Why Growing Kids Should Necessarily have Balanced Diet and Dietary Habits?

Posted by kriti ranjan on Fri, Sep 2, 2016  
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There is an old saying that “a good building needs a strong foundation”. This holds true for the initial phase or the growing phase of an individual’s life too. This growing age is the foundation upon which the whole life on an individual depends. Food plays a very important role in the growing process of an individual. What we eat and how we eat affects our lives to a very deep extent. It is very important for the growing kids to eat well and eat right. Having a well-balanced diet in the growing years, would ensure a healthy life in the future. It is very important for parents to keep a check on their child’s eating habits in today’s world where the kids have many options to stray from the healthy food habits. The poisonous snake of unhealthy or junk food is slowly but steadily creeping into the lives of today’s children, which is not only making them lethargic and obese but is also exposing them to a multitude of serious health disorders such as cardiac and kidney problems.

 

In a recent survey it has been found that during the last decade, the number of obese and diabetic children has seen a steep rise in India too. This is a straight indication that our eating habits have become very unhealthy and our future generation is at high risk. The packaged food available in school canteens, the colas, the fried food items and the preservative-laden pizzas and burgers are harming the kids no end. There is an immediate need to put a full stop to these unhealthy habits, which if not checked, can result in serious health hazards.

 

What is a Balanced Diet?

 

A balanced diet is usually a diet consisting of all the necessary macro and micro nutrients that play important roles in development, repair and recreation of the body cells. In a balanced diet, all essential nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fibre and fat are present in optimal amounts so that the body’s metabolism is maintained in its normal pace and the growth is not hampered. Every nutrient in a balanced diet plays its role in the development and growth of a child’s brain and body. For example: protein helps in building up of new cells, carbohydrates help in providing instant energy, fats provide latent energy etc. A meal should have all these components in the naturally obtained form i.e. from animals or plants. To ensure that your child is getting a well-balanced diet, you must include variety in his food. Giving him a meal complete with vegetables, starchy items such as rice or chapatti, fruits, pulses, dairy products and/or meats is always a good idea.

 

Dos for a Child’s Healthy Dietary Habit:

 

  • Introduction of variety: children easily get bored by things, so it is always a good idea to introduce variety of food types in their meal. The brighter and the more colourful food will not only encourage the child to consume it, it is also a lot healthier. Bright colours like green, yellow, orange, violet and red actually boost the nutrient quotient of the food. This would help in including the most required vitamins like Vitamin A, B-Complex, C and minerals like iron and calcium into the child’s diet.
  • Create a calm and cheerful environment for having food: children have a knack of getting distracted and distracting others too. It should be made sure that the place where they have food doesn’t have any distractive element like television, music system or a PC. They focus of the kid should be directed towards his food and not the things surrounding him. This will make him appreciate the food and will also enjoy eating.
  • Include Fiber in diet: fiber is also a very important part of diet for an individual as it aids digestion and keeps the gut happy. The green leafy vegetables contain a lot of fiber along with some precious vitamins and minerals which are very good for the health of the child. Since kids do not have a general liking towards leafy vegetables, innovative methods of cooking or serving them must be used.
  • Ensure proper timing: it is very important to have the meals at regular intervals as an empty stomach oozes out acid and since there is nothing to digest, it starts working on the stomach itself. This causes severe acidity, heartburn and in long term, can even lead to ulcers. Parents should keep track of the interval between each meal of the child to ensure that the stomach is not empty for longer than needed.

 

Don’ts for a Healthy Dietary Habit:

 

  • Don’t feed the child forcefully: many parents tend to feed the child forcefully fearing that he has not consumed enough. This might lead to suffocation or bloating which is not good for the child.
  • Don’t ask the child to finish off the food fast: when we ask a child to finish the food faster than he comfortable can, he starts swallowing the food without even chewing it. This leads to improper digestion and problems related to digestive tract start surfacing. It is always better to teach the child to take small portions of food into his mouth and to chew it properly before swallowing it.
  • Prevent the child from having junk, processed or packaged food: aerated drinks, wafers, burgers, pizzas and other junk food items contain high amount of added sugar and salt and they are also laden with preservatives, which hamper the growth and development of the child. The child should be told that these things are not good for him and he should avoid eating them.

 

Following healthy eating habits and having a well-balanced diet in the growing years will prove to be very beneficial for the child in his adult life. A child who eats well is more likely to have a well-built physique and a sharp mind as compared to the ones who have had improper eating habits. A well-balanced diet in the foundations years will make him less prone to diseases in the future. As parents, it is our moral responsibility to provide the best to our child, so why compromise on the most basic need-food?

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