Paving the Way for Healthy Eating Habits for Children from a Young Age

Please note that it is very unhealthy to begin your day without breakfast. A child on an empty stomach will not be able to concentrate in class and think clearly. He may get moody and bad tempered with other children.

Even if you have to wake up your child 15 minutes earlier you must see that he does not leave the house without eating.

Here are some quick breakfast ideas:
A glass of milk with 2 slices of toast. A cup of cornflakes with milk. Oats or ragi porridge with milk. Bread (2slices) and egg, bread (2 slices) and cheese, idli (2) or dosa (2 small) and sambar, are all quick to eat foods. If this is not possible, at least a glass of milk and a small banana should be given before he leaves the house. Then his 10 am break Tiffin should carry his breakfast, which can be egg sandwich, cheese sandwich, dosa and potato pallya, chapati rolled with egg or a pallya (vegetable) etc.

f the child has eaten breakfast at home then, send fruit and biscuits or snacks for 10 am.
Try and organize snacks like chocolate, pastry, chips, fries for the 10 am break and not for the late evening as they then get stored as fat at night. Any of these can be given once on the weekday and if needed once during the weekend. Please make sure that they are not given daily and only once or twice a week.

However, do not send only snacks for lunch. Lunch must be a balanced one. They must learn from a young age that breakfast and lunch are proper meals and not get into the habit of light eating in the earlier part of the day and heavy eating in the evenings, which is one of the major factors contributing to the great rise in incidents of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Suggestions for lunch:
Rice, sambar and pallya (cooked vegetables). Chapati, thick dal and sabji. Lime rice or pulav with chole. Chapati rolled with vegetable and shredded nonveg. Chapati with egg and vegetable scramble, noodles mixed with vegetables and egg or paneer. Please note that each of the above combinations have been suggested so that the meal is a balance of carbohydrate and protein foods along with some vegetables. Only roti and sabji (vegetables) or only vegetable pulav, lemon rice, tamarind rice, etc., or only veg noodles is not a balanced meal.

Do not serve lunch at 4 pm, as it is teatime not lunch time. Lunch must be eaten in the school during the lunch break. A glass of milk or curd or lassi is a must when they come back from school and then biscuits or sandwiches or a chapatti roll may be eaten along with it. After play at 6pm, a fruit is a must too.

Then dinner is a balanced meal again. Roti or rice with dal or pulses and a vegetable dish must be the base. Curds and nonveg can be added. Eating a fresh salad with dinner must become a habit for the whole family. If making a continental dinner, the balance must be right. Pasta must be served with some vegetables and white sauce, cheese, or egg. The white sauce, cheese or egg are the protein foods and must be included always.

If serving nonveg at night, restrict the quantity and serve it only 2-3 times per week. It may be eaten more often at lunch time. If you are having bread and soup, the soup must have milk, egg or nonveg in it.

Those sitting up late to study may have a fruit or a cup of milk later but do not indulge in chocolates, cookies, ice cream, etc.,. late at night.

Remember food should be distributed as; breakfast + snack 40%, lunch + tea 40% and dinner 20%. If it is breakfast 0-10%, lunch 20% and dinner 70%, you are paving the way for obesity and disease.

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