Our first experiences with food tend to impact our eating habits for the rest of our lives, so the best time to teach good dietary habits is during the early years. Globally, children's diets are loaded with foods made with trans fats, excess salt, sugar and refined wheat flour. Childhood obesity is increasing by the day, and kids are developing allergies and health problems linked to unhealthy foods. Our eating pattern has adversely affected the health of our little ones. To resolve this, Shauravi Malik and Meghana Narayan, Co-founders, Slurrp Farm, have addressed the everyday food decisions that shape our children’s eating habits positively:
Present kids with a diversity of food choices
- Introducing diverse foods to your menu at home is essential, especially for children. When kids habitually eat the same food, they may not get all the necessary nutrients needed for optimal growth and development. Introducing unfamiliar foods and flavours to your little ones will also help them create a pattern of being open to trying new foods.
- Pro tip: Introduce a diverse range of superfoods. A variety of nutrient-dense ingredients like Finger Millets (Ragi), Sorghum (Jowar), Foxtail Millet, Lentils, Oats, Amaranth can be included in diets the form of chapatis/rotis/slices of bread.
- Eating with JOY is the greatest gift of life. Therefore, it is necessary to teach kids to love good quality food and have a healthy and happy relationship with food—the simple joy of cooking for family and friends.
- Pro tip: Encourage kids to help you in the kitchen! Getting them involved in the cooking process will help familiarize them with the ingredients. It’s so much fun and educational too. Utilize this as an opportunity to discuss the food nutrition that may lead to several discussions on farming, farm-to-table, food cultures and a lot more.
Replace the junk with healthy food
- Present the same food by replacing unhealthy ingredients with their healthier counterparts. There are plenty of food hacks out there.
- Pro tip: Replace refined sugar with natural fruits, such as mashed banana or in its powder form while baking muffins/loaves of bread etc., replace refined sugar with natural sweeteners like jaggery and honey in milkshakes, smoothies, puddings, halwa, etc. Replace maida (all-purpose flour) with ragi (finger millets) when baking cakes, chapatis, etc.
Include a variety of superfoods that can fight illness-causing toxins, keeps weight in check, and reduces the risk of heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, and several other life-threatening health issues. In addition, wholesome meals give you more energy and boost confidence, and help you feel better. After all, you are what you eat.