Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pack Nutrition for Lunch

pack nutrition for lunchDo you suffer with the agony of failing again and again to tantalize the taste buds of your little one? Is it one of your most cherished dreams to see a meal well finished by your child? Don’t worry. Though it seems difficult to keep your child interested as well as nourished with the right things; a little imagination and culinary know-how can do the needful for you.

Nutrition is of utmost importance all through the growing years because of various changes taking place in the child’s body. Food and feeding are especially important during this phase of life, not only to support growth, but as the basis of life-long, food related habits and attitudes. Appetite and nutritional needs vary with age, activity and rate of growth.

Half of the day of a child is spent in school thus packed lunch should ensure a wholesome, attractive and appetizing meal which should be able to meet 1/4th of the daily requirement of nutrients. Coming up with new packed lunch ideas for kids can be a difficult task and even so if you are a busy parent but still want your child to eat nutritiously. Try the following pointers… they might work for you as they do for my friends.

Preparation times are fun times: One way to get your kids interested in what they eat is to get them involved in the making process. After putting their efforts they will be curious to taste the results and you will be able to spend more time with them.

Fingers over spoon: Kids love finger foods (foods which do not need the use of spoon or fork). So by converting the same food into finger foods can be fun and interesting for them. This can be done by preparing small sized versions of original menus.

Savoury ideas: Stuffed roti wraps, mini burgers (with hummus and mix veg tikki), vegetable rava idli, baked veg cutlets / kebabs, whole wheat pasta prepared as salads, brown bread pizza, can be added to packed lunch menu ideas once or twice a week to add variety. You can also use different spreads while making sandwiches to add variety. Create a quick sandwich spread by blending together fresh cream, finely chopped or grated vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

Sweet ideas: Children have a renowned sweet tooth. Small fruits like grapes, strawberries, peach, plum, cherries or yoghurts are ideal for a sugar boost. Sometimes cupcakes or biscuits can be added to break the monotony.

Beverages: the availability of spill proof bottles allows us to add beverages to the school lunch options. Beverages like lemonade, fruit punch, mango panna, etc. can be sent along with lunch in summer months. These will ensure the intake of fluids and prevent dehydration from setting in.

Include these foods: School lunch should be a combination of cereals, pulses / dairy / flesh foods (if permitted at school), fruits / vegetables. These foods ensure a write mix of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

By making these small alterations a balance can be reached between taste and nutrition in those precious little lunch boxes.

Image Courtesy: Little food junction

Am I obese?

As famous this word is, so it has lots of definitions, identifications and classifications. Obesity is a trigger which when pulled takes us towards such lifestyle disorders which decrease our quality of life. A number of measures have been suggested for computing the risk or to find out whether a person falls in obese bracket.

Shall we find out the answer to the query: Am I obese?

Doctors, scientists and people working in the health care field have suggested diverse formulae and theories to ascertain obesity in classes. These theories and formulae measure different aspects and have their own benefits and shortcomings.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the one such formula which has found a wide acceptance. It is calculated as Weight (kg) / height (squared) (m2) and assesses body weight relative to height. It is a useful, indirect measure of body composition, because in most people it correlates highly with body fat.

With a BMI of

You are considered

Less than 18.5

Underweight

18.5 – 22.9

Normal Weight

23 – 24.9

Overweight

25 or above

Obese

BMI is not considered valid for infants, children, teenagers, pregnant or nursing women, adults over 65 years of age, very muscular people & endurance athletes such as runners.

Another technique finding popularity nowadays is Body Composition Analysis or BCA (For more on BCA). For all such conditions where BMI does not hold true BCA comes in at the rescue. Take a look at the following example:

These men have same height, weight & BMI, but have different percent body fat. Just one look at them and you can judge who is healthy and who is not but going by BMI both come in the overweight category. At this point BCA helps us in finding how much percent of our body weight is fat. The man in blue apart from having a higher BMI also seems to be suffering with abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity can be judged by taking waist circumference measurements in adult men and women. Waist circumference values should be less than 90 cm for males and less than 80 cm for females. Most important complications of obesity are linked to upper body fat rather than overall adiposity which means that fat deposition around waist is far more dangerous compared to overall fat deposition.

Waist circumference can be used alone as an index or can be clubbed with hip circumference to ascertain the risk of heart diseases in people. Defined as waist to hip ratio or WHR should be >0 .80 for females and > 0.90 for males to steer away from these risks.

Little technical though and majorly used for research and field purposes Skin Fold thickness is another tool which helps in assessing subcutaneous fat (fat layer under the skin) thickness. It requires training to accurately measure SFT with specialized calipers. Fat prefers few locations for its deposition which can be measured to find out normal or excessive fat deposition.  Sites usually measured include biceps, triceps, sub-scapular (below the shoulder blade), suprailiac (lower abdomen), thigh and calf.

The stingiest classification of weight which might lead numerous people end up in overweight / obese category is Ideal body weight. It is a gender and height specific formulae which calculates the actual weight that a person should have on the current height. If your weight is more than 10% of IBW you come in the overweight bracket and a bad news if it is more than 20%.

In most cases a look at the person can tell whether the person is obese or not. Visual Inspection usually tells us the pattern of fat deposition in the body. Fat deposition around the area of and above the waist is commonly called as apple type obesity / android / male pattern obesity and weight gained around the hips and thigh area is pear type obesity / gynoid / female pattern obesity. Apple obesity is considered more dangerous than pear type because the type of fat cells deposited in this type are potentially more viable for causing lifestyle disorders.

Obesity a condition which takes away health, wealth and confidence from the sufferer is easy to diagnose. And with all these formulae and classifications it surely can be caught early. It depends on us whether we want to nip the bud in early stages or wait till the weight blows out of proportion. What do you say: Are you obese??

Image Courtesy: quickmedical.com