On Children’s Day, popular nutritionist Divya Sathyaraj, daughter of actor Sathyaraj, talks to DC about the need for cultivating good food habits among kids, as a lot of young mothers, who come to her clinic, are more concerned about their child’s eating pattern.
Stressing the need that a child’s body needs nutrition and not just food, she says, “It is important to understand that children are not born with a craving for pizza, cookies and lollipop — the conditioning happens over a period of time as children are exposed to unhealthy food choices. It is important to re-program a child’s food cravings so that they take a liking towards healthier food. The focus should be on making kids eat more natural food instead of packaged and processed food. Never try to force feed children, as they may develop an aversion to food and eating disorders, which could have an impact on growth and development.”
Divya points out that children have a strong impulse to imitate. “Don’t ask your child to eat the broccoli, when you are eating french fries! Take your children on a fun grocery-shopping trip to the supermarket. Never use food as a reward or bribe. Introduce healthy new dishes every week, while continuing to serve one or two of their old favourites. One of the best ways to help your child form a relationship with food is by teaching them to connect with what they eat and how they feel,” she adds.
“Blueberries, cranberries, chocolate flavoured almond milk, milk with honey, kesar and badam, oatmeal with honey and raisins, banana and strawberry milk shake, fruit smoothies and whole grain breakfast cereal are healthy food options for children,” she adds.
“Avoid placing too many restrictions and don’t nag them about unhealthy choice of food — never label food as good or bad; instead let your child know that calcium in milk will make them strong and Vitamin A in carrots will give them good eye sight. Let them know you are happy when they choose fruit over candy. Avoid feeding them in front of the television. Make sure you have at least one meal together as a family. Enjoying mealtime together as a family fosters a strong sense of belonging, better communication and cultivates better eating habits in children,” she concludes....