25 February 2008


One of my student's mothers recently wanted me to talk to her 12 year old son on eating vegetables. This kind of request comes from most mothers of school going children. Mothers of adolescent children have a different problem-their girls usually refuse to eat altogether as they think they will put on weight.
I will address the issue of the school going child in this post.
Children often are known to bring back what their mothers send in their packed lunch. But, they would have wolfed down their friend's lunch. What they want is variety-variety in taste, flavour, colours and aroma.
They love fried items,and side dishes that include paneer, mushroom, capsicum,etc.There are still others who just do not look at a vegetable dish-they prefer only non vegetarian item for every meal. Most mothers will agree knowingly.
Just how do we get them to eat vegetables and fruits which are so essential in a growing child's diet?
Every child has learnt in science that they must have a balanced diet. They already know about deficiency diseases and how they can be prevented. Every region in the world, and particularly in India, prepares their food differently. For example, brinjal can be cooked as a tasty but oily side dish or it can be batter-fried, roasted and made into a chutney, made as a vangibath and mixed with rice or a pallya made with the addition of another vegetable like the potato which may be more appealing. I have given the example of the brinjal here since most students tell me that they do not like brinjal or eggplant. Almost all students told me they love potato in any form, particularly fries, chips, fingers or batter-fried(bajji/bonda), aloo tikki. So, if we combine brinjal and potato we get them to at least taste the curry. We mothers have to constantly update and find the best recipe to get them to eat. Also knowing what it was in the friend's lunch box that they liked so much will also give us the idea.
Some vegetables can be made into a salad, either raw or cooked in a variety of combinations that are both appealing to the eye and nutritious. Some fruits can be mixed in as well. A healthy diet for a normal,school going child should have at least 5 portions of vegetables and fruits.
The following videos might be useful.

How To Add Vegetables To Your Diet

Why You Should Eat Fruit

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