Giving birth to another litttle being is the biggest turning point in any mother’s life and rightly so, for her journey begins from the day she conceives and doesn’t end till the end of her time. It totally holds true in my case. Until i got pregnant, I was good at many things like – I ate anything and everything at any time without bothering remotely about the health aspect. I would sleep late, wake up even later. I never kept a check on what goes in and out of kitchen. I royally ignored the various recomendations to lead a heathier life by the elders in family. Yes, I was good at all of that!
And then one fine day I got pregnant. Suddenly I felt immensely responsible towards the little being that i am to carry within me for 9 long months. My attention slowly went on to correct my own routines. I began to eat and sleep on time to say the least.
I still wasnt taking the health aspect seriously for I thought my responsibility will be done once the baby is delivered. I delivered a little boy, slightly underweight, but I thought, Hey, I have an entire life time to feed him and make him chubbier.
I was in for a rude shock, for my kiddo would fall sick often and everytime seeing him suffer would kill me and make me feel guilty of not doing the right thing. I began to accept the fact that my responsibility towards him has not ended but just began. As a person who never went to the kitchen except to ask – whats cooking? I was adviced by one and all to prepare, eat and feed healthier food, for it would build the body as well as the immunity.
Still not convinced entirely in my head, I started executing a few tips that were suggested to me. One of it was to include a lot of veggies and fruits in the diet. Typically the staple food like rice and chappati’s are to provide the carbohydrates to take care of the energy needs of the body. The sides like dal, eggs, milk, meat gives protein and they build the body and repair them too. Now comes the essential aspect – vitamins and minerals. These are required in small quantities compared to carbs and protien but are extremely crucial, for they build immunity and keep the deficiencies at bay.
Over the last 6 years with one more addition in my family, I cant stress enough on having a healthy balanced diet for yourself and your kids. The little simple tweeks I learnt along the way to ensure a balanced diet for my family are:
- Encourage the practise to eat vegetables from a very early stage and in their own natural tastes as much as possible. Young kids are very enthusiastic about colours and shapes. Experimenting with different shapes and plating colourful veggies made it more attractive for them to first try then like it in the longer journey.
- Going for sprouts whenever possible. I would always soak an extra handful of dal, while I would take the required amount to cook the sides. That extra handful will go soaking for another night till the sprouts appear, and is loved as a snack by the whole family.
- Choosing multigrain Atta v/s regular Atta, for these flour have goodness of upto 6 or 8 other grains in them. Why miss the chance of eating something thats better, isnt?
- We would make homemade health mix. This includes dry roasting of multiple grains like jowar, bajra, other millets, soya, corn, cashews, badams etc etc (upto some 22 ingredients) either in their plain form or sprouted form (Wherever possible) and then having them powdered in a milling store. This health mix is super delicious and also super nutritious, and perfectly healthy as its entirely home made. A glass full of the Kanji prepared by this mix takes care of most of the nutritional requirements in one go.
- Adding honey instead of sugar to juices. Honey is said to double the goodness of anything that its added to.
- Eating a few soaked almonds every morning is a good habit to cultivate. Almonds are rich in a lot of nutrients and when soaked they become more absorbable by our gut. Hence eating soaked ones score more than regular ones
- One thing that the elders in my family insist is to go for more seasonal and local fruits than something that non seasonal or imported. The latter is usually more pricy as well as low in their goodness factor.
- One thing you cant deny is, that unlike an adult, the kids cant gulp everything in one go. Since their tummies are small, their intake needs to be spaced out. I make sure to treat them with seasonal fruits and veggies fas snacks between meals.
- While its not entirely possible to avoid junk from our food, we can defenitely limit it. We usually have a junk food night out biweekly. That way the kids are introduced to newer foods that are available outside home and this comes handy when we have to travel out. We are exposing the kids to something new, without making it a routine and compromising a healthy eating habit.
The last but not least, is to be a role model for our kids. No matter how healthy food I prepare, but if I dont follow what I preach, the kids are not going to buy it. I have learnt that to keep my sanity and health in check, I need to be on top on my health. Hence its only natural to eat healthy and be what you want your kid to be.
Please share what you do at your home to ensure the kids are getting a balanced diet?