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Nourishing Kids: Building Healthy Habits

Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Eat to live, don't live to eat." This quote holds relevance in our daily lives.

by TNN Editor - 24 Aug, 2023 1507

Seema Sabah

Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Eat to live, don't live to eat." This quote holds relevance in our daily lives.

Food is an essential aspect of our survival and nourishment. People can be categorized into two groups: those who eat for sustenance and those who prioritize eating above all else. As someone who appreciates food, I must admit that I truly enjoy eating. Indulging in satisfying meals isn't inherently negative. We should acknowledge the abundance of delicious food as a blessing from Allah. However, it's essential to practice moderation.

The question that arises is, what constitutes a balanced diet? Let's delve into the concept of a balanced diet, also known as a nutritious diet, which provides all the necessary nutrients our bodies require. Ensuring that children receive adequate nutrition is crucial for their physical and mental development, setting the foundation for a healthy future.

Conversely, an imbalanced diet can hinder growth and negatively impact overall health in children. They require a diverse range of nutrients for optimal development. An imbalanced diet can lead to fatigue, physical weakness, poor concentration, weakened immune systems, and an increased risk of chronic diseases. Providing them with a variety of nutritious foods is crucial for their well-being.

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Parents have become increasingly concerned about their children's declining health due to dietary choices. Fast food and junk food are particularly enticing to kids due to their tempting flavors. Nonetheless, it's essential for parents to prioritize finding healthier alternatives to these options.

In today's fast-paced world, fast food offers convenience and instant gratification. However, we must remember that while it may be convenient and delicious, it lacks the essential nutritional value our bodies need. Balancing convenience with healthy eating can be challenging, but it's undoubtedly beneficial for our overall well-being.

A balanced diet includes a variety of food groups such as vegetables, fruits, meat (both white and red), grains, healthy fats (nuts, seeds), and dairy. Striking the right balance and consuming proper portions daily is key. Healthy foods are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, and nutrients necessary for proper bodily functions. By incorporating these foods into our diet, we provide our bodies with optimal fuel.

In contrast, the consumption of fast food has adverse effects on health due to its high content of saturated fats, sugar, and sodium. These components contribute to health issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and can negatively affect various body systems including the cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems.

Undoubtedly, students who prioritize snacks and fast food over nutritious meals may struggle with their learning. A balanced diet with healthy foods provides the energy and nutrients necessary for focus and concentration. Providing essential nutrition is vital for a child's mental and emotional well-being.

I've personally witnessed preschool students who are sluggish and unresponsive in the morning due to inadequate nutrition. Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining energy levels and promoting alertness. Encouraging a balanced diet can significantly improve morning activity and engagement.

Parents, especially mothers, must make mindful food choices for their families. Mothers play a crucial role in ensuring their children receive nutritious meals by planning and selecting balanced options. They are like nutrition superheroes, strengthening and nourishing their kids.

Here are some strategies to provide essential nutrition and make students' daily lunchboxes both flavorful and balanced:

Create colorful and appealing meals that capture their attention, like vegetable pizzas or rolls with vibrant veggies.

Presentation matters; get creative with fun shapes or colorful containers for sandwiches.

Involve your kids in meal planning and preparation to make them excited about their lunches.

Incorporate a variety of food groups—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins—to ensure a balanced meal.

Experiment with flavors and seasonings to make food more enjoyable.

Remember, making nutritious food enjoyable can encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits.