“An apple a day keeps your acne away”- A Mother
First of all, motherhood is a beautiful experience. Secondly, I think it will be true if I say that it is more challenging than all the other experiences. It is not entirely difficult to acknowledge the fact that being a mother is like being a spy. One who is constantly on a mission to feed healthy things to her children. This can be understood best by mothers/guardians who have teenagers at home who constantly bug them with their cute faces to make “something special”. While this is an incredibly sweet gesture on their part, a mother knows that what they really want are pizzas and burgers. My two little demanding children are just the same. But it’s a blessing that they also like salads and vegetables. I never really had to force them to develop a clean eating habit. I have been told that ‘I’m lucky’ and I cannot agree more. For mothers/guardians who are struggling to make their kids eat healthy food, this one is solely for you. Make a routine. For a clearer picture, I’m sharing the routine of my kids.
My kids start their day with homemade probiotics. They have fermented rice water first thing in the morning. It is followed by a milkshake, which they make themselves by adding fresh fruits like Mango (my son’s favorite), Blueberries, Bananas and Strawberries to plain milk. This gives a good energy boost to them right before school. Interestingly, my daughter never had any packaged drinks. Ever. She only prefers buttermilk or homemade juice. My son did not have any aerated drinks until middle school. These two stories often come up in my gatherings with other mothers.
Occasionally, I also add that they like bottle gourd and bitter gourd as well. Believe me, there is no exaggeration.
This is where we tend to make mistakes. While healthy snacking does no harm, more often than not, we don’t know what a ‘healthy snack’ is.
1) Nuts & Fruits- For me, nuts are a great option. So are fruits. Especially children who are allergic to some nuts can find equal goodness in fruits. Certain fruits like apples and berries (dried ones as well) can be tasty and fun to eat! My daughter is snacking on some as I write this.
2) Soups and Salads- I am a big fan of soups (chicken or vegetable) as healthy snacking options. Even salads are great. For the much-needed vitamins and minerals, give them vegetable or fruit salads. However, I do believe in giving only one type of fruit at a time. The idea is to not confuse the stomach so much.
3) Pizzas & Burgers are a strict No- My idea of a healthy snack is not a pizza or burger. Even if they are homemade. I prefer them for the main meals. This is because healthy snacks are those which serve as appetizers. Your kids should enjoy their snacks and be hungry again by the time the main meal is served. Carbs are best suited for the main meals because you don’t feel like eating anything more after that. Keeps the tummy full! There is also this fact that you should try to compensate for your meals. If your kids devoured a pizza in Lunch, make them eat something healthy at Dinner. Our go-to is matra kulcha. They are cut like pizzas for added effects and the children enjoy it too!
4) The Bedtime drink- My kids end their day with a glass of fresh turmeric milk with black pepper & cardamom. This immunity-boosting drink helps keep them strong and healthy while helping them get some sound sleep. I encourage all the guardians reading this to include it in the routine of their kids. It is the need of the hour.
It is important to remember to not eat anything in the name of a ‘snack’. As mothers, we also have to be very calculative regarding the meals. One must remember that times are difficult. The body needs various antioxidants in order to fight diseases, pollution, and the grave situation at hand. For a better lifestyle and good health, the choices matter the most! So, don’t force your kids to eat healthy without the proper information. Don’t stop them the next time they want to order in and indulge. Instead, make sure they are making conscious choices. Making our kids eat might be the hardest part of our day but nothing compares to that smile that you get after they have enjoyed a meal they really liked. Bliss! My advice is, let food be full of love. Give them the time to discover the ‘health’ behind it. Do not be too strict. Let them cheat once in a while. Give yourself a break. Pause. Reflect. Everything will fall into place. You got this!