Saturday November 17, 2018

How to wean kids away from Maggi and other noodles?

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New Delhi: So what do you do if your child hankers for noodles, now that Maggi and other brands are under a cloud? Experts say one should go for the generic varieties or make alternatives more interesting.

It’s difficult to stop children from eating their favourite noodles or fast food, so put in extra effort, suggests Aarchie Bhatnagar, dietician at BLK Super Speciality Hospital here.

“Mothers can buy plain raw noodles and cook, adding vegetables to make the dish healthy. Momos or burgers can be also made at home by replacing maida with rice floor,” says Bhatnagar.

But what about pesticides, contaminants and germs in raw food bought locally. From the farm to the table, our food passes through different processes and different hands.

Experts advise that vegetables and fruits should be washed well. Peeling fruits will cut down surface pesticide content. Thewater-soluble compound potassium permanganate may also come to your aid.

“Mix enough of the permanganate in water to give it a light pink colour. Soak fruits and vegetables and rinse them well. This will effectively remove pesticides, bacteria and other pests,” advises Kanika Malhotra, senior clinical nutritionist from HealthCare at Home (India), a global venture offering home health care services.

Too much of the permanganate, though, can be harmful so ensure that the water colour is light pink and not dark, she adds.

Sonia Bajaj, an acclaimed nutritionist and fitness expert advises that suma tablets (chlorine-based sanitising tablets) may be used to clean or sanitise vegetables and salads. Even vinegar can help, she adds.

Another option for healthy food at home is to look for a good ultrasonic food washer. This washer uses the principle of ultrasonic and reactive oxygen to remove most of agricultural chemicals from fruits and vegetables.

It also removes fungicides, pesticides and contaminants and has been found to be quite effective, says Ritika Samaddar, head (dietetics) at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi. “The cost, however, is an issue and cannot be a solution for the masses,” explains Samaddar. The price of a washer starts at around Rs 7,000.

But should vegetables and other food items be bought only from reputed grocery stores? According to Bhatnagar, one should only buy food items from reputed stores as they have certain basic hygienic standards in place. “This will ensure certain purity but adulteration-free food cannot be guaranteed,” she maintains.

For Samaddar, “buying even from a local vender is fine provided the fruits or vegetables are washed properly before consumption”.

Organic food is another choice. An organic product is considered truly organic when it is duly certified and contains 95 percent or more organic ingredients.

“Organic foods will mostly be without pesticides and more nutritious per serving. But these are more expensive, hence not an option for the public, Samaddar says. She advises that one should look for certification, wherever possible, from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India or ISO.

What are the other ways to ensure that healthy food items reach our table? Read food labels carefully and do not get fooled by gimmicks.

“Check how much fat or sugar is there in the food. Just saying ‘contains oats’ and actually ‘containing four percent per 100 gms’ is not justified,” Malhotra points out. As a rule, the more processed the food is, the more toxic it is likely to be.

But what about the children’s craving for junk food. Samaddar says junk food can also be made healthy by incorporating some simple changes at home.

“Use a wheat crust for your pizza and top it up with lots of crunchy veggies. Have a whole wheat bun and add lettuce with your patty to make it more healthy,” she says.

Malhotra suggests that parents can ensure that kids eat healthy at home. Start the day with fruit and a handful of nuts. For breakfast, pack upma, poha, stuffed veggies, chapati roll or sandwich. Keep lunch simple with a roti or rice, sabzi and dal.

In the evenings, give them a glass of milk and another fruit.

“Make dinner interesting with a bowl of soup, stuffed rolls with chopped tomatoes and pav bhaji minus butter, with whole wheat bread/barbecued or tandoori chicken/paneer with a bowl of soup and salad,” says Malhotra.

Once the kid is full, he or she will not look for junk food. Hopefully.

(IANS)

 

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

toilets, students
Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
Pixabay

“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)