Food and Nutrition

Essential food swaps: How to maintain your child’s weight

Puja Sharma Vasisht
7 to 11 years

Created by Puja Sharma Vasisht
Updated on Sep 25, 2017

Essential food swaps How to maintain your childs weight

Are pizzas and ice creams becoming a regular part of your child's diet? Is he steadily gaining weight to the point where he's considered overweight? These are growing concerns among parents whose active toddlers turn slowly grow into school goers with sedentary habits. Free play is replaced by online games and TV viewing. Healthy eating is replaced by choices seen in supermarkets or on TV ads.

How Do I Make My Child Eat Healthy?

Before we get into what food swaps you can make for a healthier diet, here are some simple tips to get your child to eat healthy.

  1. Eat together: Have at least one meal together every day. When the table is loaded with healthy options that you, as parents, eat, your child will automatically reach for the same
  2. Cook together: Get your child to help you put together a colorful sandwich. Piling on the veggies will be fun for your child, and he will appreciate the fruit of his labor!
  3. Grocery shopping: When your child trails behind you picking packaged juices and processed food in the supermarket, chances are you give in to avoid tantrums. If you can't avoid taking him along, give him some other tasks while you're there. For e.g., give him a list of detergents and cleaning products you need picked out from the other aisle. He can do this while you pick up the food
  4. Presentation matters: With young children, changing the names of dishes and how they are presented makes a difference during meal times. Instead of offering a banana as it is, try chopping it up and making a smiley face on a plate with some nuts and raisins. Be careful not to go overboard with unhealthy toppings while making a dish look good!

What Are Some Healthy Food Swaps That I Can Make?

Swapping healthier foods for calorie-dense snacks that are low in nutrition is simpler than you thought. Here are some of our easy food swap hacks.

  1. Packaged foods: Those ready-to-eat snacks and food items may be high on taste, but they're equally high in refined cereals, fats, salt and sugar. They have a load of empty calories, and are low on other nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

    Swap it with:

    • Fiber-rich options like fruits, dry fruits, and nuts
    • Ragi cookies that have a load of calcium
  2. Aerated beverages or packed juices: Aerated beverages and packed juices are very high in sugar. They may contain as much as 10 - 15 grams of sugar per 100 ml! So, if your child is drinking 200-250 ml of these drinks, s/he may be consuming four to eight spoons of sugar each time.

    Swap it with:

    • Fresh fruits – little wedges of cold watermelon or muskmelon work great!
    • Lemon water and fruit juices freshly squeezed at home
    • Buttermilk with a pinch of salt and some asafetida (heeng)
    • Aam panna and jal jeera
    • Smoothies with fruits or berries and no added sugar
  3. Fried food:Fried favorites like samosas, pakoras French fries, potato chips and namkeencontain excess fat and salt. The unhealthy trans-fats are linked to dyslipidemia, diabetes and other lifestyle disorders.

    Swap it with:

    • Steamed snacks instead of fried foods
    • Roasted peanuts, walnuts and almonds, but without additional salt
    • Baked sweet potato or potato wedges
    • Oat idlis with veggies and coriander
  4. Refined flour based snacks, pastries: Pizzas, burgers, pasta, breads, naan, momos, cakes and biscuits are all high on refined carbohydrates and low in fiber. They offer lesser satiety—this means your child will become hungry earlier, compared towhen he eats regular meals. This can result in overeating.

    Swap it with:

    • Healthier pizzas with a multigrain base. You can make the toppings colorful – yellow and red peppers, corn, goat cheese and even pineapple!
    • Burgers can be prepared with whole wheat buns and steamed patties
  5. Breakfast cereal with sugar: Some of the breakfast cereals marketed as being specifically for children contain as much as 40% more sugar than regular ones. Excess sugar leads to diabetes and heart diseases, and is linked to other lifestyle disorders.

    Swap it with:

    • If you must have these breakfast cereals stocked at home, read labels carefully and choose ones with less than 5g of sugar per serving
    • Poha, ragi porridge, dosas and idlis

    Making these changes to your child's diet is unlikely to be successful overnight. However, keep trying, and introduce one new food at a time. The pay-off in the long run will be worth it.

    Have any interesting, healthy food swaps to share with us? Let us know in the comments section, we'd love to hear from you!

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| Sep 26, 2017

the healthy food swap options suggested would definitely come in handy in taking care of the diet part of our munchkins!thank you for sharing such a useful blog.

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| May 03, 2017

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| Apr 10, 2017

True..

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| Apr 10, 2017

nice

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| Apr 10, 2017

£4£7798

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| Apr 10, 2017

yes it's true......

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| Mar 24, 2017

nice one

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