We, as parents, should understand the importance of healthy food and healthy living. Only then can we imbibe the same in our kids. The future generation is really sharp and they know what exactly they want, but we are the ones who will need to take a little charge to make them aware of traditional food and food that is not really good for the body. I’ve observed that many parents bribe their kids with chocolate or ice cream if they eat a healthy meal and behave well, etc.
By doing this, you are actually encouraging a desire for sweets and poor eating habits in them. Giving them sweet food for good behaviour teaches them to eat unhealthy food, whether or not they are actually hungry. Plus, you sabotage the actual intention of eating healthy food. They think that they need to eat a carrot or French beans to get sweets later, but on the other hand, you need to make them understand why they are healthy, and how it will it benefit their growth.
We tend to spoil our kids and then come back saying he/she doesn’t like eating ghar ka khana. This brings me to a question: Are your kids addicted to too much of chocolates, ice creams, aerated drinks or cakes, junk food, etc? How often do you allow them to have it? For those who say that their kids enjoy it daily, that’s not really a good thing.
Also read: Turn your food into medicine
Caffeine is a CNS stimulant
Caffeine is a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant of methylxanthine class, which acts like a drug in the body and make us feel more agile and energetic. Now you might say that your kids stay away from tea or coffee, so how can caffeine hamper their health? But it’s not only about the stimulants, as there are many food items that kids eat on a regular basis, which are loaded with caffeine.
As stated earlier, caffeine stimulates the brain, but the brain of a child tends to be extra-sensitive to caffeine’s effects than of the adults. Caffeine causes hyperactivity in kids, which is quite obvious. But it can also make them feel nervous, anxious, cause insomnia, and worsen stomach-related problems.
There are more consequences to it. Let’s check in detail:
- Caffeine blocks the calming chemical in the brain, which leads to an increase of stress hormones.
- High-stress response means their insulin resistance and fat storage in the body can increase. This can ultimately lead to obesity and diabetes.
- One bar of chocolate can reduce the production of serotonin in our child’s gut, which will not help them feel good.
- Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which means it eliminates water, and kids who binge on a lot of caffeinated beverages consume less water. This leads to dehydration and puts pressure on their kidneys.
- Caffeine can disrupt your child’s night sleep, making them feel drowsy the next day.
- Your child can face withdrawal symptoms of caffeine, which make them feel irritability and low energy. When the energy levels drop, their mind and body craves for more caffeine. This is the vicious cycle of caffeine addiction.
- Your kid can also come across various effects of drinks like headaches, cold sweats, increased heart beats, diarrhoea, increased urination, shakes/jitteriness in tummy, and so on.
Now that you know the side effects of the food that your kids are indulging in, try and not to give them to your kids as a reward or if they demand aerated drinks or junk food.Although, at the same time, we should not even cut them down completely, as this will only make the kids more curious about those particular foods. So, allow them in moderation and the best thing to do is to avoid them daily. Be wise and let’s make a healthy future!
By Deepika Rathod
The author is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices