How smart eating early on can boost your child’s health profile

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Children love bright colors, but they often dread fruits and vegetables which are an important part of the diet | Photo credit: Pexels

Highlights

  • Your child doesn’t know the importance of nutritious foods until you teach them
  • Kids don’t really do as they’re told, but they will surely do what they see – actions count more than words for children
  • Plan their meals healthily and try to cook innovative recipes to keep them interested

By Nmami Agarwal

Eat today for tomorrow

It is said that “you are what you eat”. Diet plays an important role in determining your health and well-being. A healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet improves the quality of life, while a poor diet will bring you closer to morbidity and disease. Healthy, clean eating isn’t just limited to weight loss, but has also been deeply associated with happy, healthy years with fewer health complications. The food you put on your plate not only decides your health today, but also plays a major role in maintaining ideal health which offers long term benefits. The essence of a healthy and nutritious diet is that it provides a precise amount of vitamins and minerals which further decrease the risk of a plethora of health complications.

National Nutrition Week – take action to raise awareness

To raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating, National Nutrition Week is celebrated every year from September 1-7. The sole motive of National Nutrition Week is to raise awareness about a balanced diet and good nutrition.

This year’s theme is “Feed Smart from the Start” and is probably the best motto for building a healthy foundation from an early age for a better future. Giving your little ones the best start in life is important and one of the best ways to do that is to feed them the right way from the start. From your child’s first meal until the end, everything they eat not only impacts their health today, but also leaves a lasting impression on their health for years to come. Making adjustments in your child’s diet today will transform their health while giving them happy and healthy years to come.

How to get your child’s health off to a good start

  1. Teach them young: Your child doesn’t know the importance of nutritious foods until you teach them. Cut out unhealthy foods from their diet and take gradual steps to change their eating habits. Plan their meals healthily and try to cook innovative recipes to keep them interested.
  2. Let your innovation take off: Children love bright colors, but they often dread fruits and vegetables, which are an important part of the diet. Cut fruits into different shapes and sizes and serve them, you can also mix vegetables and fruits in smoothies for a powerful nutritional punch.
  3. Make way for healthy swaps: Children love their sweets, chocolates, and guilty indulgences, and often such eating inclinations become common as they grow older. But, instead of depriving them of their favorite dessert, why not try healthier alternatives. You can make cakes with whole wheat flour or oatmeal. Add jaggery, dates or fig puree for extra sweetness. Replace ice cream with frozen fruit delicacies like a frozen banana topped with dark chocolate or hanging curd with mixed fruits like blueberries, strawberries or mango for eye-catching colors but full of healthy goodness.
  4. Prioritize meal times: In this digital age, it is not only becoming easier but also convenient to feed children with screen time, whether it is a mobile, TV or laptop. While this can save you from having to run behind your kids with food in hand, in the long run it can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Set aside mealtimes as a routine – this will accustom their body clocks accordingly
  5. Become a model: Children don’t really do as they are told, but they will surely do what they see – actions count more than words for children. So why not start with yourself and let the kids develop healthier habits naturally in your home. It’s okay to have fun with your kids every now and then, but make sure you’re the right role model for them from the start.

The bottom line

The link between good health and a balanced diet is far too important to be ignored by a child, as eating habits instilled in childhood often carry over into adulthood. Making small changes in the diets of today’s children can have a huge impact in the long run.

(Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of NmamiLife)

(Opinions expressed are personal and do not necessarily endorse the views of Times Now)

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