Sunday, September 22, 2013

Can television effect the diet of kids?

Breakfast is also a very questionable affair in my house now days. Ever since the telly and school got together against poor mummy i.e. me. I find putting the maid incharge of it a bit exasperating as she is a bit slow. Earlier I would keep it simple, like a boiled egg, banana and glass of milk. But ever since my son's exposure to the so called "KIDS" channel v/s Cbeebies is on the rise, he has started talking funny to me.

*shared from

He suddenly told me one day, "Jhansi ki raani se nahi hua toh mein yeh plain doodh kab tak pi sakta hoon" - he picked up from an ad on TV, translated it means, "How can I drink plain milk if even the Queen of Jhaansi was not able to do it?". I don't see how the Horlicks, Bournvita, Boost and other people can rest in peace when they give wrong advice to the kids - do they just sit in their offices and go - "Oooooh, yeah, we upped the sales in Pune by 30%. more and more kids want our drink." Chocos has apparently become healthy because it gives us the same health benefits as having roti (Indian flat bread) - is that even possible? And there is some chocolate that compares itself to giving us the same health benefits as milk. At some point of the day my brain literally blanks out about why should I give him a banana and not banana chips or why should he drink his milk and not just eat a slice of cheese that will give him the energy of 2 glasses of milk instead of one. My son and I am sure most of his peers can quote most advertisments verbatim if they need to use them to their advantage! But owing to my reliable friend the television that rescues me from cranky kids or helps me nap for 15 minutes when I desperately need it, I've had to rethink my breakfast and snack menu.

I always knew the adverse effects of television that is can stunt a child's imagination and growth, effects their eyesite, can give them bad dreams if they watch it just before sleeping, makes their lifestyle sedentary, is addictive but I never imagined that advertising would so adversely effect my childs eating habits - the child who I didn't even show tv till the age of 2.

The tv usually brings a glazed look into my childs eyes and he becomes snappy after 30mins. It has taken me a while to wean my kids off eating in front of the television which is something I inculcated when my hubby was travelling  or I didn't want to constantly talk to them and needed peace or just wanted to get dinner time over with and who cares about munching down broccoli when Chota Bheem is showing his powers or munching on his ladoos. But realising how bad it is for children to keep eating while watching tv we are back at the table whether they finish their full food or not - tv is banned from dinner time. I have also realised if we put our foot down and lay the rules out clearly with an explanation right from the beginning then the children do end up following them eventually. Limiting tv time is the only option to bringing up the child in a healthy environment but that still doesn't solve our food issues.

So, in the morning rush hour when everyone wants to reach school or work on time what are the healthy options that we can give our kids today without spending the whole day in the kitchen. I don't want to sound patronizing but I try and avoid food with preservatives like peanut butter, jams and sauces at least first thing in the morning.

Moong dal cheela, Idli and Dosa, Rava Dosa, Sheera, Semiyan in Milk, Dailya, Upma, Baked Oats with apple or bananas in milk, french toast, cheese toast, vegetable sandwich, egg sandwich, oat pancakes, aloo paranthi, thepla, poha and eggs (omelet, scrambled, fried) make a quick and healthy breakfast and most of them can be prepared in minutes if some work has been done in advance. Also, most of these foods mentioned with a little advance prepration and varying of accompaniments can be used as the next days snack. For example I can give the child cheese dosa for breakfast and the next day dosa with sambhar and chutney for lunch. Nowadays presenting food with a smiley face or decorating it with their favorite food as accompaniment can win you brownie points and leave the child happy (i.e. tummy being full) But how can we compete with chocolate for breakfast, even I feel like having it sometimes.

The class teacher of my child has thankfully explained to them about good and bad eating habits and how vegetables are really healthy. She also told them that chocolate should be eaten once a week and that seems to solve my chocos problem right there :)! I had given up on my child eating any greens till he entered Sr. Kg and now he at least gives everything a try. We can also try a rewarding system and give them a star for each day they eat their healthy breakfast or offer them some other oat or wheat based cereal combined with chocos.

I have decided I am going to try and come up with 30 breakfast options so that I have a steady snack or breakfast list handy and will have a link mentioned here with the recipes. Also, menu planning is such a chore especially when you have kids who have to carry two meals a day to school. I am going to come up with some dabba (lunchbox) friendly menus soon too - just follow this space. And if your kids are unfussy and eat whatever is cooked for the whole family YOU need me to train me too and share some tips on how you managed it!

This reminds me The Lunchbox is out and has won many many accolades - so a night out seems due just as soon as I sort out the breakfast problem and get my 11m old trained to sleep through the night again...

Till next time.... enjoy your Sunday as today it's CHOCOs day!

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