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Watch your food during exams

Watch your food during exams

Exam weeks are no different from other weeks for eating right. It's a no-brainer that the healthier your child eats, the better nutrition he/she will get. What's also important is that your child eats well, on time and in a relaxed manner.

Macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats are important for your child to provide energy for the body and the brain, for constant growth and maintenance of cells and tissues. Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals will keep all other body functions going in a smooth manner. Water or fluids will keep your child's body hydrated. Besides these nutrients, your child needs to be alert, concentrate on studies and not feel groggy during the day. If your child is under stress (which is the case in most children during exams) it's likely that the child will crave for sugary or fatty foods. If such foods replace healthy foods, your child's health can get affected.

Here are some eating tips for your child's physical and mental activity:

  • Let your child eat at regular intervals. This helps to keep energy levels more or less uniform, and reduces temptation for unhealthy foods.
  • Breakfast is mandatory. This doesn't mean gulping only a glass of milk. A good meal would consist of:a) breakfast cereal or idli or dosa or paratha or poha or bread or porridge; b) milk or egg or peanut butter or hummus; and c) fruit.
  • If large meals make your child drowsy during the day, give him/her smaller meals with more frequency. If your child gets hungry between meals, feed him/her with healthy snacks. Some options are nuts, dry fruits, low-fat biscuits, crunchy veggie sticks with curd dip, egg or vegetable roll, whole wheat bread sandwich, milkshake, sprouts salad, and so on. Some mothers believe that feeding their children with almonds dipped in ghee repeatedly will boost his/her memory. While both almonds and ghee are beneficial for your child in small quantities, feeding them in excess can not only hinder digestion but also create an aversion to these foods.
  • Fruits and vegetables offer great nutrients for the body and the brain. Include a variety of both: bananas, berries, guava, grapes, melons, papaya, dark green leafy vegetables, gourds, beans, carrots, beetroot, the list is long.
  • Hydration is mighty important for your child's physical and mental health. Apart from water, other beverages like coconut water, buttermilk, clear soup, lime juice, can be made a part of the days total fluid intake. Caffeinated beverages are best avoided.
  • Do not give sugary foods. Avoid aerated drinks. A fresh fruit, or dry fruits like raisins, figs, apricots, black currants, etc, can help to soothe sugar cravings and are far more beneficial.
  • Avoid exam-time calories. If your child is fond of fatty foods and uses them as comfort foods to de-stress, offer him/her some other mode of relaxation by diverting his/her attention away from comfort foods.
  • Do not force-feed your child, unless he/she skips meals due to stress. Feed your child when he/she is hungry. Don't be over-zealous and feed continuously.
  • As far as possible do not allow your child to watch television or sit in front of the computer while eating meals. It would be more relaxing for him/her to eat with family/ friends in a pleasant atmosphere.

Eating smart, can make your child smart!

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5 Months ago