22 Oct Importance of having a Nutritious Diet
Bethenny Frankel, an American television personality, author and entrepreneur, once said “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments”.
So what is a diet? Diet, is defined as the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. On the other hand – Nutrition or nourishment, according to Medical News is the supply of materials – food – required by organisms and cells to stay alive. In science and human medicine, nutrition is the science or practice of consuming and utilizing foods. On an everyday basis, it’s easy to get confused about what is nutritious and what is not. But there are a few pointers we can keep in mind, and these rules remain constant.
- The human body requires seven major types of nutrients. (The seven major classes of nutrients are carbohydrates, fats, dietary fibre, minerals, protein, vitamin, and water)
- These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macronutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities). The macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, fibre, proteins, and water. The micronutrients are minerals and vitamins.
- Not all nutrients provide energy but are still important, such as water and fibre.
- Micronutrients are important but required in smaller amounts.
- Vitamins are essential organic compounds that the human body cannot produce. Vitamins are organic — derived from living matter — compounds our body needs in small amounts to function properly. Because our body can’t make these nutrients, we must get them from food or supplements.
- Minerals are inorganic compounds that our body is unable to manufacture. They help regulate body processes, and each one plays a particular role in our body’s proper functioning.
Eating well is important for all of us. In the short-term, it can help us to feel good, look our best and stay at a healthy weight. In the long-term, a healthy, balanced diet can reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. So what exactly is a healthy, balanced diet?
To eat a balanced diet you need to combine several different types of foods – from each of the main food groups – in the right amounts so your body gets all the nutrients it needs while maintaining a healthy weight.
The best way to eat for health is to choose a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups every day:
- vegetables and legumes (beans)
- grains and cereals
- lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts, seeds
- milk, cheese, yoghurt or alternatives
So as parents we need to ensure that our children eat a well-balanced diet to get the nutrition they need to be healthy and happy. Research continues to support the importance of a healthy diet for small children and adolescents, even when it comes to mental health and cognitive abilities. A balanced diet will provide all the necessary nutrients a child needs to be their best at home, in school, on the athletic field and in all other extracurricular activities.
It is quite daunting for parents these days to ensure their wards stick to a well balanced diet, with so many processed food, junk food and information and choices out there it can be awfully confusing and difficult to maintain a strict diet regime.
The good news is that you don’t need a degree in nutrition to raise healthy kids. Following some basic guidelines can help you encourage your kids to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some key rules to live by:
- Parents should be in control, because we supply – We decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Though kids will pester parents for less nutritious foods, adults are ultimately in charge when deciding which foods are regularly stocked in the house. Children will eat what’s available, they may throw tantrums for a day or two but eventually they will learn.
- Give them choices – what foods we allow into our houses and the how it’s being cooked is completely our choice of course, but we may allow our children to choose from those choices we offer them, this will make them feel powerful and they generally stick to their choices. If we follow step 1, our kids will be choosing only from the foods we buy and serve.
- Start early – Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. We may need to serve a new food a few different times for a child to accept it.
- Avoid aerated drinks – Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. Water and milk are the best drinks for kids. Juice is fine when it’s 100% fruit.
- Sweets – Occasional sweets are fine, but turning them into rewards and treats may send the wrong signals to our children.
- Let us not reward with food – Find better ways to say “I love you.” When foods are used to reward kids and show affection, they may start using food to cope with stress or other emotions. Offer hugs, praise, and attention instead of food treats.
- Set examples – Let us be a role model and eat healthy ourselves. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, and don’t skip meals.
- Limit TV and computer time- this will avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity. Research has shown that kids who cut down on TV-watching also reduced their percentage of body fat. When TV and computer time are limited, they’ll find more active things to do. And limiting “screen time” means we’ll have more time to be active together.
Matt Cartwright says “A balanced diet and physical activity are vital to academic performance. A healthy diet has a direct link to increased cognitive function and memory skills, decreased absenteeism from school, and improved mood. These advantages can help students stay focused and complete their coursework”
A dining experience at an International School is as diverse and well balanced as the students studying there. At Sharanya Narayani International School (SNIS) the dietary needs of the students are given utmost priority. Being responsible for the health of the students is a big responsibility and a challenge, SNIS being an International Boarding School not only makes sure that the students are fed well balanced nutritious meals but also makes the meals appetizing and varied so that it caters to international students who may suffer from homesickness. SNIS is committed to creating a healthy future generation where students not only have fresh, hygienically prepared well balanced meals but also enjoy their meals and meal time where they learn the importance of not wasting food and also choosing portions from all food groups and appreciating varied taste palates.
Medical News Today
WHO statistics and information
Kids Health Magazine