My friend’s daughter recently moved to the US to study, and her change in diet – to eating more refined, processed foods – has caused her to complain of ill health. This is a problem we frequently see with students, as the foods they often turn to for convenience while living away from home tend to be highly refined, high in sugar, and full of preservatives.
These issues are seen in children in India as well, as Western fast food and junk food become more prevalent in the market. These foods are appealing to kids, but they’re laden with refined fats and carbohydrates, and offer little nutritional value. It’s a great idea to start educating our kids when they’re young – getting them interested in cooking, for example, is a great way to teach them about nutrition and inform them about healthy choices.
My suggestions for maintaining a healthy, wholesome diet for children and students:
- Buy a small blender to mix a good protein powder into smoothies – make sure to get a powder which is low in sugar!
- Keep a good blend of flax and other seeds on hand to powder and add to smoothies as well
- Nuts are an easy, healthful snack – be sure to keep some on-hand!
- Dried fruits are a great, simple food to keep – dried mango, papaya, raisins, figs, dates are all wonderful!
- Another good snack to keep stocked are whole food bars which are free of added sugar and preservatives
- A simple, wholesome lunch or snack to prepare is wholewheat crackers paired with greek yoghurt and hummus
- Besides keeping these snacks on hand, advise your kids to fill their plates with the largest portion being salad or veggies, and the smaller portions of carbs (pasta, rice, noodles) and protein (eggs, tofu, lean meats).
- Having a formula of 80-20 is a a convenient way to balance any diet – keeping 80 percent whole foods such as fresh veggies, eggs, fish and the other 20 percent breads and other starchy foods.
- Finally, the best advice is to be a good role model: exercise and eat well! The earlier you can set an example, the better, as our kids are learning from us all the time.
Please feel free to comment below with any questions – would love to hear your tips as well for how you encourage your children to eat healthy & stay fit!