Baby is quite sterile and safe in mother’s womb, but the time he is born gets surrounded by loads of microbes. Though the advances in medical field reduces the risks of infections and other diseases but there has been an explosion in the prevalence of chronic non-infectious diseases and disorders (e.g diabetes, allergies, asthma, Inflammatory bowl diseases (IBD’s), cancer and obesity). There may be many causes for this happening, but it has been observed that overuse of antibiotic in humans especially children has made the health situation worst ! The other main cause which could have detrimental effects on a child’s physical and mental development is Malnutrition. The dietary requirements of children and young people are different to those of adults and are constantly changing as individuals grow and develop. The values, habits and behaviours developed during this period often influence behaviours in adulthood.
Modern day nutrition products are loaded with sugar specially beverages, candies and chocolates. Kids are lured into eat all these products quiet often. These product are extremely sweet, high in caloric content and increases the required amount of insulin. This phenomenon has introduced obesity even in our children. Natural fruits and fruit based products are considered as healthier alternative as those have less amount of sugars. They contain fructose which is natural sugar and has low glycemic index (minimal effect on blood sugar levels).
It is time that we encourage our children to reduce the intake of sugary soda drinks, candies and chocolates as they only contain sugar and have no micro nutrients (vitamins & essential minerals). They must be encouraged to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet as they are packed with healthy micro nutrients which are essential for their growth. It’s high time that we take control of our kids nutrition and encourage them to healthy eating. Recently, market has started offering few products which are based on pure raw fruits which can be used as healthy snack by the kids. One of the product range is being offered by M/S TWC.
The guideline statements for choice of food could be as follows.
- Eat a variety of foods (vegetables and fruit, breads and cereals, increasing wholegrain products, milk products (low-fat options, like lean meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds), supplemented by vitamins and minerals.
- Eat regularly over the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner, and include in- between snacks)
- Select food/drink etc which are low in fat, sugar, especially added sugar and salt.
- Drink plenty of water during the day and avoid limit drinks such as fruit juice, fruit drink, fizzy drinks (including diet drinks), sports drinks, Energy drinks , coffee or tea ( maximum one cup a day)
- Encourage children and young people to be involved in shopping, be physically active (aiming for 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous activity each day), Spend less than two hours a day (out of school time) in front of television, computers and gaming consoles etc.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Do: prevent infections if possible and avoid unnecessary exposure to antibiotics
- Do: do try to control stress as much as possible. Severe stress is associated with a number of disorders in children
- Dotry acquiring meat, eggs, and dairy from animals which are organic, grass fed and not treated with antibiotics. These products cost a little more, but it’s worth it in the long run.
- Do plan regular meal and snack times – children need structure, routines and limits.
- Do make meals and snacks look appealing – use a range of colours, and shapes. Food should also be easy to chew and handle. Involve your child in choosing and preparing food.
- Do encourage your child to eat with you and your family. Children learn by imitating the people around them.
- Do not force your child to eat. Respect that the child may have certain likes and dislikes and give them some choice in selecting food.
- Be consistent with how you handle food refusal.
- Avoid substituting uneaten meals for other foods.
- Don’t let your children spend their days in front of electronics. Get them out of the house, and promote physical exercise through walking, a trip to the playground, or an organized sport or other activity.