In today’s times where we are surrounded by the Domino’s and Pizza Hut’s of the world, Colas and Fanta’s, healthy eating has almost become a taboo. It is perceived as dull, boring and uncool to eat an apple or a pear during a break. Boiled broccoli for lunch? Is that even food that will suffice? It is quite a surprise that we have reached a stage where we have to pay a lot of attention to something necessary for day-to-day living – EATING!
We are what we eat. This has to be taken in the most literate sense. If you eat healthy, you grow up healthy and fine. If you eat unhealthy food, you fall ill with weak immunity. This is something that we at Samsidh emphasize to our children day in and day out. To eat healthy and exercise every day without fail. This is one of the most important programs that we have adopted at school.
Let us look at a few facts, for nothing should be accepted without any logic. 93% consume packaged food more than once a week. 56% of children consume sweet food items such as ice cream and chocolate more than once a week. 59% of youngsters between the ages of 15-17 years consume packaged beverages at least once a day! 83% of children drink milk that is packaged( like soya milk or chocolate milk), and 69% eat cereals such as cornflakes for breakfast. These are statistics from a study conducted in India in 2019
Let us try and understand what happens to our bodies when we don’t eat right, which will answer why we need to eat healthy. The immediate effect of long-term junk food is obesity or the tendency to put on weight, especially when there is just eating and no physical activity or exercise. Slowly, the dip in immunity leads one to catch all sorts of diseases – the body becomes incapable of even fighting out a common cold, cough, and other infectious diseases. Lack of Vitamins A and C which are easily available in fruits and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, help fight viruses and bacteria. Even allergic reactions such as asthma, eczema although thought to be hereditary, are often expressed due to low immunity. So what’s in the junk food that causes our strength to weaken? Fast food and junk food are usually rich in energy because of the high amount of sugar, salt, and fat. This provides immediate energy and makes one feel good only for that instance. It does not help gain strength simply as it has no protein, fibre, vitamin or minerals that fruits and vegetables contain. It fills us with energy as it is easily digestible but that energy is not a good one. It fizzles out soon. One may not believe but junk food even has effects on mental health and abilities – even the ability to read, do math, etc. The culprit again is the high sugar content that does not last longer, therefore decreasing the concentration level required to study.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meat and fish, nuts and seeds, on the other hand, are digested over a period of time and helps in storing the energy that we receive. They contain natural and not artificial sugar, which eventually provides energy for a longer time. This also helps us stay lean and fit. Calcium and Vitamin D help develop bones and support the immune system; Iron and Omega 3-DHA helps in good cognitive development (ability to read, write and think). No sweat in trying to hunt for these essentials in food. All naturally grown fruits and vegetables contain all of these mineral and vitamin-rich content
That does not mean to say one should never have any more pizzas or chocolates or fizzy drinks. They can be taken in moderation. Say probably once in 2 weeks or even a longer time as one meal or a snack. It should not become every meal of the day.