During the ongoing National Nutrition Week, which is being observed from September 1-7, the new-generation nutritionists insisted that inclusion of super-foods like oats, soya milk, quinoa, finger-millet and porridge can add more value to diet plan for a healthy life.
The theme of the nutrition week this year, ‘Life-cycle approach for better nutrition’, is being considered as the most important one by nutrition experts as it determines the whole cycle of nutrition required by a person in different stages of life.
“Nutritional knowledge goes beyond just weight-loss issues. Few people know that if you start eating balanced meals, your body will automatically shift towards your ideal weight as per your structure and gene pool. This is the reason why this year’s theme of life cycle approach for better nutrition is so relevant,” says Dr Amita Singh, senior nutrition expert.
“There are specific issues which should be looked at various stages of life for excellent healthy outcomes. After birth, for 180 days, nothing but the mother’s milk should be given to a newborn. Exclusive breast-feeding is the single most important activity which can help both mother and child. For the mother, it helps in recovering and for the infant, it provides nutrition and protection against diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, asthama,” she added.
Singh said home-based freshly cooked food mashed and fed to the infant 4-5 times a day from six months to ten months and then normal home-cooked food with breast-feeding continued till two years will ensure sound health grounding.
From two years onwards, a child starts exploring the outer world and is influenced by the non-home atmosphere. “This is the time when tiffin-discipline is to be ensured. I would suggest all the parents to discuss with their child and explore all healthy options like dal-parathas, cheelas, sweet nutty rice, cutlets of paneer and vegetables etc,” adds Dr Singh.
Age nine-nineteen is a time of rapid growth. Almost 40% of growth takes place during this time. “One should ensure adequate protein, calcium and iron. Focus should be on adequate milk and its products, nuts, green leafy vegetables and fruits.”
For adults, Dr Singh suggests, “Especially during pregnancy, a woman needs extra nutrition in terms of protein, calcium and iron. One extra full meal a day consisting of two chapatis, dal, milk and green leafy vegetables will ensure a healthy baby and a healthy mother.”