Dietary Diversification For Healthy Childhood – IndiBlogger and Horlicks Meet
The biggest “fuss” in my life as a mother is food. Continuous struggle, day and night and night and day, just to make sure every nutrient reaches my daughter’s plate and then goes inside her tummy. Yes, cooking a nutrient-rich meal and my daughter eating it, are two separate concerns. Both are completely independent of each other. My cooking spinach doesn’t mean that my daughter would necessarily eat it; and my not cooking spinach doesn’t mean that she will not eat it (Little B might sneak raw leaves right from the refrigerator and chew on them).
I don’t have a picky eater on my hand, she can eat anything or rather everything. The problem is, if only she decides to eat. It has always been like that. I love the fact that she eats all kinds of gourds and I hate the fact that she ends up eating too little that I wonder what her body would get from such a small serving. But it is what it is and I have been trying to deal with it for a while now.
Mother’s Day was eventful for me. I went on a long run which I am proud of; we had breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast places; I took a nap in the afternoon (which I take seldom) and then in the evening, I was invited to attend an IndiBlogger meet organized by Horlicks. I have started to fall in love with the IndiBlogger community, they are so chill and approachable, absolutely my kind of people.
The meet was hashtagged #immunity4growth and was based around an IMRB survey (done across 10 cities in the country) that pointed out that “30% of children miss school for more than 5 days due to illness” and that “82% of mothers feel that weak immunity has repercussions on a child in long run.”
Of course I was hooked. I am a mother and my daughter’s health is one of my prime concerns. Little B’s immunity does stay on my mind and I try to work towards it. The problem is how? As I have explained earlier, cooking a perfectly balanced meal is challenging and more so is the task of feeding it to my daughter. And even if somehow I am able to do both, there is no guarantee that my daughter received whatever was needed for her growth. Especially micronutrients, which are needed in small quantities but carry enormous health implications for kids. Micronutrient deficiency is hard to detect and is commonly associated with increased risk of illness and reduced cognitive growth.
During the meet, we had a session with childhood nutrition expert Jill Castle. Speaking from her 25 years of experience, Jill had a simple three-step solution to it all – dietary diversification, food fortification and micronutrient supplementation.
Dietary Diversification For Healthy Childhood
The term “dietary diversification” was new to me. From what I understood through Jill’s session, dietary diversification means giving the child a nutrient-dense diet while ensuring it is diverse. That can be done by cooking a variety of things and making sure the same kind of food is not repeated in every meal. As Jill explained that children should not be able to anticipate what will be for their next meal; trying to serve the child a different cereal and a different vegetable in each meal. A diverse diet would ensure that the child eats variety kinds of food items regularly and hence is able to get a variety of micronutrients regularly.
The second step solution was food fortification (like salt is fortified with iodine and sometimes milk is fortified with Vitamin A and D) and the third was micronutrient supplementation (like adding a micronutrient supplement like Horlicks in child’s milk). I realized that micronutrient supplementation is for that last desperate attempt of a mother like me. After I try serving and feeding a nutrient-dense-diverse food, I don’t have to worry about if the food met Little B’s micronutrient requirements. I can just shake up Horlicks (which is rich in micronutrients) in some milk and she should be good to go.
In coming days, I am planning to research more about the topic of nutrition and children. Of course, the more I gather, the more I am going to pass on to you. Stay with me!
Have a look at some pictures from the event –
(Credits for all images but one goes to IndiBlogger)