We all want our child to eat healthy foods, but do we know which nutrients are necessary and in what amounts? Clearing all your doubts and guiding you towards a proper nutritious diet for your children is expert nutritionist Rashida Sidhpurwala in this talk with KidEngage.
She is a healthy living consultant in the city. As a nutritionist, Rashida helps indivduals to make a smooth transition into living healthier lifestyle so that they get fit and stay fit for life long.
Read below our complete discussion with her:
KE: What does healthy nutrition for kids look like?
Rashida: Good nutrition starts with the basics. A well rounded diet consists of whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein and healthy fats.
Healthy Eating for kids means that your child is ever energetic, attentive and alert, falls sick less often and is developing well physically, mentally and emotionally.
KE: Eating patterns built during childhood serve as a foundation for life. What we eat early on shapes brain development, metabolism, and overall health. Is this true and how can a parent achieve this?
Rashida: Yes, absolutely!!
It starts as early as when the baby is just born. From the first feed of a lactating mother -the colostrum to the exclusive breast feeding for six months to the weaning foods, all of it serves as the very foundation to a child’s immunity, mental development, physical growth ,behavioural patterns and overall health.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that a child be fed right from the age of six months onwards as parents are strongly shaping their child’s taste buds and eating habits for life during this time. It is undoubtedly a challenging task but if dealt with patience and perseverance and the right attitude the rewards can be manifold.
I have had parents coming back to tell me how rewarding and absolutely blissful it has been for them to invest in inculcating the right eating habits for kids early on in their lives.
KE: Does nutrition affect all aspects of childhood growth, development, and health?
Rashida: Of course, it does!! First things first. Food is fuel to the body and the right food provides nutrients for every function within the body such as digestion, absorption, assimilation and excretion (naming a few)to function right. The hormonal framework will also be balanced and in equilibrium when the body is nourished well for optimal growth and development.
KE: What is the role of nutrition in a child being overweight?
Rashida: It is largely mistaken that childhood obesity runs in the family. The truth is that the cooking habits and lifestyles of such families are the culprits. When wanting to help get a child fitter, the entire family needs to sign up for a nutrition plan and make necessary changes in their food handling, cooking and eating practices.
And most importantly “THE EARLIER THE BETTER”, because A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE.
KE: We all want our child to eat healthy foods, but which nutrients are necessary and in what amounts should these be given?
Rashida: The fact about nutrients and the way they work is that, they are all dependent on each other for their absorption and utilization in the body. So ,there is no nutrient that can be glorified, since they all work hand in hand for optimum growth and development.
Babies always instinctively know the right amount to eat and when to stop. Not just that, they want their feeds every 2 hours, like clockwork. And a change in the baby feeding times only signifies that it is ill or uncomfortable.
All this begins to go wrong when they are distracted with media like TV and tablets to lure them into eating their meals as parents feel they are not eating enough or when family members start bribing their kids with sweets and other junk to discipline them or please them.
Parents only need to take care about providing their kids with a balanced meal at proper times, the rest kids are well equipped to handle from birth.
KE: So what’s the best formula to fuel our child’s growth and development?
Healthy snacks and
Positive reinforcement from the parent to counsel the child about the healthy benefit of that food with patience and perseverance
Outdoor play with children irrespective of all caste, creed and color
7-8 hrs of sound, restful and restorative sleep
= A child with good cognitive, emotional and physical well being.
KE: The amount of calories and servings of food that your child needs every day is based on several factors; age, gender and activity level. How true is this?
Rashida: At different stages and phases in life there are pronounced requirements of certain nutrients and during childhood the Iron, Calcium and Protein requirements are higher than in adulthood. But most importantly the right blend of the macro and micro nutrients intake makes sure the nutrient delivery is optimum.
KE: Research has found that children are not getting enough essential nutrients so these are important to keep in mind when planning your child’s diet. Can you suggest how does one plan this?
Rashida: Planning is the most overlooked aspect of getting the children to eat right meals.
You could plan right by doing the following :
1. If a mother wakes up a little early and does pre preparation of breakfast the previous night the well rounded meal can be made and given to the child in time the next morning.
2. If birthday parties are celebrated at home instead of McDonald’s, KFCs or fast food joints, they would have a touch of affection, warmth and care and the snacks served would be healthier as they are home made and fresh.
3. If the home is stocked with healthy food only and junk, processed and packaged food not bought, the children would be eating only the right foods.
4. If schools encouraged kitchen gardening sessions in happy hours and include a subject on nutrition in the curriculum, the children would willingly eat nutritious food.
5. At home if Grandparents showered their love by inculcating good values and storytelling rather than by bribing kids with junk food , every house or can have Healthy and well nourished children.
6. If every member of the house believes to eat for nourishment and not entertainment and to eat for intelligence and not indulgence.
7.Kids may be rewarded by healthier sweets like homemade dry fruit ladoos, til ladoos, chikkis rather than candies or popsicles and other artificially coloured or sweetened junk.
8.Kids should be taken for healthy eating workshops, cycling, sports activities and camping rather than munching on popcorns in movie theatres.
To read more about her profile, click here. Rashida also conducts various workshops and sessions for Adults and Children to make lifestyle modifications which are sustainable for life long at Schools, Corporate offices and Health Clubs. The workshops that she organises for kids teaches them about inculcating healthy eating habits in a fun relaxed way without intimidating them.
If you have any questions for Rashida then leave a comment below or mail your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org