Nutrition and health of a child is every mom’s primary concern. So if we feel our child isn’t eating enough or is physically weak, we tend to take any and every advice that people offer. However, I feel we should be careful before we employ any such nutritional advice from random people on our child.
When I was asked to write on this topic, I too thought about it. When I am going to write about the advice, we shouldn’t follow for our kids, will mothers or readers believe me as I am not an expert on food and nutrition. Thus I consulted my cousin who is a qualified nutritionist and she suggested me the following:
1. Advertisements suggest giving supplements to kids. Avoid weight or height gaining growth supplements as they are very high in sugar and lead to obesity in later years.
2. Again advertisements show kids tired of playing in the sun and they take up sweetened drinks. That convinces us to buy it for our kids too. I too used to give my daughter when she went for her swimming competitions. She needs glucose for energy, I believed after watching the advertisements. However avoid Tang, Glucon D etc before or during a sport activity as it dehydrates the body and hampers performance. Only electrolyte solution is advisable to be given to children during any sport activity.
3. We are made to believe that there are no artificial flavours in packed juices and advised to give it to children. However, avoid fruit juices especially packed ones. They are more of empty calories and do no good to the growing child. Also we give children fruit juices so they drink it and get required nutrition. It’s easier than getting them finish a complete fruit yet promote consumption of whole fruits. Also do not keep fruits cut in advance before feeding it to the child. Rather it should be freshly cut to keep its nutrients intact. Same applies for vegetables.
4. Do not take advice of those who suggest weight loss or fat loss diets on children below the age of 13 as that will hamper their overall growth due to deficiency or lack of nutrition. Nowadays kids have also become too concerned about their appearance. They go through many instances of body shaming in school so it’s very important to keep a watch on your children and counsel them that appearance doesn’t matter, what matters is a healthy mind and body. And to achieve that a regular lifestyle is important, which means healthy eating, regular exercise and proper sleep.
5. If our child looks skinny we are advised to feed them ghee and butter. It’s good only if given in the right proportion. Please don’t over feed ghee, butter or whole milk to children in the name of nutrition. The saturated fats in milk are the major cause of abdominal obesity, hypertension and diabetes in mid 30’s or even earlier. Also when the child forms a habit of having too much milk he doesn’t develop the habit of eating whole foods. Then we mothers complain that the child isn’t eating enough. After the age of 6 months, some tasteful semi-solid food should be given to the child so he develops taste for the same.
I hope this article helps you in making the right nutrition decisions for your child. Put in your feedback in comments if you feel this nutrition advice helped you in any way. Also suggest any other from your experiences. Let’s come together in the endeavour of raising healthy children.