By Shivi Verma
As a child I could never comprehend my mother’s anxiety around my food intake. I despised vegetables and fruits, was loath to finish my plate during mealtimes, and would hardly drink water except when it appeared in a brightly coloured, sugary and aerated form. She had to work really hard to generate my interest in healthy food, for which she often resorted to firmness and occasional admonishing. I could have lived forever on junk foods, greasy snacks, candies and chocolates. But thanks to my mother’s firmness, I slowly cultivated a taste for fruits and vegetables.
I understood the enormity of this uphill task when I read Alia’s book. For all the mothers who get exasperated and tired of trying to make their children eat healthy, this book is a handy guide, come to reduce their stress, create bonding between mother and child over nutritious food, and create sprightly and joyous kids. Alia’s definition of healthy foods is stringent, influenced by naturopathy, for she advocates gluten-free, organic and sugar-free food.
Apart from listing children-friendly healthy foods, Alia also gives practical tips on how to cultivate a child’s interest in healthy foods without being overbearing, how to select healthy foods from across the counter, which ingredients to beware of, which symptoms to take note of in a child, creative and easy ways to whip up delicious snacks that kids love, and how to have the active participation of children in meal preparation which not only stokes their interest but also makes them responsible eaters.
For example, when Alia introduced beetroot to her daughter for the first time she refused to try it. Undeterred Alia kept bringing it to the table for the next few days and ate it with great relish in front of her, never forcing her to try it. Intrigued, her daughter one day herself asked to taste it. Ever since it has been a favourite food.
Alia correlates the mood swings of children directly with the quality of their food intake. So the next time your child is unreasonably moody and irritable, check whether she has eaten something unhealthy before. This is easy since you now have on your bookshelf, I want healthy kids.
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