Are burgers, pizzas and instant noodles completely bad for children?
Food like burgers, pizza, instant noodles are termed as Junk food and some parents feel that these are completely bad for children. I believe that all food has been given by God to nourish the body and satisfy the taste buds of man and in the light of this no food should be termed as junk! There are wholesome meals, fast foods, tasty snacks, desserts, etc., and each of them should have a place and time in our lives.
I would classify food as regular and basic food i.e. roti, rice, dhal and sabji and luxury food i.e. burger, pizza, noodles, etc. Children must be taught that regular meals that are properly balanced have to be eaten day in and day out, meal after meal and luxury food or meals are allowed only once or twice a week.
If on the other hand due to lack of time, for convenience or just to avoid listening to children grumbling, parents allow luxury food everyday, then they will surely be adversely affecting the child’s body because this food is usually loaded with fat. However with a little planning and effort, these luxury foods can be eaten as well balanced meals in themselves. Most children would accept eating slices of salad or coleslaw with a burger. Children who normally never eat capsicum and mushrooms would accept it on their pizza. Grated carrot and cabbage and scrambled egg or crumbled paneer could go down happily with the instant noodle. So treat your child once or twice a week and Mamma be sure to put up your feet and relax, as you wont have to be cooing and coaxing your child with these meals.
Also when using luxury foods for a meal we need to ensure that there is a carbohydrate food and protein food combination in every meal. Eg., if preparing aloo paratha for breakfast it must be served with a good amount of curd half to one cup or a glass of milk or a boiled egg is a must. If your child wants to eat instant noodle at any meal it needs to be combined with a glass of milk, or an egg or baked beans or chicken pieces may be added to it. If eating a veg burger the bread is carbohydrate food and so is the vegetable burger that is in it. A vegetarian must eat a slice of cheese with the burger to get protein into that meal.
A little extra care may be taken to reduce the fat intake. When eating a burger one can avoid eating French fries with it which give only extra starch and fat. One can also avoid adding mayonnaise to the meal. Mayonnaise is basically salad oil beaten up with egg yolk and spices which is very dangerous to the body.
When eating fried chicken try to avoid French fries and include bread or rice with it and a fresh salad as well. If they eat only the chicken, they will eat 4-5 pieces of fried chicken which is very unhealthy. When the rice and salad are included with 1-2 pieces of chicken it is more nutritious and balanced.