Carb-rich diet and lack of fruits and vegetables are the number one reason for obesity in children. With canned food and junk food making life easy, it is difficult to find the right balance. But, with a little bit of effort, one can consume a well-balanced meal.
Dr.Anjali is a renounced naturalist and she believes in wholesome nutrition that can only be achieved through well-balanced diet plans. Let’s find out what she has to say.
Interviewer: Anjali, why do you think we need to give a well-balanced diet to your kids?
Anjali: Well, first of all, a well-balanced diet plan ensures you have all the nutrients available for healthy functioning of the body. A human body needs a certain amount of nutrients to convert it into energy, repairing tissues, producing enzymes etc. If the body does not get proper nutrition, then it will fall sick. It’s just a way of telling you to look into what you are doing or eating.
Interviewer: What does a well-balanced diet have?
Anjali: A well-balanced diet plan includes ingredients from 5 major food groups. These food groups are protein, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grains. While preparing a meal, you should aim to include at least one thing from each food group. Stick a food group cart in your kitchen for easy access.
Interviewer: Should we aim for a well-balanced meal for all mealtimes?
Anjali: It is not possible to consume and digest food included from the 5 food groups for all mealtimes. A well-balanced diet plan should be looked in totality. You can eat a little bit of everything throughout the day.
Interviewer: What is the easiest way to balance meals for the day?
Anjali: Each food group provides vital nutrients and help in smooth functioning of the body. You can divide the food groups into meal types items and snack types items. Protein such as lean meat, pulses, eggs, seafood, etc can be categorized into meal types food items. Whereas, nuts, fruits, some vegetables can be used as snacks. Get your kids into the habit of eating carrots or a fruit if they feel hungry.
Interviewer: What tips can you give to moms who have to feed picky eaters?
Anjali: I believe that kids should be taught to have well-balanced meals from an early age. However, some kids are very picky when it comes to taste and look of the food. The best way for them to try new things is to introduce them slowly to new vegetables. Introducing a lot of new flavours at one go will intimidate the child. Pair the ingredient with something that they love. For example: introduce broccoli in a parantha or introduce a new fruit with homemade fruit flavoured yoghurt. You can also cut food into different shapes and sizes or even create a food story.
Interviewer: Does it make packing lunchboxes tiresome for the parent?
Anjali: If you manage it well, then it won’t be a hassle. Know when your child feels the most hungry. Give them a heavier snack at that time. A hungry child will eat just about anything. If your child is a breakfast person, then pack his breakfast with proteins and fruits. If your child feels the hungriest in the evening, give them a bowl of salad to eat. You can give fruits and nuts to curb the hunger for a while. If most of his meals are balanced, then you won’t be worried about one carbohydrate-rich meal.
A well-balanced diet plan is not just for a meal, it is for the entire day. Make sure you include lots of fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet. Introduce them to new flavours slowly, and have fun eating!
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