like there is no tomorrow. Give it to them in other forms. Though fruit juice is high on sugar and fiber is missing, fruit snack from brands like FRU2go is a good option. They contain juice, pulp and even skin. Also, your kid can have them anywhere - in school, playground or even in a moving car.
Myth 2 – Stuff them with vegetables
Yes, vegetables are a good source of Vitamins, protein, calcium and much-needed carbs. Just that your 3-year-old is not a qualified nutritionist to know that. Kids want easy to eat food that feels tasty on the tongue. Come up with interesting lunch ideas for kids instead of the “finish your veggies’ sermons. Add vegetables to what they love to eat – sandwiches, rice pulao, mooli or gobhi paranthas, whole wheat burgers and noodles. Guess what! Some vegetables can even be turned into a desert. Gajar ka Halwa, kids????
Myth 3 – Fat is bad for your child
Not unless the 6 years old weighs 40 Kg. A growing child needs fat as much as it needs other ingredients. In fact, they burn it much faster than us adults and if the fat content in their body is too low, they will not only look too thin but may also face other health problems. So let her grandma indulge her with the occasional Desi Ghee paranthas, butter toast or even homemade pakodas once in a while. They are all part of healthy food for kids.
Myth 4 – The strict ‘No – Chocolates’ policy
Except in spy thrillers, a bar of occasional chocolate never killed anyone. Let your child have chocolate as long as they are brushing their teeth afterward. Chocolates too have their share of energy and nutrition and better still, anti-oxidants. In any case, stopping her from having her fill with that chocolate cake at the best friend’s birthday is such a Cinderella mom thing to do.
Myth 5 – Sugar is sin
If your child is eating his paranthas with some jam spread over it, it’s still better than not touching rotis. Ice creams also have milk and sugar and unless eaten too frequently, are not going to harm your child. Except in the unfortunate cases of childhood diabetes, there is no need to stop your children from having limited quantities of sweets. But yes this is one area where you need to be vigilant as children are most likely to over-indulge themselves with sugar.
Myth 6 – Fast food is a Faux Pas
Well, this is a tricky one but can be handled by a smart parent. Make your noodles whole wheat, full of vegetables and with healthier spices and sauces. Put a soya Tikki (pattice) instead of an aaloo one in whole wheat buns to make a burger. Whole wheat pizza bases with a good amount of vegetable toppings make for an interesting lunch idea for kids.
Myth 7 - Cut Carbs, Already???
Not really! Rotis, rice even potatoes are good sources of vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates. Let them have it. Don’t count. Their stomach will. Use your imagination to come up with healthy food for kids that balances their carbs intake with vegetables and protein. Rice with Rajma, Rotis with their favorite vegetable and baked potato with a side of healthy hummus. Carbs are an important part of a diet plan that focuses on healthy food for kids.
So the entire concept of healthy food for kids need not start mimicking the fad diet of a grown up. Kids need all the nutrition but in moderate quantities.