Move over fried snacks and incorporate these healthy alternatives in your children’s diet this festive season

According to UNICEF’s 2022 Global Obesity Atlas, India is expected to have more than 27 million obese children, representing 1 in 10 children globally, by 2030 and in order to combat this problem and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important for people to understand the value of nutritional and adaptive eating habits. People across the country need to pause and assess lifestyle choices for themselves and their families, while acknowledging the need to take strict steps to ensure the safety of their health.

This should be seen as an opportunity for us to look out for the health of our loved ones and more importantly our children to ensure that they live a prosperous and healthy life ahead of them. It is important to inculcate healthy eating habits amongst our children by taking every opportunity to ensure that your child gets adequate amount of healthy nutrients.

Children need the right nutrients in their diets to ensure optimum health which are essential for growth, development and providing them with the necessary energy to take on the day. Kids are mostly drawn to processed or oily foods that are high in trans-fat, refined sugar and salt/sodium and with the festive season here, overindulgence in ghee-laden and sugary treats are very common but while children do love these sweet treats, one should be wary of the large amounts of fats and sugars these food items contain.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics at Max Healthcare in Delhi, shared, “Long-term consumption of processed or oily foods may have negative effects on their weight and growth and they may end up exhibiting early diabetes symptoms. It is crucial for one to monitor their child’s daily diet as parents, both inside and outside the home. Growing children tend to develop a higher appetite that makes them hungry frequently throughout the day.”

She advised, “In a scenario like this, instead of munching on fried snacks, parents can instead incorporate healthy snacking in their children’s diet. Nuts such as almonds are a great replacement for unhealthy snacks as they may have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness, which will help keep kids full in between meals and limit their outreach for fried, unhealthy snacks. Almonds are known to be the gift of good health, as they provide a variety of benefits across heart health, diabetes, and weight management.”

She added, “Almonds provide copper, zinc, folate, iron, and vitamin E – all known to support the immune system – making them a great food to keep around the house, especially when supporting immunity is a family priority. In addition to almonds, one could choose fruits, oats, makhanas, or fresh juices. By instilling healthy snacking habits in children early on, one can increase the likelihood that they will last a lifetime. This will assist in leading a more wholesome and healthy lifestyle in addition to assisting in weight control. Given this, you have enough and more reasons to support your child and inculcate healthy eating habits among them that will benefit them in the long run and ensure a healthy life ahead of them.”

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