We always would love to see that our children are healthy. But the definition of healthy has changed over the years. Healthy means over fed/ over nourished children in the present scenario. We need to put a stop to overfeeding our children.
I had a case 2 months back, where a concerned mother visited me with her child. The mother was all upset and was in tears. Her child had been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels with high LDL levels, High triglycerides and low HDL levels.
Hemoglobin levels were very low 10 gm/ Dl. The child was eleven years of age. Her weight was 42 kilos. For her age, her ideal body weight would be 25-26 kilos. She was over 16 kilos overweight. After speaking to the child I realized the child had very poor eating habits.
Her eating pattern was as follows….
Breakfast was skipped most of the times or it would be a few biscuits.
Mid time snack at school would be biscuits with butter or nuts or chips.
Lunch would be with white rice, gravy with coconut, pickle and hardly any vegetables.
Evening back from school she would have samosas, chips, bread with generous amount of jam. All this would be washed down with soft drinks.
Dinner at least 4 times a week would be Instant noodles Like Maggi. Rest of the time it would be same as lunch. Deep fried fish, chicken or mutton was eaten almost daily.Anytime to the child’s whims and fancies pizza, burger, fried rice and other Chinese food would be home delivered during the week.
Water intake was less than a liter. Food groups such as milk products, fruits and vegetables were missing from her diet.
Chocolates, candies, cookies would be eaten daily out of boredom while watching TV. There was no scope for any physical activity during the day. She had stopped playing at school because she was ridiculed at while playing at school.
All this had taken a toll on the child’s health. On hearing this, I realized I had to completely revamp her diet.
Breakfast was introduced back on a regular basis.
Wheat cornflakes with a few raisins/ Steamed idlis (steamed rice and black gram) with green chutney with mint and coriander/ wheat pancakes with grated vegetables plus a glass of milk with a tsp. of date syrup.
Mid morning- fruit cup such as apples, papayas, pears/ vegetables such as tomato, carrot and cucumber sticks with some pepper.
Lunch- brown rice/ wheat chapatis plus Dal with vegetable and curd.
Low fat Paneer and vegetable sandwich or Tofu/Paneer and vegetable stuffed Paratha plus a glass of buttermilk/ curd.
After school- oats porridge/ veg. pancakes plus a glass of milk OR a handful of Mixed nuts.
Dinner- similar to lunch. Cereal preparation plus pulses/ legumes/ fish or chicken with cooked vegetable.
After dinner- fruit plus a glass of milk.
All the junk food was removed from her diet. She was asked to drink about 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily. I asked her mother to engage her in some activity which her daughter would enjoy. They were asked to come back for a review after 2 months.
Just few days back they visited me. The child has lost weight about 5 kilos. The child herself expressed that she was feeling more energetic and healthier. She learnt to swim and would swim about an hour daily. Her reports were looking better but there was scope for more improvement which would happen gradually. The mother had now realized and had made sure that the entire family change their eating habits and all were benefiting very well.
Inculcating good eating habits in childhood can make children carry these habits into adulthood giving them heathier futures. Allround development includes health and nutrition too. So save your child’s arteries from the start, so that you can give them a health future.