Bhubaneswar: While education and activities find their ways into a child’s routine, the most important aspect for growth – food – lacks attention. Nutritious food seems to be slowly disappearing from the plates of children in Odisha.
Food-related health problems have become too common these days. Comfort foods like fried stuff, processed food and aerated drinks are preferred over home-cooked cereals and pulses which is affecting the overall well-being of kids. Experts opined some of the major problems caused by junk food are:
- Low immunity
- Lack of stamina
- Improper hand-eye coordination
- Poor eyesight
- Reduced brain activity
Besides, junk food impacts physical growth of children. It is, thus, important to inculcate healthy food eating habits in children from an early age and explain them as to why eating a certain kind of food is good or bad.
Living Farms, a Bhubaneswar-based organization which promotes healthy food habits, conducted an interactive session with children at Unmukt Creative Center on this subject here on Sunday. “Sessions on healthy food is something we often do but here, we were asked to keep it simple and creative. Since the age group was 7-14, we used images and animated pictures. We made sure to keep it interactive,” said Jagatbandhu Mohapatra, project coordinator of Eco Food Campaign – Bhoomi KA.
In the two-hour session, children were made to recognize various vegetables and fruits and nutritious value of the same. “When I asked the children what gives them energy for doing different activities, they said food. When I asked them to name them, they came up with ‘chowmein’, ‘noodles’ and ‘roll’. Their whole concept of food lacks understanding that it is devoid of nutrition,” he said.
Talking about various alternatives to junk food, Jagatbandhu said, “Give them fruits, or milk or biscuits made of millet for snacking. Cook food high on nutritional value with a little bit of garnishing will surely attract them to have them.”
Children were upbeat and participative during the session. Rajan, a 10-year-old boy, said, “The first thing I will do is, inform my friends about whatever I learnt here. I will reduce my junk food intake and eat home-cooked food from now on.”