One of the questions which parents often ask themselves, especially when children are young is, ‘Am I giving my child what he/she needs for proper growth?’ As a child, I remember seeing my mother worry about the right kind of nutrition for me, and she would consult doctors who told her to provide a balanced diet.
Now, the question here is: what exactly is a balanced diet? How do we define it?
There are several parameters which have been discussed by doctors, who speak of portion sizes as well as the kind of food you should be eating. Vegetables and fruits should be added to the diet rigorously, and a meal should contain a good amount of fibres too. As per some of the top balanced diet programmes, the best plan should include the following important factors:
- Every day, you should have at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables. This is crucial for your diet, and will be a great way to add essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and improve your metabolism considerably.
- Make sure you have some carbohydrates. As they are the major source of energy, it would do you good to consume plenty of carbs, although do not fill up on sugar and white bread. Rather, try whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and also other such carbs which are considered as complex. A nice option is to check out steel-cut or rolled oats, which is a product that metabolises slowly once ingested, and hence, is better than quick-cooking oats.
- Do not omit fat from your diet completely. Do you know, fats are essential for growth of the brain, since our brain is made up of it? When we were kids, we were encouraged to eat ‘brahmi’ leaves fried in ghee to improve our brain development and improve memory. That makes complete sense, since both the leaves of the ‘brahmi’ plant and ghee can help here. Eat fat, but try going for the good fats – like, for example, try consuming ghee, butter, sunflower oil, mustard oil, coconut oil, in limited amounts, and try consuming the kind of fat popular in your region.
- Eat local. This is a crucial factor – our taste buds and food choices often are developed as per the weather and the region’s soil. Eating local can really help you become more aware of what is considered as balanced diet in the area, and follow the pattern.
- Do not miss protein. It is crucial for you to consume protein. Often enough, if you are vegetarian, you tend to skip out there, eating more rice and vegetables but not enough protein. Rectify this – make sure you have about 60-100 grams of protein a day which would be beneficial for your body. Try out new forms of protein if you can, it would keep things interesting.
And of course, if you want to add a good supplement, you can always ask for Horlicks. Trusted by Bengalis for decades, Horlicks was and is a part of my household, and we consume it regularly for additional nourishment. Horlicks Growth+ is a great new drink that can add a tasty touch to your child’s daily nutrition, and you can share your experience after using it, or follow others’ experience by searching with the hashtag #CatchUpOnGrowth on social media.