A few years ago, when celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija was questioned by her four-year-old daughter for serving a dish that didn’t have enough protein, she knew she had done well as a mother. The dish in question was Sindhi Kadhi and rice, a favourite meal of her family’s. That her daughter could question the nutritional value of her meal correctly gave her the impetus to write N for Nourish: Make Food Your BFF, a nutrition guide for kids. “It was enlightening to know that if a child is taught right, then he or she can learn to eat well and will never need a nutritionist,” says Pooja. The book is a journey that Pooja underwent, from a nutritionist to a mother, and the way she introduced the world of food to her children.
The book is a self-help tool where kids are introduced to different types of food in such a way that they are able to connect their food with taste and nutrition. Through this book, the author also explains to parents that teaching their kids to eat right is not a task but an extremely easy process and once imbibed, it automatically grows into their life. “I always believe that parents need to understand and teach the children while they are growing up. It is not easy for adults because they have to unlearn their eating habits. Unlike adults, kids learn to eat in totality and can learn how nutritious diet will help them in their performance at school and in their extra-curricular activities,” suggests the nutritionist.
Unlike her two earlier books Eat Delete and Eat Delete Junior, which dealt with highlighting people’s toxic relations with food and losing weight, N for Nourish is for today’s generation which, according to the author, is smart enough to understand what is best for them. “They think mama knows nothing so I want to give them a tool which will teach them good from bad and right from wrong,” she insists.
In a recent study, India is listed as the second largest country to have obese children in the world, owing to sparse open spaces and excessive use of devices and gadgets.
This is a cause of concern for Pooja who feels this is the right time to take corrective steps as obesity in childhood follows to adulthood too. “It is important that parents pay attention to what the kids are eating. I am not undermining the importance of physical activity but it is worth along with a good diet,” she suggests and adds that human bodies are made 70 per cent in the kitchen and 30 per cent in the gym.
“Pay attention to what your child is eating. A balanced diet and nutrition is important so that their immunity is strong enough to keep them protected from any viruses that the environment has to unleash,” she insists.
With so much information out there about diet and nutrition, it often leaves one confused. But Pooja suggests following gut instincts. “If you resonate with what is prescribed in the book and you can continue for the rest of the life, you should pick up that one. Just because a celebrity endorses a book, you don’t have to read. You have to see if the author is talking about sustainable lifestyle,” she suggests.
Pooja so far has catered more than 10,000 clients across a wide spectrum from varied backgrounds.
Her clientele from Bollywood includes, Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Neetu Singh and Raveena Tadon among many others. “Celebrities are just normal people like us. They too have good and bad days. They are with me because they want to help themselves. And when you are on a mission, you try to listen to the other person,” she reveals. And what about those with sweet tooth? “Well, I would ask them to extract and pull it off because they won’t get any fuel for it. I am not asking you to never have sugar but more you have it, the more you would need me,” laughs the nutritionist.