Feeding Them Right
Notes For Healthy Kids is a pick-up-and-go book for parents, which will also serve as a healthy lifestyle guide for children.By Christina Tom Jose
Finding the right kind of food for children is every parent’s prime concern, and we are forever obsessing over what our kids eat. Most parents fall prey to persuasive ads that insist on the sheer necessity of biscuits brimming with nutrition, which will readily turn their kids into nothing less than super-humans. However, Rujeta Diwekar, winner of the Nutrition Award from the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, disagrees strongly. “I look at ultra-processed food for children as something that is as big a threat as smoking, which is injurious to health. All junk foods should come with this warning, including tetra-pack juices or fiber-filled biscuits,” says the nutritionist, who works with the likes of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anupam Kher and Alia Bhatt. Well-known for her regular food myth-busters on social media, Diwekar’s latest book, Notes for Healthy Kids is a healthy eating guide written with both parents and kids in mind.
Diwekar is known for her unique approach to food and nutrition, which is all about adhering to traditional, grandmotherly recipes using seasonally available local produce. The very cover of the book makes a radical claim that dal, milk and veggies, otherwise considered staples for a healthy childhood, are not necessary. Unlike other books on nutrition and diet, Notes For Healthy Kids doesn’t make a fuss over specific nutrients and their measures in every food.
Diwekar recommends a ‘grandmother test’ to screen our food choices. The idea here is to give importance to local and traditional foods. “Almost everything that our grandmoms don’t recognize as food is that which has traveled a very long distance to land on our plate or it may just be something that is ultra-processed and being positioned as good for our health. The grandmom-test essentially allows you to tell the real stuff from marketed food,” says Diwekar. The book is structured in such a way that there are parts that would be an interesting read to children. The goal is to train them to make healthy choices themselves, independent of any coercion from adults.
Diwekar’s book is not even all about food; it discusses topics such as nutrition, exercise, physical activity, sleep and all the different aspects to developing a healthy lifestyle, with equal importance to each. There are a number of enlightening anecdotes from Diwekar’s interactions with clients which are sure to crack anyone up. The book also acts as a ready reference, as it covers food habits for different age groups and ailments. Diwekar also discusses the problems with increased dependence on packaged foods and reveals the problems with so-called ‘healthy’ foods. The book ends with a list of packaged goods that she advises to use only a couple of times a month, one that is sure to make you rethink all your snack choices