With changing culture and family dynamics in India, there is more and more nuclear family with both parents working. Life has become busy; so many parents opt to eat out at a food joint rather than preparing a healthy meal at home. And with media exposure and cultural change, children are also demanding. Due to this more and more children are overweight and are at increased risk of obesity and other major diseases.
Eating fast food once in a while is fine, but it should not become a regular feature of your child’s staple diet. Twice a month, eating out will be just fine, not more than that.
Being a parent, it is our responsibility to provide child with healthier options and lead with example. We can encourage them to go for healthier options.
Few things to keep in mind while eating out that can help you and your kids are:
- Control the portion size: This is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Do not get carried away by temptation from food joints who offer to upgrade to larger size or combos to save money. The price difference between a medium drink and large is kept very small so that you are tempted to buy a bigger one.
- Encourage them to eat roasted, steamed or boiled food rather than fried. It helps to decrease the number of calories and is much healthier option.
- Order some salad or fruits along as a side dish. It will make you fuller at very low calories and with healthier options.
- Order some non aerated drinks (without soda) like water, juice or milk. Avoid aerated drinks with soda like cold drinks; they are just empty calories. But to go for healthier options like fruit juices or smoothies.
- Do not get lured by word “Diet”: Diet food or diet cold drinks or diet chips are not a healthy option. Diet cold drinks have artificial sweetener and other stuff inside which can even be more dangerous (most of such drinks have labels stating that not meant for less than 18 years). Diet chips still have lot of salt (high sodium content) and masala that is not good for your heart and cholesterol.
- Similarly “Fat free” does not mean a healthy option and you can eat large amount. They still have carbohydrates and lots of calories which can make you obese.
Remember you can buy a new house to stay but you have only one body to live.
If your body is not in good shape, all your materialistic wealth will be of no use.
Respect your body: Eat healthy, do exercise and be mentally strong. And have faith in your abilities, you can do lot better than you think you can.
Dr Rahul Varma