- Make your child sit on the floor while eating
- Avoid making him eat while watching TV
- Encourage playtime of minimum 90 minutes in children
National Nutrition Week 2018 is observed from September 1 to September 7. The purpose of this week is to spread awareness about the importance of nutrition and eating nutritious foods. For this years week, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar begins by going live on Facebook to talk about the importance of child nutrition. In times when childhood obesity is on the rise and children are more used to playing on mobile phones and iPads - as compared to playing outside and engaging in physical activities - talking about nutrition in children is extremely important.
Read below to know some important do's and dont's of childhood nutrition:
1. In case you have high chair on which you make your child sit while eating, then get rid of it. Instead, opt for sitting down on the floor and then feed your child. Avoid using plastic spoons for feeding your child. Making the child sit on the floor and then eat is important for his/her opening of the pelvic hip in the way required. It prevents problems with running, lower back, allergies and knee issues in later stage of life.
2. Stop telling your children than you need to eat certain foods for their protein, fat, vitamin or fibre content. It is important that the child should be able to assimilate protein instead of merely consuming it. Sufficient protein intake of a child is when s/he is playing outside for at least 90 minutes a day, recommends Rujuta. This is because physical activity provides children with the right stimuli to break down protein in the right way.
3. Avoid getting obsessed about feeding milk to children. As mentioned above, make your children play outside so that they are able to assimilate the calcium you want to feed them with, through milk. Feed children with desi cow milk or buffalo milk. And, feed full fat milk to children. Low-fat milk, tetra pack milk, almond milk or skimmed milk must be avoided for child nutrition. Also, avoid adding any kind of flavouring powders in milk you give to your child. Instead, opt for some nuts, kesar, some sugar, haldi, gulkand or nutmeg in the milk.
4. Do not feed your child while s/he is watching TV. Parents should inculcate the habit of eating with their children. In case your child refuses to eat without a distraction, or if they refuse to eat simple home-cooked food, give them 5 to 10 minutes and they will end up eating when they feel hungry. Children lose touch with their satiety signals when they eat while watching TV, and they don't know when to stop eating. This invariably results in a skinny child until s/he reaches puberty. On hitting puberty, they are also likely to progress towards obesity. All this only because the child has never learnt how to be in tune with the food while eating. According to Rujuta, screen time of children should be ranging between 10 to 30 minutes in a day and nothing more than this. TV should not be installed in children's bedroom.
5. Bed time of your children is extremely important for child nutrition. Children who do not get adequate sleep are likely to face problems with their brain growth, learning abilities, physical growth, digestion and social interaction. Parent should take full responsibility of making their children sleep on time. Children under 8 to 10 years should go to bed anywhere between 8 to 9.30 pm. As they grow up, the time can be extended by an hour or an hour and half.