We live in a fast-paced world, often not realising where the days whiz by. The focus for families is getting all the lifestyle needs satisfied and often this leads to both parents working and children spending most of their time with day cares, nannies or else grandparents. In spite of this there is a strong need for the parent to see their child excel be it in studies or in sports, in appearance or in calibre – Another race right?
Often when we speak to parents they are concerned about why the child appears too thin or is not gaining enough height or seems lethargic, lacks stamina, is inattentive in the classroom – the list is endless. When I explain to them that the answer is quite simple – customised nutrition – they are not sure how to manage that. Let’s face it – we all do eat fairly healthy; we know that salads are good and cakes are not the healthy choice but within all the healthy options what is the right choice for each family member can become a challenge. After all, how many different meals can be prepared at one time ?
Today kids have a very demanding schedule and it is up to us as parents to ensure that we inculcate the right habits for a Healthy and Active Lifestyle. Here are five habits that smart parents can incorporate to help your child achieve their maximum potential.
- The first one is by far the most important – Inculcate a healthy lifestyle yourself. Children watch their parents closely and will want to emulate whatever they see. If they see their parents eat healthy, exercise regularly, follow a healthy sleep schedule and so on they will automatically be encouraged to fall into the same pattern themselves.
- Ensure healthy meals and access to healthy snacks at home at all times. Growing children need to eat often. Active kids will need to replenish their reserves with the right nutrients at all times. Every family would have a mix of family members of all ages and genders and the requirements for each would be very different. Primary nutrition for an infant is breastmilk, a toddler is going through rapid brain growth and getting the right quality of proteins, vitamins and minerals is essential, a child who is fussy with fruits and vegetables will need to cover deficiency in essential nutrients, to ensure your child reaches their maximum potential height you would need something extra like to ensure adequate calcium and protein intake to promote bone growth, a young teenage girl will need nutrients to help her with the hormonal changes and so on. Nutrition needs can vary as per age, gender and lifestyle and ensuring that you as a parent understand these needs in imperative. In recent times, I have had many parents use Gritzo SuperMilk. Gritzo has designed their website to help you choose the right variant as per your child’s BMI and the goals that you have in mind. For instance the Gritzo SuperMilk Athlete variant for Boys has Zinc to boost the immune system, MCT which is derived from coconut and provides healthy fats for strength and stamina and phosphorus for energy and bone development. Another example would be the Gritzo SuperMilk Athlete variant for Girls which includes Cranberry and Amla for energy, stamina and immunity along with Biotin which is good for hair, skin, nails and a healthy lifestyle. All the products use Whey protein which is easily digestible and absorbed by the human body.
- Avoid processed and sugar enriched foods. These foods can be extremely enticing with their flavours but actually provide zero nutritional value. Encourage your child to opt for natural foods and not packaged foods and also stay away from refined sugar. Remember sugar sneaks into many of our favourite beverages under different names. Sugar can cause a huge energy rush but it is short term and then it causes a slump. So, a child who has a high sugar beverage or a sugar-based powder mixed in his milk in the morning would end up with a slump in energy and brain capacity shortly after.
- Exercise with your child and encourage outdoor activities. This can help your child develop a love for physical activities and will also be a great bonding time for parent and child. Having a healthy snack prior to the activity will ensure optimum energy for the activity and a healthy snack or beverage post the activity can allow for repair and growth of the muscles utilised.
- Make food fun. Every smart parent knows that it can be tricky maintaining the interest of children in meals. The regular foods like dal, sabzi roti can cause many glum faces around the dinner table. Add a little innovation and child friendly flavour to the food and beverages that you serve to your child. Substitute refined breads for whole grain options, add cheese and paneer for some flavour, use a lot of colourful vegetables to add a visual appeal, add a double chocolate flavour to your child’s milkshake – after all which child does not love chocolate, the list is endless.
Remember, every human being is unique. Even identical twins are unique and each person has their own set of requirements. Recognise that your child may have your genes but will still have a unique set of nutritional requirements.
Feeding a child is the Responsibility of a Parent, Feeding a child Intelligently is an Art which every Parent must learn.