New Delhi, Sep 7: In this technology savvy world, our food content and quality is also being affected and driven by various factors like taste and convenience, rather than nutritional value and quality. The choice of food is becoming “fast” rather than nutritious. This has both short-term and long-term consequences on our health.
The high salt and sugar content of fast food gives rise to ailments like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc at a much younger age as compared to the previous generations. The high consumption of empty calories has dire consequences on our health. Advertisement-driven unhealthy food choices are overriding the healthy conventional food choices.
Our choice of food defines our body and mind. The selection should be guided by the nutrient value rather than taste buds and other conveniences. One should be informed about the nutritional value, the content of carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, sugar, salt in a particular preparation. Knowledge about nutritional values helps us to make an informed selection as per our bodies needs. The introduction of basic requirements like calorie needs per day, salt requirements, minerals for immunity, the strength of the body, etc should be taught in the school so kids learn early on.
The idea of a balanced diet lays emphasizing the content and quantity of food items should be introduced in the school at an early age so that the child understands the importance of varied food items and their inclusion into daily meals. The role of carbohydrates in daily requirements as energy source and the ill effects of excessive carbohydrates in causing obesity and other ailments should be taught so when the child can visualise its effects on the body.
Children should be introduced to the kitchen at an early age, in order so as to get a glimpse of the ingredients and get a better understanding of food preparation. This makes them aware of their food choices and the long term impact on their health. A kitchen garden is a great way to educate them about the life cycle of the plants. Working with the plants, monitoring their growth, understanding the flower and fruit cycle helps in establishing connectivity with the food items. The interest in the food cycle helps them to make more informed choices. This experiential learning method helps to mold their health. Kids should also be taught about reading the content of packed food items, to know what they are consuming.
(Puja Kapoor, Paediatric Neurologist & Co-founder of Continua kids)