Every parent has a nightmare in planning what should they give their child in his or her Tiffin box so that their child gets healthy and adequate nutrition. Similarly, the child thinks how yummy his or her Tiffin is going to be today.
As a mother of a 2yr old, I am too concerned about how my child could eat the right type of food at school. But, being from the field of nutrition the knowledge gained has empowered me and I would like to share this knowledge with all of you so that you can plan and healthy and balanced meals for your children.
We as parents need to instil in our children healthy and good eating habits right from the start. Looking at the current scenario kids eating habits are poor and they spend lot of time indoors playing on computers and watching TV thus increasing their sedentary time which in turn increases the incidence of childhood obesity in school going kids.
We all know that kids during their growing years require eating adequately nutritious food for their overall development. Lack of any nutrient can cause deficiency and stunted growth. Also considering that high level of concentration is needed to be maintained at school in order to grasp what is taught, kids need to be fed well and this is not only in terms of quantity but quality too.
3 meals which the child eats at school can be considered as
As we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but you will find many kids skip this meal. Kids who tend to skip breakfast happen to have low concentration levels in class. They also lack energy for physical activity and they tend to eat lot of junk available within the campus or outside.
Eating breakfast every day we will only build a stronger immune system and these good habits are carried through in life. It also helps in keeping the weight in check in kids. Breakfast also boosts body metabolism, the process by which the body converts food to energy. It also provides power to the brain therefore as parents it is very important to decide what exactly kids need to choose for their breakfast. Foods chosen for breakfast should be rich in whole grains, fiber and protein while low in added refined sugar which will increase the attention span and will boost the kid’s memory helping them grasping more knowledge.
Many a time kids skip breakfast due to reasons such as no time, tired, wanting to sleep little extra, no availability of quick readily available breakfast at home. Therefore, it is important as parents that we need to be well organised, and plan ahead for the next meal so that you don’t need to be rushing doing the same in the morning.
Examples of healthy quick fixes for kid’s breakfast are various Dosas like carrot/beetroot, small and cute coin Dosa, yummy chapatti roll stuffed with veg, idli upma, fruit smoothies, sandwiches, milk, and yoghurt
We need to prepare innovative, colourful breakfast which helps in engaging the little tummies. Another important aspect is that parents should be a role model to their child. Breakfast should be made a family affair where in all family members eat together. So if parents have a healthy balanced breakfast at the start of the day, kids too will follow you in forming this good habit.
Another hurdle why kids skip this meal is that they do not have appetite for morning breakfast so parents need to pack a healthy morning snack like sandwich, fruit bread, whole wheat or multigrain biscuits or dried foods etc.
Next we come to lunch which many kids eat at school. Lunch re-energizes our body several hours after eating our breakfast. Also many kids tend to skip their breakfast so their lunch becomes all the more important meal as it helps the child remain active for the entire day and also carry out after school activities. Lunch should be a combination of proteins and carbohydrates like chicken salad wraps, veg noodles, whole wheat pasta etc
Another aspect about eating right at school is that school canteens should have healthy menus approved by kids. The canteens should be monitored for hygiene and food quality and taste. Oily and fatty foods should be not sold in campuses. Salads should be part of the menus.
Finally, kids need to know what they are eating and therefore it is important to have nutritional healthy eating as a part of the core curriculum through which kids can develop their taste buds and understand the importance of balanced and healthy meals on the go